October 14, 2008

Here come the robots

By DC Velocity Staff

Robots are more than just "lipstick" on automated guided vehicles (AGVs), said Gregory Cronin, an executive vice president with robot manufacturer, Seegrid Corp. Industrial robots have become more practical for material handling because of lower costs for computing power as well as advances in sensors and camera technology, he said at a CSCMP seminar. Unlike an AGV, which uses a wire path to guide its movements in a warehouse, current robots can "see" and identify objects.

At present robots are programmed to stop when they see a human in their path in a distribution center. But the next generation of robots will be able to move around an object in their path, Cronin said. His company makes two types of industrial robots for warehousing – a tugger that pulls loads and an automated pallet jack.