Automation | KION North America

Tag Archives: Automation

Top Forklift Models and Why You Need Them

Although forklifts have been a staple in the material handling and logistics industry for over a century, the models on today’s market offer dramatic improvements in safety, carrying capacity, and fuel economy. With so many forklift models to choose from, it can be difficult and time consuming to decide which equipment is right for your facility. Linde, Baoli, and Dematic offer material handling equipment and supply chain solutions that can help your business increase its productivity and profitability.

Linde

A pioneer in technology and manufacturing, Linde has provided transportation and handling equipment for over 150 years. With its impressive history and reputation, it’s not surprising that Linde continues to provide outstanding machinery. Their electric truck models can easily navigate narrow aisles while the internal combustion counterbalanced pneumatic truck models boast unrivalled controllability. Linde’s quality models are durable and present a lower maintenance cost for managers.

Baoli

An internationally recognized brand, Baoli appeals to the economy segment with cost-effective, high quality forklifts. The forklifts can be purchased with diesel, electric, or LPG engines with load capacities ranging from 3,500 to 7,000 lbs. For the budget-conscious manager, the electric counterbalance sit-down truck provides comfort and an energy-efficient design. The internal combustion counterbalanced cushion tire truck exceeds the fuel efficiency standard for economy segment trucks. KION provides unmatched product support and a standard warranty.

Dematic

With its cutting-edge line of Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs), Dematic is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry. The robots, which are autonomous and fully mobile, can boost warehouse productivity and efficiency. With the ability to reduce product damage, AGVs can help your warehouse become more profitable and respond to labor challenges. Dematic AGVs are available in Standard, Hybrid/Series/Dual-Use, and Custom models for the tech-savvy warehouse. The Hybrid/Series/Dual-Use model begins as a manually operated Series vehicle from KION. Dematic adds a full automation pack to the vehicle that allows it to operate manually or as a top-of-the-line AGV.

KION North America is leading the industry by providing innovative forklift models that help businesses become more productive and more profitable. To learn more about our technologically advanced models, check out our Linde and Baoli forklift lines and tailored supply chain solutions from our sister company, Dematic,

What You Need to Know About Warehouse Automation

As a warehouse manager, your aim is to maximize productivity and profits while best serving your customers. Warehouse technology is rapidly advancing and automation is more cost-effective than ever, making 2018 the perfect year to incorporate robotics into your warehouse operations. Here are five reasons why investing in warehouse automation can be a strategic business move.

1. Automating repetitive tasks

The original assembly lines at Ford Motor Company were notorious for mind-numbing, monotonous tasks as workers assembled the first vehicles. The beginning of the Industrial Revolution was characterized by dull and sometimes dangerous work as a manufacturer. However, vast improvements in robotics and machinery have replaced these repetitive jobs. As the warehouse industry continues to grow to meet the demands of an increasingly global customer base, automating picking strategies, inventory collection, and barcode scanning are becoming essential.

2. Protecting from human error

Unfortunately, humans are prone to mistakes. When something goes wrong in a fast-paced warehouse that is struggling to meet the demands of two-day or overnight shipping, even a small mistake can cost the company big money. Although automation isn’t perfect, it has a higher rate of accuracy than human employees. A shortage of skilled labor coupled with the expense of hiring and training a new workforce has pressured managers to seek out automation. Although the initial cost is high, the machines have an excellent ROI. Plus, they won’t leave your warehouse for a competitor’s. The most common human errors occur when documenting, shelving, or retrieving inventory, so automating these processes can vastly improve your warehouse’s efficiency.

3. Saving time

While forklifts continue to be a staple of warehouse operations, automated forklifts are becoming widely available. Unlike their more traditional counterparts, these self-guided forklifts and pallet carts rely on programmable digital pathways instead of human operators. The automated guided vehicles (AGVs) can save time and increase productivity. Since some AGVs can be leased or taken for a trial run, they don’t require as much up-front investment as other automation. Radio frequency identification technology (RFID) also saves time and labor by using wireless signals to track and locate inventory.

4. Providing real-time data

Without access to real-time data about incoming and outgoing inventory, employees may incorrectly count the number of items in stock or make other potentially catastrophic mistakes. Real-time data allows warehouse operations to run more smoothly and can help discover inefficiencies in picking or slotting strategies. Excess inventory wastes money and space, whereas a shortage of inventory causes delays and can anger customers. Today’s warehouse managers have the opportunity to automate replenishment, ensuring that items are available when needed but not overstocked.

5. Optimizing software systems

The age of automation is driven not only by machines but also by sophisticated systems that increase productivity. A wide variety of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are available for purchase. The best software will depend on your business’s individual needs, but most systems will be capable of controlling the warehouse receiving, storing, and shipping strategies for maximum efficiency. Any automated machinery you buy for your warehouse will likely require integration with a WMS. The WMS guides and simplifies the transactions by efficiently managing inventory. Even if you decide to wait to incorporate automation into your warehouse, you should still consider investing in a WMS. The system can quickly train employees and help them discover the fastest, most efficient pick paths while providing real-time data about inventory.

