The show floor at Modex 2018 may be buzzing about how robotics will revolutionize the warehouse, but for distribution and logistics managers, it can be hard to know where to start.
Hyster Co. provided one example of an entry point for companies looking to "stick their toe into robotics." The forklift company was demonstrating its robotic lift truck solution, which adds robotic capabilities to existing Hyster forklift trucks. The tower on the back of the lift truck is wired with a camera and sensors that allow the truck to work without a driver for those 10 to 20 percent of actions that are routine and repetitive.
One example would be an application where an operator accompanies the robotic lift truck during the picking process. Once the order has been completely picked, however, the lift truck would drive itself over to the dock. Meanwhile, another robotic vehicle would be automatically sent to work with the operator. Mick McCormick, vice president of automation solutions at Hyster, called this type of solution "cobotics."
Hyster was also demonstrating its virtual reality training simulator, which uses virtual reality glasses and a base that models what it's like to actually operate the lift truck. In addition to glasses giving you the impression that you're driving into the rack, the base will shake as you raise and lower yourself.