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Automating the Supply Chain – From Pallets to Parcels

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Posted: April 01, 2019
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Growing up, one of the first examples I can remember of an autonomous vehicle was the Batmobile. Regardless of whether it was single-handedly taking down a chemical plant or helping to save Adam West from a catapult, the Batmobile’s self-driving capabilities were something to behold.


While equipping our vehicles with grappling hook launchers and explosive caltrops is pretty nonsensical, marked advancements in technology have made it possible for autonomous vehicles to become a distinct reality.


Today, many different types of equipment such as AGVs and industrial robotics are used to handle monotonous tasks such as building and horizontally transporting pallets. The next logical step in this transition is to automate stacking and storage of products, something that current AGV models are incapable of performing.


Toyota’s new automated 3-wheel electric, on display at ProMat 2019, was built to do just that. Natural features navigation allows the truck to learn the layout of your facility and continually update mapping of the facility over time – no costly reflectors or wearable magnetic tape required. And the ability to operate the truck manually when needed adds a valuable level of versatility that is ideal for developing facilities and those that are just beginning their journey into automation.


Although this forklift is still in the design phase, it is an initial step in a series of technological advancements planned by Toyota to bring fully integrated automation solutions to the forefront of the material handling industry.


Also on display at ProMat 2019 were Toyota’s center-controlled rider AGV, automated moving mast reach truck, and mouse tug-cart AGV. Seeing these machines in action demonstrates how a real-life application can benefit from multiple different types of automated equipment handling horizontal and vertical placement of pallets in a facility.


Toyota’s strategic partnership with Bastian Solutions, a Toyota Automated Logistics Company,  allows for a comprehensive solution that marries advanced systems and robotics with forklifts to maximize efficiency at the parcel level. Also on display at ProMat 2019, a palletizing robot that can build pallets for forklifts to pick up and move to their next destination. This is just one example of how an integration between traditional and automated material handling solutions can benefit your business.


Though you likely won’t see any super heroes using forklifts as a means to thwart crime anytime soon, automated forklifts meeting all or most of your material handling challenges may not be as far away as you think.


Whether you are just beginning to automate some of your material handling processes or you are looking for advanced solutions to complete tasks, forward-thinking equipment from Toyota is here to help you carry the load.

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