The coronavirus pandemic and associated limitations dramatically accelerated robotization in most various spheres. This was the idea mentioned in the session named “Robots do not get sick. Robotization and automation”, a part of the Open Innovations forum. One of its speakers, Ivan Borodin, Ronavi Robotics CEO, is sure that even now robots can remove major risks related to the human factor.
Ronavi Robotics, a company of the TechnoSpark Group belonging to the investment network of the RUSNANO’s Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs, specializes in the production of unmanned cargo handling robots and equips distribution centers and company logistics areas with its products. The pandemic showed several strikingly negative cases which could have been evaded if the warehouses had been robotized. For example, a large warehouse of the Red&White retail network was closed after the coronavirus had been found in several hundreds of its employees at once. Should the warehouse be robotized, notes Ivan Borodin, order pickers wouldn’t have to move around the areas but stayed at their fixed work areas. Thus, contacts with other employees would be minimized. Moreover, in most parts of the warehouse, there is no need for people to operate, so the disinfection would also not be required.
Another pandemic consequence is the sharply raised popularity of delivery services, which overloaded many courier services. Ivan Borodin told about a company, which showed some interest in the logistics robots in April 2019 but made the decision to postpone the modernization. Despite a dramatically increased demand during this spring’s quarantine, the company could not take any more orders and lost part of their profit. It is not possible to increase the capacity by hiring more people. At some point, they would simply start getting in one other’s way. It is more feasible though to rent more warehouse robots for some time.
Apart from the increased capacity, the warehouse robotization prevents many risks, like employees trauma rate. The robots reduce the cost of social insurance, in-house communications and eliminate image-building expenses. Robots-as-a-service business model does not require CAPEX investments and capital lock-up in the equipment. “In Ronavi Robotics, we are sure that robotization is a solution for several warehouse logistics bottlenecks at once,” claims Ivan Borodin.