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ABI Research Forecasts 500K Mobile Robots to be Shipped to Warehouses in 2030

September 22, 2021

Warehouse automation adoption on the rise due to sustained order volume surge

The supply chain industry has surged its warehouse automation efforts considering the e-commerce boom and labor scarcities. In addition to solutions such as headphone-enabled voice-picking and exoskeletons that reduce human effort, mobile robots are proving to be the most prevalent productivity-enhancing solution in the warehousing sector. According to ABI Research worldwide mobile robot shipments in warehouses will have a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of almost 40% from 2021 to 2030 and exceed 500,000 global shipments in 2030.

“Productivity technologies can achieve far greater return on investment if correctly combined with other technologies. For example, by combining location tracking data with a voice solution, warehouses using a Warehouse Execution System (WES) platform can optimize workflows by minimizing distance traveled based on where the worker is,” states Adhish Luitel, Industry Analyst, Supply Chain Management and Logistics at ABI Research.

"We are seeing strong demand for materials handling systems in distribution of all sorts, from highly automated goods-to-person systems with sortation to mid-level systems such as Put Walls and mobile robots," said Dan Gilmore, chief marketing officer at supply chain software firm Softeon.

Gilmore added that "Warehouse Management and especially Warehouse Execution Systems such as Softeon provides are key though to optimizing system performance and realizing their full potential."

In addition to mobile robotics, the growth of solutions such as Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS) has also been explosive. Led by innovators such as Swisslog, Bastian Solutions, and Körber, the global AS/RS industry is set to be valued at over US$18 billion by 2030, with a year-over-year growth of 9% from 2021 to 2030. AS/RS consists of a variety of computer-controlled systems for automatically placing and retrieving loads from defined storage locations, ideal for high volume of loads being moved into and out of storage. This trend falls in line with the fact that the logistics sector has been experiencing high volume over the past year. Parcel shipping reached 95 billion in parcel volume globally in 2020, this volume is expected to double by 2026, with a 14% CAGR between 2020 and 2026.

“As the shift toward robotics occurs with busier warehouses, manual workflows can be automated or workflows that have traditionally been carried out by highly specialized and inflexible machines could soon be carried out by robots that can be moved and retrained as needed,” Luitel concludes.

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