Trends in Automation within the Material Handling Sector
Trends in Automation within the Material Handling Sector

An Established Solution or One For the Future?

A short history of automation within the material handling sector

Automated solutions have been used in the Material Handling sector for decades and the earliest ASRS systems (Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems) have been dated as far back as the 1960s.

Whilst these systems were originally designed for heavy-pallet loads, advancements in technology have enabled these systems to handle much smaller loads – allowing increases in efficiency and a greater density of warehouse storage. Whilst these ASRS systems of the 1960s can be seen as the earliest example of automated storage solutions, we can actually find earlier examples of the first AGV’s (Automated Guided Vehicles) used within the Material Handling sector.

The 1950s have been cited as the period in which we saw the first Automatic Guided Vehicle with A.M Barret’s invention of the “Guide-O-Matic” – a vehicle that tracked a signal in a wire mounted on the ceiling of their warehouse. Since these much simpler times, AGVs have evolved to laser-guided vehicles in the 1990s through to completely autonomous robots hitting the scene in the 21st century.

This huge increase in technological advancement in automated warehouse solutions has ran in conjunction with the ever-increasing popularity of these operations with customers.

Automation Now….

Automated Material Handling Systems have become increasingly more popular and now make up a significant part of the market sector.

2020 figures show that the Global Automated Material Handling Systems market was worth a massive €13.1 Bn - with the KION Group as one of the leading players in market share of the Automation Systems. Thus highlighting the Group as a unique, leading player in Automation Intralogistics.

This is in no short part due to the wide range of cutting-edge solutions KION Group and its subsidiaries. Between 2019-2021 Linde Material Handling has implemented a very impressive number of AGVs into industry-leading operations; and this number continues to increase year-on-year. Each truck within Linde’s AGV range listed below has featured in this:

• P-Matic - Linde’s Powerful Robotic Tow Tractor

• T-Matic - The Untiring Pallet Handler

• L-Matic - A Powerful Pallet Lifter

• L-Matic AC - Linde’s Efficient Robotic Pallet Stacker

• R-Matic - Automatic Precision Lifter

• K-Matic - Linde’s Automated Very Narrow Aisle Specialist

The growth of Linde’s automated solutions portfolio in what has undoubtably been a very testing year is testament to the ever-increasing popularity of Automation within the Material Handling sector.

See our Automated range in action

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So, what's the future hold?

The popularity of automated logistic solutions is forecast to continue this exciting upwards trajectory with just the AGV market alone set to nearly triple by the year 2025. It is estimated that 1 in every 4/5 trucks will be automated at this point. It’s little wonder why the popularity of AGVs has dramatically increased when you think about the USPs this sort of solution can offer:

• Fast and easy implementation

• No Infrastructure needed with the solution of Linde Material Handling

• Expandable and flexible

• Standard vehicle and service

Linde Material Handling has made (and is continuing to make) great strides in advancing their automated solutions to provide customers with a highly efficient, cost-effective, safe and ultimately an extremely viable option.

These advancements have been furthered by a 2020 announcement from KION Group and Quicktron on their strategic partnership. Quicktron is a company that offers Autonomously-Guided intelligent rack-handling vehicles and in 2020 announced that they will be adding to the already enriched skills and experience within the KION Mobile Automation business.

This type of collaboration within KION Group will allow cutting-edge solutions from companies like Linde MH and Quicktron to come together and offer customers a truly exciting prospect…making the future of automation with Linde MH (and KION Group as a whole), a very bright one.