- Aug. 29, 2012 -
According to Pittsburgh-based Seegrid Corp. (www.seegrid.com)
, the leading in Robotic Industrial Trucks manufacturer, industrial robots are creating more jobs in warehousing and manufacturing facilities. The company has recognized the economic change in manufacturing. There is a strong increased demand for driverless industrial robots to transport goods horizontally without wire, tape, laser or other costly automated guided vehicle (AGVs) systems. These industrial robots are manufactured in America and support American manufacturing and warehousing companies— keeping America at the forefront of innovation and technology.
Babs Carryer has an important blog series which includes information about robotics and entrepreneurship;
it can be found on Everything-Robotic by The Robot Report. According to Carryer, Seegrid’s robotic industrial trucks are machine-guided, so no driver is needed. These machines populate the aisles and warehouses of the company’s customers, like Walgreens and DaimlerBenz. Seegrid’s robots are manufactured in America and support American manufacturing and warehousing companies — keeping America at the forefront of innovation and technology.
Carryer explained, Seegrid, named for “See” (vision-guided)
and “grid” (utilizing a 3D grid of the environment)
, was founded to optimize business processes for the material handling industry. “The human body was never meant to move pallets!” Seegrid’s founder, Hans Moravec tells me. Hans was a research professor at The Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University when he co-founded Seegrid. He still maintains a position at CMU although he is full-time with Seegrid.
Value proposition. Forklifts are used to move pallets. Why take the guy off of the forklift? The first reason is monetary: three-quarters of the cost of running the forklift is labor. The second reason is safety. Driving around that equipment is dangerous. The accident rate is so high that workers’ comp is two-thirds of the direct labor of these people. The third reason is operational tempo or intensity. To increase productivity you have to remove the limitations that a person brings to the job. You have to radically change the tempo of the truck and the activity. You can’t accomplish those with people; you need machines. That’s the value of robots.
Market. The forklift industry is a $38B/year, the labor to drive the forklifts in $120B/year. Together, they make up a very large opportunity for automating those same forklifts. The forklift industry sells about 1M units per year. Of these, we can assume only a percentage will be converted to robotic, unmanned vehicles. There are less than 3,000 such automated vehicles in use today. But the number is increasing so the market is on an upswing of demand.