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Are Robots the Future of Warehouse Shelving Systems?

Though the industry as a whole aims to make warehouses as safe as possible, accidents do happen. So, warehouse workers do risk their safety when they come to work. This fact was probably one of the factors that led Amazon to create robots to stock their warehouse shelving units.

In truth these warehouse shelving stacking robots have been a part of Amazon’s operation for a few years. The company acquired Kiva Systems back in 2012, which it then re-branded as Amazon Robotics. Since then, the company has worked to put robots on its floor to help stock its warehouse shelves racks. These robots can also pick stock from warehouse shelves or bring whole units of warehouse storage shelving to help stock pickers complete their picks.

Amazon to Update Metal Shelving Robots

Amazon’s Prime service promises two day delivery, which means that the demands on warehouse workers are high. But, this pressure is greatly alleviated by the robots that pick from and stock their warehouse shelving.

But, in order to keep its operations flowing smoothly, the company has announced that its robots will be doing more than just picking stock from warehouse shelves. Thanks to a new patent, Amazon’s robots will soon also be able to clean the warehouse shelving systems as well as sweep, mop, and wax the floors.

In addition, these future updates will supposedly allow Amazon’s robots to take inventory on the warehouse shelving units.

But, instead of replacing the current fleet of robots, Amazon intends to simply add attachments to them, thereby furthering their ability to perform tasks centred on the warehouse shelving units.

But, does this mean that the future will only see robots tending to warehouse shelves racks? And, will they put all of the industry’s stock pickers and warehouse storage shelving maintenance staff out of work?

Simply put: no. The truth is that, while automation is coming into a great many industries, it isn’t totally taking over the jobs of human workers.

Will Warehouse Metal Shelving Become the Domain of Robots?

Firstly, patents don’t ensure that a particular invention will ever see the light of day. They are just ways of protecting ideas while they are tested for their value. So, just because Amazon has patented its new robots doesn’t mean that the company will bring them into warehouses.

Secondly, and more importantly, the use of robots demands the use of maintenance staff and operators. So, while Amazon’s robots take workers out of risk, they won’t put them out of their jobs. Instead, they’ll be redistributed to other roles that support the robots’ operations.

But, while robots don’t directly threaten the jobs of warehouse workers, they do ensure that the future of warehousing looks very interesting indeed.

Image credit: http://uk.businessinsider.com/amazons-robot-army-has-grown-by-50-2017-1?r=US&IR=T