Types of Warehouse Automation Technologies

Apr. 07, 2023

Warehouse automation is the process of automating the movement of inventory into, out of, and into customers with minimal human assistance. As part of an automation project, companies can eliminate labor-intensive duties that involve repetitive physical labor and manual data entry and analysis.


For example, warehouse workers might load heavy packages for an autonomous mobile robot. The robots move inventory from one end of the warehouse to the shipping area, and software records the movement of that inventory, keeping all records up to date. These robots improve the efficiency, speed, reliability, and accuracy of this task.


But warehouse automation does not require physical or robotic automation and in many cases simply means using software to replace manual tasks. However, this scenario illustrates how robots and humans can work together to perform repetitive tasks while minimizing fatigue and injury.

As/Rs Automated Warehouses

 As/Rs Automated Warehouses

Types of warehouse automation technologies

There are many types of warehouse automation, as there are a variety of warehouse technologies and systems available. Warehouse automation aims to minimize manual tasks and speed up the process from receiving to shipping.


Warehouse automation technologies include:

  • Goods-to-Person (GTP): Goods-to-Person fulfillment is one of the most popular methods for improving efficiency and reducing congestion. This category includes conveyor belts, conveyors and vertical lift systems. When applied properly, GTP systems can double or triple the speed of warehouse picking.

  • Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS): AS/RS is a form of GTP fulfillment technology that includes automated systems and equipment such as material handling vehicles, carriers, and mini-loaders for storing and retrieving materials or products. High-capacity warehouse applications with space constraints tend to use AS/RS systems.

  • Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs): This type of mechanized automation has minimal onboard computing power. These vehicles use magnetic strips, wires, or sensors to travel along a fixed path through the warehouse.AGVs are limited to large, simple warehouse environments designed with this type of navigation layout. Complex warehouses with high foot traffic and space constraints are not suitable for AGVs.

  • Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs): More flexible than AGVs, AMRs use GPS systems to create efficient routes through specific warehouses. They use an advanced laser guidance system to detect obstacles, so AMRs can safely navigate through dynamic environments with high foot traffic. They are easy to program using routes and are easy to implement quickly.

  • Pick-by-Light and Pick-by-Light Systems: These systems use mobile barcode scanning devices synchronized with digital light displays to guide warehouse pickers to the location where to place or pick selected items. They can significantly reduce walking and searching times and human error in a large number of situations.

  • Voice picking and task assignment: The use of a voice-guided warehouse program, also known as voice picking, uses voice recognition software and mobile headsets. The system creates optimized picking paths to guide warehouse staff on where to pick or store products. This approach eliminates the need for handheld devices such as RF scanners, so pickers can focus on their tasks while improving safety and efficiency.

  • Automated Picking Systems: Picking is the process of using RFID, barcode scanners, and sensors to identify items on a conveyor system and move them to a warehouse location. The company uses automated picking systems to fulfill orders that are received, picked, packed, and shipped.

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