KION North America is a member of the KION Group–a global leader in industrial trucks, related services and supply chain solutions. Our team is committed to helping you grow your warehousing operations with the best technology and forklifts available. Discover how our equipment can revolutionize your warehouse.

Collaborating with Robots in Manufacturing: Industry 5.0

Set aside your dystopian fears about machines replacing man in the near future. Robotic technology is more sophisticated and accessible than ever, but this has also given skilled workers the opportunity to collaborate with robots. Industry 4.0 involved digital communication and automation while Industry 5.0 merges human knowledge and skill with artificially intelligent and highly productive machinery.

Humans will be in charge of guiding the production process, while collaborative robots, called cobots, will do the literal heavy-lifting. This connected workforce will enable vast improvements in output while continuing to value human contribution. Industry 5.0 has the potential to combine the best talents of machines and people to create jobs, customize new products, and improve working conditions.

Combining machine and man

Although machines are more efficient at performing monotonous tasks, human possess two important attributes that robots lack: empathy and common sense. Despite enormous strides in artificial intelligence during the last decade, even the most advanced machines cannot compete with our analytical problem-solving and cognitive thinking. Industry 5.0 warehouses combine these human attributes with the dependability, productivity, and quality of robotics.

Create jobs

Although some have expressed concern over the potential of job loss for low-skilled workers as a result of automation, the ability to produce more output at a lower cost can vastly improve the global standard of living. For example, if automation makes the production of cars cheaper, then this reduction may be enough to offset slight decreases in wage or provide new jobs in fields such as taxi driving. Cobots will replace monotonous and dangerous jobs while freeing up higher-skilled individuals for better employment.

Customize new products

Robots are well-suited for assembly line production, but the human employees are much more capable of product customization and personalization. Art, design, and innovation are three uniquely human qualities. Robots can only perform the tasks which they are programmed to do over and over again. Without a spark of human creativity and ingenuity, we could never see improvement or deviation from these repetitive actions. Cobots’ purpose is to enhance the human labor force by specializing in fields we are unwilling or unable to work in.

Improve safety

The beginning of the Industrial Revolution was marred by the grievous injuries suffered by assembly line workers. However, improved safety regulations and better machinery have systematically eliminated these dangerous jobs. Robots are not at risk of losing life or limb in a workplace accident, and they are relatively indestructible. While robots are performing the difficult and strenuous tasks, their human co-workers can practice ingenuity and creativity while monitoring multiple robotic systems.

KION North America is a member of the KION Group–a global leader in industrial trucks, related services and supply chain solutions. We offer an impressive line of industrial forklifts including Linde and Baoli. Our sister company Dematic offers a comprehensive range of intelligent supply chain and automation solutions. For more information visit our website.

How Data, Automation, and Regulations Are Changing Manufacturing

The enormous demands of e-commerce are driving manufacturing plants to continuously expand storage capabilities and pick, slot, and load products faster. The cold food industry has always faced unique challenges when delivering to customers, but it has grown more complex in an age of quick turnover and delivering meal prep kits directly to a customer’s door. In addition to the refrigerated foods sector, other manufacturing industries are streamlining data analytics, automation, and improved safety regulations into their day-to-day operations.

Analyzing data

Data analytics have become a huge part of warehouse operations. The information collected influences the vast majority of management decisions. With data, managers can modify distribution centers according to customer purchasing habits and preferences. Additionally, data can highlight inefficiencies in picking and slotting strategies. Managing a fleet of wireless forklifts and collecting data from robot and AI systems can be expensive, but this technologically-driven practice provides unmatched insight into warehouse operations. Increased demand for products and their fast delivery means that warehouse managers will have to improve current sorting, picking, and slotting systems. Data analytics are the backbone of this advancement.

Incorporating automation

Automation is becoming a fixture of nearly every industry, and manufacturing is no exception. With automation, warehouses can operate 24/7 without compromising efficiency or productivity. Automated storage retrieval systems maintain a database of product locations that is updated in real-time. When the system receives a directive to ship out a particular item, it can quickly and accurately find and retrieve the product. Using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, products in the warehouse are assigned a tag identifying both the item and its location. Automated systems can read the radio signals emitted by the products which leads the AI directly to the item it needs. Although expensive, automated systems have a lower margin of error and can operate for significantly longer hours than a human employee.

Developing regulations

Protecting the health and safety of workers is one of the most important aspects of the manufacturing industry. “There will be more workplace regulations considering the harsh environment, leading to worker fatigue due to heavy protective gear to combat the cold,” said Bob Hasenstab, general product manager at the Summerville, S.C. branch of KION North America. “Use dedicated ‘stay in’ equipment with freezer cabs that allow operators to work a full shift without more stoppage time. These heated cabs have features like dual-pane, shatterproof windows, heating strips with block-outs for scanners, heated seats, insulation and energy saving systems.” In an effort to increase employee comfort and productivity, many warehouses are adding heated seats, floorboards and drive handles to cabs.

KION North America is a member of the KION Group–a global leader in industrial trucks, related services and supply chain solutions.  We offer an impressive line of industrial forklifts including Linde and Baoli. Our sister company Dematic offers a comprehensive range of intelligent supply chain and automation solutions. For more information visit us at our website.