BEUMER Group’s Vision for the Warehousing Operations of 2035

BEUMER Group has an exciting vision for dark warehouse operations and is developing systems and services that will support the transition to ‘lights out'

As a global manufacturer of high-quality, automated material handling solutions, BEUMER Group has become the partner of choice for the mining, cement, building materials, petrochemical, consumer goods, postal, e-commerce, fashion and baggage handling industries – to name just a few.  

In line with its company motto, ‘made different’, BEUMER commits to achieving the highest-possible standards when it comes to quality, innovation and sustainability

Look no further than its exciting vision for dark warehouse operations, which is already resulting in the development of systems and services that will support the transition to ‘lights out’. 

“The expectation today is that virtually any size and quantity of an item can be delivered on demand,” comments Gregor Baumeister, Director Warehousing & Distribution Logistic Systems at BEUMER Group. “This trend is to continue and automation underpins the transition to dark warehousing, supported by exciting developments in AI and data analytics. 

“BEUMER Group is already imagining what the world of warehousing and distribution will look like in 10 years’ time, and developing the systems and services that will enable warehouse operators, logistics managers and (3PL companies to achieve efficient omnichannel distribution from a single automated facility.”

The warehouse of 2035

So, what might a BEUMER fashion fulfilment centre or warehouse look like from the inside in 2035?

BEUMER’s vision is that humans will be able to concentrate on more purposeful and productive activities, while placing more trust in robots and automation in physically-demanding environments. 

The receiving dock is forecast to be a hive activity, where robots on legs or wheels whizz around and unload cartons from newly-arrived shipping containers.

These robots then place cartons onto takeaway conveyors feeding a high-speed BEUMER receiving sorter, before being distributed to either robotic palletisers for reserve storage or directly forwarded to the GTP (goods-to-person) storage and picking system. 

BEUMER is adamant that even the most complex handling tasks – previously reserved for humans in GTP applications – will be safely and reliably executed by BEUMER robots which work autonomously

This is expected to be made possible thanks to rapid evolutions in the processing power of digital analytics and the speed of cloud-based applications, coupled with advances in vision and AI technology as well as grippers.

BEUMER has shared its vision for dark warehouse operations. Picture: BEUMER Group

Automation at its best 

The next stage of BEUMER’s vision involves the following steps:

  • Autonomous robots feed the order fulfilment engine – the BG Pouch System. Processing more than 10,000 items per hour, the system can accommodate not only flat-pack garments from the GTP system but also garments on hangers, consolidating multiple process steps into one single and simple flow. It can also accommodate return items efficiently, bypassing all storage and picking processes and minimising time to resale.
  • Customer orders are fully and automatically assembled with the highest degree of accuracy and service level by the BG Pouch System. At the packing station, items are automatically unloaded into packing machines using sustainable and resource-optimised materials. The system is equipped with highly-programmable sortation options for store or shelf-replenishment, or to match shipping sequences.
  • Packaged goods are distributed to their sort destination via the BEUMER Dispatch Cross-Belt Sorter
  • At sort destinations, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) pick up shipping containers for e-commerce orders and load them into the vehicles of contracted CEP service providers

“We are already close to realising the dark warehouse,” adds Gregor. “Robotics and sorting technologies are available now, and advances in software and diagnostics are already enabling more efficient monitoring and optimisation of warehouse operations.

“Soon, working in physically demanding warehousing and distribution environments will be a thing of the past. We may not have to wait until 2035 for the dawn of the dark warehouse.”

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