Warehouse logistics and processes can be complex. Honeywell continues to partner with logistics leaders for new ways to incorporate our products and experience into solving multi-faceted applications. We build on the strength of our past while keeping focus on the future with innovative solutions for up-and-coming applications.
Growth expected for the global warehouse robotics sector by 2025
50,000 robotic warehouses
4 million robots
The global warehouse robotics market was valued at USD 3.5 billion in 2019 and it is expected to reach 6.8 billion by 2025.1 Connected systems (both within the warehouse and the global network) are helping industries perform a multitude of tasks (batching, picking, ordering, packaging, and more) as ways to improve operational efficiency.
Think the Way Forward in Warehouse Automation
- Picking, Sorting & Placing
- Product Movement
- Loading & Unloading
Sensors and Switches for Picking, Sorting & Placing
Picking is the most time-consuming warehouse activity, and accounts for countless work hours and more worker effort than any other aspect of warehouse operations. To address this growing inefficiency, many distribution centers and warehouses are deploying picker robots into their workforce. The robot efficiently gathers product(s) and brings them to a centralized area, where human workers can fulfill orders more efficiently.
According to the Bank of America, it is estimated that by 2025, 45% of all manufacturing tasks will be executed by robotic technology.1
- By designing Honeywell FMA Series force sensors into the arm design, the same gripper can be used for different shapes and sizes. Feedback is based on the force of the object picked, not on indirect measurement.
- Board-mount pressure sensors can be designed in an array within the gripper design to provide tactile feedback.
Articulated Robotic Arm
- Honeywell FMA Series force sensors deliver fast, accurate feedback to the positioning of the robotic arm.
- MICRO SWITCH industrial limit switches are incorporated into the arm to assure each section of the rotary arm does not exceed the application requirements.
- The V7 Series basic switches are an option for end-of-travel applications.
- Honeywell 1D and 2D scan engines are often embedded into robots for piece-picking and order fulfillment as a part of a DC automation solution. For navigation, barcode labels are printed into the flooring for robot guidance. These devices help locate and transport materials of all weights, shapes, and sizes.
Sensors and Switches for Product Movement
Warehouses typically rely on conveyors and other fixed machinery for product movement. However, warehouse operations managers are using Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs) to pick materials and handle repetitive, sometimes dangerous tasks. According to a May 2021 AGV Global Market Report from BCC Research, the use of AGVs has resulted in higher productivity, greater revenue generation and better resource allocation. The report also states that use of AGVs has created safer environments at workplaces, reduced accidents and efficient operations, thus, giving a boost to the growth and opportunities of the AGV market.
MICRO SWITCH industrial limit and safety switches are designed to ensure safe and efficient operation of the conveyor.
The 2CCP Cable-Pull Switch can be installed for perimeter guarding of the conveyor with the cable of the switch adjacent to the conveyor line.
MICRO SWITCH HDLS and 914CE limit switches reliably monitor the conveyor belt’s alignment.
Honeywell sensors and switches are ideal for automating AGV/lift truck guidance, navigation and collision avoidance. Sensors allow AGVs and lift trucks to detect and measure changing physical attributes, such as pressure, force and acceleration, while switches activate specific actions.
Sensor and switch options include a number of sensors: board mount pressure, heavy-duty-pressure, force, magnetic, position, current and TARS, as well as switches: toggle, pressure, limit and basic.
Honeywell 1D and 2D barcode scan engines offer high levels of performance and reliability to meet a wide variety of AGV and lift-truck applications. For example, pallets and boxes can be scanned as they enter the trailer to accurately account for the location of each item.
Automated storage & retrieval
Honeywell sensors and switches can be used to automate storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) that support organizing and picking in warehouse and distribution facilities. AS/RS can consist of shuttles, cranes, carousels, vertical lift modules and other types of systems.
Sensor/switch options include an array of sensor types (board mount, pressure, force, magnetic, position, current) along with toggle-, pressure-, limit-, basic- and safety-oriented switches.
Sensors and Switches for Loading & Unloading
Few warehouse jobs are more arduous, repetitive and injury-prone than loading and unloading freight on the receiving dock. Not only are these jobs notoriously difficult to fill — especially in today’s shrinking labor market — but they also have some of the highest turnover rates. (The average dock worker stays at their job for less than one year, according to Zippia.com.) Automating all or part of the loading/unloading process can relieve workers from difficult tasks that are frequently uncomfortable to perform. This allows labor to be shifted to work that is more interesting and less physically demanding.
Palletizing / Depalletizing
Honeywell sensors and switches help keep end-of-line distribution and fulfillment operations moving productively – e.g., stacking boxes, cases or crates, or removing items from pallets.
Sensor/switch options include board mount-, pressure-, force, temperature, magnetic, position- and current-type sensors, plus five types of switches (toggle, pressure, limit, basic and safety).
Honeywell barcode 1D and 2D scan engines are well suited for palletizing and depalletizing applications. The 2D scan engine uses top-of-the-line Active Pixel Sensor (APS) technology.
Loaders / Unloading
Honeywell sensors and switches can be used for various loading/unloading applications – e.g., detecting the presence of vehicles at loading docks and activating conveyor systems and other automated equipment to move goods to-or-from the dock area.
Sensor and switch options include board-mount pressure sensors, heavy-duty pressure sensors, force sensors, magnetic sensors, position sensors, current sensors, TARS sensors, toggle switches, pressure switches, limit switches, basic switches and safety switches.
Honeywell barcode 1D and 2D scan engines capture data reliably throughout a broad spectrum of loading and unloading applications – for example, helping to ensure that packages and pallets are on the correct transport vehicle and in the right order for efficient deliveries.
Force Sensors in Robotic Applications
As an integral component in robotic applications, force sensors have numerous strengths that can add value to these applications. Industrial and surgical robots are part of a quickly growing global market as they can enable work with humans without the risk of injury and can help conduct visual tasks like inspection and path following.