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With automation becoming a popular industry trend, modernisation and innovation are now a huge part of the supply chain industry.
What was considered a luxury a few years ago has turned into a necessity, resulting in automated and remote control of machinery, equipment, and appliances in the warehouse.
A warehouse has a lot of processes going on, all of which need to be automated, right from the beginning to the finish line.
Therefore, to benefit from the best possible efficiency of your operations, all the while making incredible energy and cost savings, you need to identify the exact processes and how they are managed by the warehouse on a daily basis.
Companies that have automated their supply chain management systems benefit from increased productivity, shrunken turnaround times, maximised capacity and throughput, in addition to substantial reductions in costs.
Read on to find out what warehouse automation systems are and how they can benefit businesses, both small-scale and large-scale:
Warehouse automation systems are used to control warehouse equipment, machinery, and appliances, both on-site or remotely, by turning them on or off and adjusting their settings at pre-set times and their operations in accordance with external factors, such as changes in the environment.
Automating equipment and machinery helps reduce operating times and energy use, especially if the appliance in question is normally left on standby mode.
From coffee makers to thermostats and other warehouse equipment, remote control and timers can lead to substantial energy savings if the appliances are simply turned off when not in use.
Automation can also be used in the warehouse to schedule electricity use at times when the energy costs are at their lowest.
Areas in the warehouse where automation can play a significant role include:
Heating and cooling are two of the most basic systems in any building’s design. When assessing energy usage around the warehouse, these two generally top the list.
Therefore, when trying to cut down energy consumption and costs, heating and cooling systems are a great place to start.
When talking about automating the heating and cooling systems, it refers to improving passive solar heating and cooling through the control of windows, blinds, shutters, awnings, vents, and fans, along with controlling the heaters and air conditioners so that they are used efficiently to achieve a desired temperature in the warehouse.
Before you consider automating the heating and cooling in your warehouse, you need to ensure that you make the best, most optimal use of solar energy and natural ventilation.
The first step towards automating these systems is to install temperature sensors in different areas of the warehouse.
The appropriate placement of said sensors, along with automatic timers, will help significantly reduce energy use, resulting in energy and cost savings.
Start by assessing your requirements and determine which areas of the warehouse need to be heated or cooled, and at what temperatures.
Your aim should be to maintain a comfortable temperature in areas that are occupied by people, such as common areas of the warehouse, and avoid heating or cooling areas that are mostly empty or that can make do without temperature control.
Consider how opening or closing the shutters, blinds, and windows can assist passive heating, cooling, and natural lighting in the warehouse, how using the fans might reduce the need for heating or cooling, and how the temperature and timings of the day may be used to minimise energy usage in heaters and air conditioners.
Smart heating and cooling controls detect temperature and light levels and optimise energy consumption through predetermined settings and schedules.
They let you view your energy consumption in real-time and help you track your usage so that you may adjust it according to the best energy-saving practices.
What’s even greater is that you can integrate all your smart systems such as heating, cooling, lighting, blinds, and more through a unified control system and allow one to learn from the other and help you achieve the best results.
For instance, the automated blinds can be set to open or close based on the temperature of the warehouse and the level of lighting inside.
Considering the general size of a warehouse, lighting has always been a very important factor when it comes to safety and security.
It is indeed a huge expense for warehouse owners that amounts to huge energy bills in providing adequate lighting on the premises.
The importance of proper and adequate lighting is very obvious since it not only increases productivity among the warehouse workers but also results in far fewer accidents.
The correct lighting conditions are essential to a warehouse, just as they are to any other work environment. As mentioned above, they not only have a huge positive impact on employee performance but also make the warehouse safer, both in terms of fewer accidents and unauthorised access.
This is particularly true for warehouses that operate 24 hours a day and have employees that work shifts. However, you must remember that too much light can be just as bad as too little light.
Therefore, you must work towards providing comfortable lighting conditions that are neither too dark that make it difficult to see, and nor too bright that they produce an uncomfortable glare.
Luckily, advancements in technology and the introduction of smart controls have made it easier to maintain the optimum lighting conditions in a warehouse with minimal effort and reduced energy use.
Smart LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights are a great investment if you wish to automate the lighting in your warehouse since they not only help control and manage the lighting conditions but also save energy and improve security with a simple tap on your mobile screen. It’s that easy!
The best thing about smart LED lights is that they can be controlled both on-site and remotely, and can easily be connected to other smart devices and security systems to improve both efficiency and safety.
You may opt for other types of bulbs, such as CFL bulbs, but if energy efficiency and environment-friendliness are your goals, we suggest you stick with LED bulbs.
Most smart LED lights work using motion sensors and timers to switch off the lights when they are no longer needed. For instance, they may be programmed to automatically switch off after 5 minutes if no motion is detected in the area.
In addition to energy and cost savings, they can also be used for security purposes and to keep unauthorised access under control. For instance, as soon as someone steps foot in the area, the lights will automatically turn on, alerting all those nearby of the activity.
What’s great is that these highly reliable and efficient smart LED lights can be programmed to send alerts to you through your smartphone whenever any such suspicious activity is detected.
In addition to automating the lighting system, you should also make use of natural light since it plays a huge part in employee mood and productivity.
