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Industry 4.0: What it means for Material Handling Equipment

3 min to readTechnology
Industry 4.0 opens up material handling opportunities and provides solutions for businesses as we've never seen before!
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Industry 4.0 is the latest buzzword in the manufacturing world. But what does it mean? We have seen such incredible advancements in technology and automation that many believe we are in what is considered a fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0. These technological advancements significantly impact material handling equipment for warehouses and distribution centers. Industry 4.0 opens up material handling opportunities and provides solutions for businesses as we've never seen before!

What is Industry 4.0?

New technologies seem to emerge every day, either providing material handling solutions that weren't available or providing a more efficient and effective solution. The shift to more advanced technology and automation delivers robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and the internet of things(IoT). Many believe that this fourth industrial revolution is even more significant than the previous three because it is happening faster.

The previous industrial revolutions included the following:

  • The first industrial revolution began in the late 18th century and was characterized by introducing new technology such as the steam engine. This led to a shift from manual labor to machine-based production.
  • The second industrial revolution took place in the late 19th century and was characterized by the introduction of electricity. Electricity led to the mass production of goods and increased factories and manufacturing.
  • The third industrial revolution began in the mid-20th century and was characterized by the introduction of computers. This led to a shift from manual labor to computer-based production.

As you can see, each industrial revolution has been marked by a shift to more advanced technology. Industry 4.0 is no different. However, what sets it apart is the speed at which it is happening. Manufacturers believe that intelligent automation will improve company performance but must decide which solution best fits their current needs while allowing scalability into the future. Industry 4.0 investments will significantly influence material handling, with industry 4.0 spending expected to reach $210 billion by 2026.

How does Industry 4.0 impact Material Handling Equipment?

One of the ways that industry 4.0 is changing material handling is through the use of robotics. Robotics is becoming more and more common in warehouses and distribution centers. They can be used for tasks such as picking and packing orders, loading and unloading trucks, and even cleaning the warehouse floor. Robotics can help to improve accuracy and efficiency in the workplace. Robots also help reduce the amount of manual labor required, which can lead to cost savings for your business.

Another way that industry 4.0 impacts material handling is through artificial intelligence (AI). AI-enabled robots pick orders faster and more accurately than humans. They can also be used to route orders through the warehouse more efficiently through machine learning. 

Using Internet of Things (IoT) devices for material handling applications is one way to make material handling smarter. IoT sensors can be placed on material handling equipment to collect data about its use. This data is analyzed to help improve the efficiency of your operation. For example, if you notice that a particular piece of equipment is being used more frequently than others, you can change your process to ensure that it is used more efficiently.

The future of technology in the warehouse

With more advanced technology and automation, there is a need for different types of material handling equipment. Technology is becoming more advanced, and automation is increasing. This means that there is a need for different types of material handling equipment. For years, most organizations have adopted automation through bite-sized chunks or didn't adopt any form of automation. The lack of standards has been the primary barrier to entry for many material handling suppliers and adopters because the lack of standards makes it difficult for various technologies to interoperate and connect with each other.

Companies like StayLinked have created technology specifically designed for integrating various devices(terminals, wearables, robotics, etc.) and Warehouse Management Systems(WMS). Speeding up deployment and simplifying integration, makes purchasing automated material handling solutions for businesses more feasible and attractive.

The future of material handling technology is exciting. With the continued advancement of technology, we can expect to see even more amazing innovations in the material handling industry. What technology will benefit your warehouses to distribution centers the most? If you're looking for a partner to help you automate your warehouse or distribution center, LeasePlan can help. We provide solutions to help you get the most out of your material handling equipment. Contact us today to learn more!

Published at June 24, 2022

June 24, 2022
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