Logistics 4.0: Autonomous Mobile Robots Open Up New Paths

Autonomous mobile robots are indispensable protagonists in interconnected production and intralogistics. With their help, processes and work environments can be fully redesigned and tailored to changing market conditions with the utmost flexibility.

Whether in industrial manufacturing or in the mail-order business – there is growing pressure on intralogistics: Increasing product variety, smaller batches, fluctuating demand, increasingly faster delivery times and the ongoing lack of skilled labour is forcing companies to reimagine things. Linear production lines are evolving into agile production networks, and processes are becoming increasingly automated in warehouse halls.

Autonomous mobile robots (AMR) are an important player on this journey. According to the Federation of Robotics (IFR), sales of mobile robot solutions are already established in transportation and logistics (AP5) with more than 49,500 units (+45%) sold in 2021. More than one out of every three professional service robots sold in 2021 was built for the transportation of goods or cargo*. It’s no wonder since AMR offer significant benefits after all. They can assist in many different applications thanks to advancements in image processing, navigation, and artificial intelligence.

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AMRs independently and securely transport materials, components, and workpieces between networked workstations in factories, logistics centres and laboratories. They assume monotonous tasks and assist with assembly, and the personnel capacity that this frees up can be used for more sophisticated and less physically taxing activities. Thanks to their help, stationary equipment is becoming mobile. And this includes lifting units, delivery systems, labellers, measurement, diagnostics, and disinfection equipment. It’s not the person that walks to the shelf. Rather, the shelf quickly comes to the order picker.

Utmost flexibility for Logistics 4.0

In short, this means that mid-sized companies will enjoy the following: More efficient processes, increased productivity, improved working conditions, lower operating costs and above all a high degree of flexibility. If market conditions change, then they can quickly respond and adapt their production and logistics layout. As such, AMR gives mid-sized companies long-term prospects for successfully overcoming the challenges of an interconnected value-added chain.


* IFR Yearbook “World Robotics 2022 – Service Robots”
**This blog article is based on content kindly provided to us by ABB Robotics .