The future of material handling is “smart”

This audio was created using Microsoft Azure Speech Services

Are your machines talking to each other? Not long ago this would have been a question for a sci-fi movie, but today it’s becoming a fundamental goal. The increasing interconnection between technologies and devices, referred to as “smart manufacturing” or the “industrial internet of things,” is driving a huge transformation. The smart manufacturing enterprise can maximize efficiency and safety through networking and intuitive collaboration with its users. The entire manufacturing floor – including picking, sorting and conveying systems – must evolve to accommodate more predictive planning and more flexible business needs. Below, you’ll find some things to consider as you “get smart” with material handling.

When machines talk to each other, the result is increases in:

  • Efficiency
  • Safety / cybersecurity
  • Flexibility
  • Connectivity








 Features of the smart enterprise

Smart material handling in practice 

Monitoring operating modes and status through automated conveying systems 

We don’t always use the full capacity of machines and equipment, depending on production objectives. Key areas are frequently stopped in order to activate only the needed resources. These techniques can be efficiently applied in conveying, such as becoming active only when the load arrives rather than running continuously. Replacing direct on line starters and contactors in conveying systems with variable speed drives can add up to 30% energy efficiency.

Stopping, idling and on-hold functions deactivate the actuators, and should be integrated in the programming to generate further energy efficiency for the benefit of end users.

Studies have demonstrated that machines are rarely in production 100% of the time, and it is estimated that consumption could be reduced nearly 37% if machines were properly managed during these idle periods – for example, by simply powering them off.

Solutions for material handling systems 

Automation solutions that allow you to quickly build more connected, efficient, flexible and safe material handling systems.

  • Automated storage and retrieval – scalable control solutions for single carousel or various fully automated high-rise shelves
  • Pick and place robot systems – solutions for high-performance machines up to 30 robots, with optional embedded safety
  • Automated conveying systems – scalable conveying control solutions, from simple to high-performance applications
  • Automated guided vehicles – scalable AGV solutions for designing flexible product flows to guarantee delivery of parts in a fully integrated solution

Contact us to learn about specific solutions Schneider Electric offers in these product categories.

Learn more >

To learn more about material handling solutions, read our white papers: 


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,