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Pandemic Accelerated Growth: 5 Ways AGVs and AMRs are an Asset to Your Operations

Chris Morgan | 12 November 2020

Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are transforming the way manufacturing and distribution centers operate. They are easier than ever to integrate into your operations and are currently seeing a significant boost in adoption.

Market trends are only helping to add momentum to the creative applications of this technology. Grandview Research’s report and forecast for 2020-2027 supports a 14.1 percent compound annual growth rate for AGVs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a surge in ecommerce activity, putting a spotlight on supply chain and logistics that can meet consumer next-day demands. The holiday season will only see this grow. The modularity and ease of deployment that these robotic technologies bring is going to be key going forward.

R&D developers and universities are pushing major advancements in the autonomous arena allowing for more flexibility when choosing what components to integrate into your robotic solutions. This makes them more versatile across industries and warehouse use.

1. A competitive edge

Technology has improved dramatically in the last decade with upgrades in details like:

  • Nearly limitless end-of-arm tools
  • Lighter, more compact robotic materials
  • Autonomous features increasing adaptability

Above all, costs are going down and allowing for integrators to participate in the development and advancement of AGVs. Easier integration to software management systems and other prevalent technology like scanners and RFID tags makes this is an appealing investment, as highlighted in LogisticsIQ’s most recent report.

2. Increased efficiencies

The lack of available resources and increasing need for delivery of products and services has put integrators and manufacturers on notice. It’s time to step up and build or be left behind.  AGVs and AMRs can:

  • Handle SKU growth
  • Manage complex picking and packing needs
  • Identify opportunities for efficiency. AMRs, for example, can interpret and identify optimal paths on the manufacturing and distribution floors.

3. Product handling

This is also an opportunity to take repetitive and unwieldly tasks off your team’s hands. You can reallocate those valuable resources and reduce the risk of safety incidents. Robotic technology can manage loads of heavy and delicate weight, large and small, or a combination thereof. They are also applicable in the chemical or pharmaceutical industries where careful handling is a must.

4. Modular and creative applications    

Applications run the gamut. If you are operating a 3PL or a manufacturing business with complex processes, for example, AMRs and AGVs can assist with:

  • Transportation - tuggers, tow AGVs, guided carts, conveyors
  • Goods to person
  • Mounted arm tools for picking, sorting or handling various items

5. Reduced downtime!

AVGs and AMRs can operate around the clock, reducing or even eliminating downtime to keep up with the rising consumer demands. And, with today’s advancements, maintenance and service checks are nearly trivial. Some robots operate with permanent high-efficiency batteries or charging that doesn’t require removal from the rotation.

Gone are the days of complicated maintenance and prescriptive paths that require intervention to streamline. Robotic technologies are only going to continue getting smarter and more flexible.

While it is primarily driven by general merchandise retailers and 3PLs , growth is prolific across all industries according to LogisticsIQ. The modularity and creativity that these robotic solutions can bring opens possibilities that are worth the investment, or at least considering soon. Current and future advancements and technologies makes adding AGVs and AMRs to your distribution center easier to incorporate and manage.

Curious to know where or how these resources can fit in your operations? Bastian Solutions can help you identify the most optimal combination of automation resources for your business needs.


Author: Chris Morgan

Chris began with Bastian Solutions in October 2016 as the Director of Research & Development and was promoted to Sr. Director of R&D in April of 2019. Chris has a Bachelor of Applied Science in computer software engineering from Western Governors University. Chris’s newest project is working closely with a team of core experts to build a full spectrum R&D lab with focus on innovating emerging technologies that influence the product manufacturing and logistics sectors.


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