Having adequate windows that allow natural light to flow in is always a plus point. You may look into installing a skylight and add solar glazing to it to reduce the escape of heat and prevent the warehouse from overheating when the sun is glaring.
Companies all over the world use their warehouses to store valuable inventory and other important assets of their business, due to which they are often targeted for break-ins and burglaries.
Such security issues don’t just result in huge financial losses but also a significant reduction in employee productivity and morale.
Due to this reason, all warehouses and storage facilities must have adequate security measures in place and the right physical barriers to keep such risks at bay.
Owing to the sheer size of warehouses and the volume of goods inside them, it can sometimes become extremely difficult to manage and control the security aspect.
Thanks to technological advancements and automated security systems, you no longer have to rely only on security guards and traditional locks and keys to keep your property safe.
Automated warehouse security systems protect warehouse property, assets, and employees from safety and security hazards such as burglaries and accidents, and are often developed following a detailed risk assessment that helps determine the main areas of concern and how best to deal with those issues.
Some common automated warehouse security systems include:
One of the most valuable advantages of these systems is remote alarm monitoring which enables the business owners and warehouse managers to monitor video data from virtually anywhere in the world, and at any time.
These automated security systems also offer notifications and alerts to be sent to your phone every time the alarm is triggered or an entrance into the warehouse has been accessed.
For added warehouse security, you may also opt for professional monitoring services that connect your security systems to a monitoring station manned by trained individuals who keep an eye on your property along with any sort of unusual activity, such as a break-in or fire.
Depending on the type of service you opt for, either your keyholders will be alerted in the event of a verified alarm trigger or the police or other emergency services will be dispatched to the warehouse to take care of the situation.
Automation has become the basis of warehouse efficiency since it not only provides unmatchable benefits in terms of savings but also in growth and productivity.
Increasing demand and competition are driving businesses into adopting more efficient practices that let them focus on what really matters instead of spending valuable time on things such as lighting, heating, cooling, and security.
Slowly but surely, all companies and businesses are adopting automation practices since they can see how important these processes have become in this day and age.
If you are still working with manual lighting, traditional thermostats, and obsolete security practices, it is time to make a switch to more reliable and efficient automation systems, and here’s why:
State-of-the-art warehouse automation systems are designed to ensure that energy consumption is reduced, which in turn results in lower costs as well as a smaller carbon footprint.
For a warehouse or any business for that matter, finding the right balance between costs and ambitions is a crucial aspect, especially if they are looking at expansion and growth.
Since warehouses are generally built over a large area and require a large workforce to operate, it is very important to effectively reduce costs, and that’s where warehouse automation systems come in.
Automation allows you greater control over how you power the electronic devices and appliances in the warehouse and helps you limit your energy consumption, in addition to reducing the need for manual labour.
For example, by using smart LED lights and a smart thermostat in the warehouse, you can program the lighting and cooling/heating systems to run in the most energy-efficient way possible without worrying about wasting energy.
With traditional manual systems, it can be very difficult to track your energy usage to make adjustments for better energy-saving practices. You may get a general idea but will be unable to receive insights and feedback from the system.
With warehouse automation systems and smart devices, you can get all that and more, making it easier to pinpoint waste and work on ways to minimise it.
For example, a smart thermostat will be able to provide you with information on how much energy you are consuming throughout the day, along with the best recommendations to make the system as efficient as possible based on factors such as the weather, timings, and the number of people present in the warehouse.
In addition to that, you can also rely on your automated security devices to provide you with information on who accessed which area of the warehouse – and when – which can be a great feature in terms of securing the warehouse against unauthorised access, intrusions, and burglaries.
As a business owner or warehouse manager, it should be your top priority to simplify the operations around the workplace to boost both productivity and efficiency.
Warehouse automation systems allow you to manage multiple devices using a centralised management system, providing convenience and ease of use like no other.
For instance, you can not only integrate the various automated systems around the warehouse, such as the lighting, heating, cooling, security systems, and more but also control them all from a single dashboard.
This not only saves valuable time and effort but also provides a great user experience since it takes care of most monotonous tasks automatically and sets triggers between devices to automate certain processes.
The ability to monitor and control your business from a remote location seemed like such a far-fetched idea a few years ago. However, with advancements in technology and automation systems for businesses, this is now possible.
Automation gives you added control over your warehouse’s operations since it not only allows you to view the status of the system from afar but also allows you to control and adjust its settings according to your requirements.
For example, if you are travelling and are worried about security back at the warehouse, you can instantly check what’s going on thanks to the smart security devices installed on the premises.
You are able to not only check the status but also make active changes to the settings based on your preferences. The same can be done for smart LED lights, smart thermostats, and other automated systems in the warehouse as well.
At Calder Electrical, we can design, plan, and install warehouse automation systems that will allow you to control the lighting, power, audio, visuals, and security around your workplace.
We work with top-rated systems and always stay updated on the latest trends in home and business automation technology. We understand the ins and outs of the service and can customise the system according to your needs and requirements.
Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 3001 to talk to our experienced professionals for our state-of-the-art warehouse automation systems!
Or would like us to provide a survey and quote then please contact us and we will be happy to help.Call us on 0800 612 3001