Role of Autonomous Mobile Robots in Industrial Operations

Singapore | 23 February 2023

As automation slowly but surely becomes the new normal and technological progress surpasses expectations, today’s automation is a pervasive engine in a multitude of fields.

Once programmed to perform tasks with minimal human intervention, autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are now past the age of being a mere part of Science fiction and have become an integral component of operating cutting-edge technologies in the era of Industry 4.0. With the growing demand to fill in skill gaps and cater to the demands of manufacturing, autonomous robotics has not only evolved into smaller and smarter solutions but has also established a strong foothold in a wide range of applications in industrial operations. Complemented by their sophisticated set of sensors, artificial intelligence, and a digital warehouse map, they are now crucial solutions that efficiently address modern-day challenges such as manpower shortages. 

1. Applications in the Packaging Industry

Given the unprecedented growth of the e-commerce industry, robotic warehouse automation has garnered much attention due to its promise of increasing uptime, lowering accident rates, and delivering a higher total output. In mid-2022, for example, amidst reports of struggling to find workers, Amazon launched its first fully autonomous warehouse robot, which moves through facilities to pick up and place carts containing packages. It is these abilities to carry out repeatable tasks or heavier workloads that make autonomous mobile robots the ultimate solution to increase the efficiency of operations.

2. Transforming Retail Forever

While more businesses implement the use of AMRs in their daily business operations, it is only natural to see new ways its functionalities can be leveraged. Commonly used for goods and material handling, it is only a matter of time before they can take on new applications outside of the factory setting and become a force to be reckoned with in environments with greater variability — like the retail sector. Although it might take some time for applications such as facilitating sales within a retail store to become a reality, tapping on its innate characteristic of being natural data collectors can improve operational efficiencies and customer experiences in unrivalled ways. Be it through data gathered by its cameras or navigation routes, autonomous mobile robots can contribute to existing data sets to support better decision-making by retailers. 

3. Creating More Intelligent Logistics Solutions

From fulfilment of intricate picking to moving pallets, AMRs have long addressed challenges in supply chain operations since their inception. Once where complex programming for setup and implementation was required, the current levels of sophistication boasted by automated mobile robots drive the supply chain innovation and value in numerous ways. For example, by facilitating resource sharing and deepening cooperation, AMRs can distribute materials to production lines within plants and free up staff resources. 

Rethinking the Future of AMRs

As Artificial Intelligence advances, AMRs are bound to become increasingly smarter, making it more feasible for deployment in newer, more complex environments. Understanding that as technology and autonomy improve with time, and the question of whether autonomous mobile robots will ever make their mark in industrial operations shifts to where and how quickly, Konica Minolta aims to redefine the workplace of the future with our mobile industrial robots. Designed to address challenges faced by businesses by enabling automation in certain processes, our user-friendly mobile robots such as the MiR 200 and MiR 100 can be used in various industries to automate in-house transportation. 

Collaborative and adaptive to future implementations with their various custom module solutions, more sectors will soon observe a full stream of innovative AMR implementation use cases. To be a part of the future of AMRs, speak with one of our consultants and see how Konica Minolta’s fleet of AMRs in Singapore can boost your business’ levels of productivity while ensuring relevance.