Any new warehouses investment will be measured by the effectiveness and productivity of the unit. The purchasing behaviour of customers switching from traditional high street shopping to eCommerce has accelerated the need for warehouses be able to manage current and also future pick and pack requirements.
Using a mezzanine floor with robots not only maximises the space in the warehouse, but offers a never ending list of flexible options on how robots can be utilised.
How to use robots with mezzanine floors
First and foremost, you should consider the various design aspects of your mezzanine floor and how you plan to use the robots. Things to consider include:
- How will the robots be used?
The biggest consideration when using robots is how will you be using them? With a mezzanine you have flexibility to using the underneath, on top of the mezzanine, or both. A detailed design of stock locations, access (walkways) for staff and also the planned movements of the robots should be part of the warehouse plans. Consider how to plan to increase efficiency and productivity, whilst maintaining a safe and compliant work environment for staff.
- What about Point Loads?
A critical requirement of any mezzanine floor is to understand the point loads that is usually a combination of staff, goods and equipment. With the use of robots, there is an increased weight and this will need to be factored into the point load planning.
- Preventing Deflection of the mezzanine
All robots require a firm and stable surface to be able to operate efficiently. A poorly designed mezzanine floor can have areas of deflection that will impact the use of robots, increase wear on the floor and ultimately cost money to repair the damage. Thorough considerations must be made for weight, design, material thickness and span between columns to ensure that deflecting is reduced in the mezzanine floor. The decking should also be robust enough to manage the correct loads and continued wear from the robots use.
- Robots can increase wear of the floor
Robots have a significant impact on the productivity of warehouse staff as without them, staff can spend up top 50% of their time just moving around the warehouse. The balance of this productivity gain is to ensure that the warehouse is safe and well maintained for robots. Robots will travel around the warehouse on predetermined pathways and the flooring along these tracks can become worn as the robot wheels travel on the same areas. Flooring solutions must be capable of dealing with this increased wear.
- Robots can bring Electrostatic risks
A unique consideration on the use of robots is the potential for Electrostatic charge. These are usually caused by the friction between the robot and the flooring. To mitigate this risk, mezzanine floors must be properly earthed and checked on a regular basis to ensure that there is no risk to staff.
How Hi-Level Mezzanines can help?
Hi-Level Mezzanines have designed and installed mezzanine solutions that have been used by companies that have robots. We have the expertise to work with companies and design mezzanine flooring solutions that bring increased efficiencies and productivity for companies.
Even after you’ve installed your mezzanine, it’s important to consider how to keep it in good working order to ensure safe use with robots. Good practice would be to think about the following on a regular basis:
- Check the floors regularly to see if the robots are causing any damage to the flooring.
- Review the warehouse processes to ensure that the robots are being utilised to their full capacity (either above or below the mezzanine floor).
- Review with warehouse staff regularly for feedback on the robot use and they are more likely to identify any potential opportunities or even issues before anyone else.
After you have considered all of these aspects you should be one step closer to achieving the mezzanine you need. However, if you have further concerns or questions, get in touch with the team here at Hi-Level. We will be happy to talk you through the whole process and guide you on your options. On the other hand, feel free to jump in and request a quote if you already know exactly what you need.