Key Components of a Future-Proof, Scalable DC
May 26, 2020
Every DC has its own unique challenges, product mixes and customer requirements. As a result, no single solution will meet the needs of every operation. Optimum results are achieved by combining existing assets with one or more of the following technologies.
Cube or shuttle-based automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) provide a strong foundation for a future-proof DC. In addition to maximizing throughput and improving the efficiency of shipping and receiving functions, AS/RS offers high storage density in a reduced footprint and easy, flexible scalability. AS/RS also gives you more flexibility when making decisions about the management of scarce labor.
While the industry still may be years away from a fully autonomous robotic fulfillment facility, recent technology advancements already are addressing some of the greatest challenges faced by DC operators. Robotic solutions now are capable of replacing the most undesirable jobs and providing throughput well beyond human capabilities.
Voice solutions provide an intuitive way to connect people to automated systems and bridge the gap between humans and robots. They enable automated, hands-free order fulfillment with proven and measurable benefits, including order accuracy rates of more than 99.9 percent and productivity improvements of up to 45 percent. Voice also can be deployed quickly into existing processes without causing disruption, delivering fast ROI.
Even the most complex and chaotic DC environment can operate more smoothly with an overarching, flexible system. In addition to coordinating all your assets, a connected infrastructure can leverage data analysis, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to provide predictive analytics and other insights to enhance your operation’s decision-making.
An integrated software suite with warehouse execution system (WES) functionality provides a business-friendly alternative to the usual patchwork of multiple vendors, separate controls and stranded islands of automation. The advantages of this approach include enhanced workflow and process integrity; maximum uptime of equipment and automation; and customizable WES functionality that can adapt and grow with your requirements.
Universal robotics control
To facilitate greater robotic integration in DCs, Honeywell Robotics began implementing a universal control platform in 2019: the Honeywell Universal Robotics Controller (HURC). Developed in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, HURC enables faster implementation, meaningful performance advantages and fewer operator interventions. The platform also provides sophisticated reporting, diagnostics, notifications and alerts — across your DC and between sites — to identify challenges and prevent problems before they occur.
Physics-based simulation technologies offer extremely accurate projections of performance before implementation, providing significant value throughout the progression of any automation project. Your design can be emulated and tested with the same controls that will run the actual hardware, enabling scenario-based testing, optimization and response planning — saving you time and money at the physical commissioning stage.
Review your options at a glance
See a visual overview of Future-Proof DC Components in our infographic to help you better understand the options available to your DC.
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