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E-commerce has been a driver in this sector as companies such as Amazon, Walgreens and L.L. Bean are seeking out solutions that are robust, high speed and have little labor content. The margin pressure in the retail sector is placing incredible demands on operations to reduce labor content, increase production output, and reduce warehousing space. Innovations abound in the warehouse today with the wide use of automated and semi-automated systems used to track, retrieve and store goods. Palletizing robotics, autonomous fork lifts, tracking systems, and scanning tunnels are now the foundation of the current generation of highly automated warehouses.
However, underpinning many of these systems is proliferation of machine vision technology which is being utilized as an advanced sensor. Automation in the warehouse and distribution center has come to the forefront in technology adoption as the industry has been catalyzed by the onset of e-commerce. As margins in the business continue to erode, warehousing solutions are driving toward minimal labor handling. This has been underscored by Amazon’s plants to deploy over 10,000 of its KIVA robots in its facilities by the end of 2015.
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