Automated and Robotic Warehouses: Developments and Research Opportunities

René B.M. de Koster


The first automated, high-bay, warehouses were introduced some 50 years ago. Since then, developments have continued at a rapid pace. Initially, automation was mainly focused on pallet warehouses with bulk storage facilities. A major reason was to increase the storage density, which could be achieved by making the warehouses higher. Later, mini-load warehouses and order picking warehouses were also automated. In this paper we will discuss the different types of automated systems as well as a number of scientific results that are now known about such systems. We will first discuss storage systems for unit loads (bins and pallets). This will be followed by order picking systems from which individual packages can be picked. Finally, we will provide our future expectations of warehouse automation.


warehouses, storage, automatization

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