GTS Freight goes automatic

Transport and logistics company GTS Freight Group is installing automated guided vehicles (AGV) in its new warehouse.
GTS Freight Group is a privately-owned full-service logistics company based in Mildura, which operates a nationwide fleet of over 150 prime movers and over 450 trailers. Due to ongoing growth, the GTS Group is constructing a new depot adjacent to its existing facility. This will incorporate a 10,000m2 warehouse, trailer parking for 60 trailers and a new corporate headquarters for the group.
GTS has ordered a turnkey Dematic AGV system to manage its block-stacked full pallet warehouse. The AGV system comprises two counterbalance AGV utilising QR code navigation within block-stack lanes and Dematic’s AGV Warehouse Control Software (WCS) interfaced with Paperless WMS.
“We wanted an efficient and cost-effective warehousing solution that would allow for continued growth and expansion,” said managing director of GTS Damien Matthews. “We have been a long-time customer of Dematic and the turnkey capability was a big plus. Dematic was selected as it has proven to be a continual performer with years of background history and they designed these AGV to perfectly meet our warehouse needs.”
The AGV have been designed to work in a specific area, receiving stock and putting away and picking full pallets, while part-picking is performed manually, as well as all warehouse housekeeping. The AGV have been designed for GTS with a combination of laser guidance and QR code navigation. The QR codes can allow for more accurate navigation within high block-stacked warehouses, allowing the AGV to operate in high-density storage.
“We are implementing two AGV CB-1200-55-S units, with a height of 6.0 metres and a lifting capacity of 1,200 kg,” said southern regional manager AGV at Dematic Greg Carrington. “The efficiencies that the AGV will provide include the ability to continually work after hours and fit the design of the warehouse to help keep those efficiencies at an optimum.”
One of the key benefits of installing the AGV in GTS’s new warehouse is to be able to perform other tasks that need attending to, including stock maintenance and data entry, at the same time that the AGV are performing the picking tasks. The new AGV are due to go live mid-2019.

Toll goes e-commerce – from MHD magazine

Toll Group’s new $160 million retail and e-commerce order picking and distribution centre in western Sydney is designed to support the growth of online shopping by processing orders faster and more cost-effectively.
The 32,000sqm DC has 15,600sqm of automation equipment, which picks, processes and packs up to 375,000 items per day, reducing delivery times from days to hours.
Commenting on the project Toll Global Logistics president Chris Pearce said today’s market is placing aggressive demands on retailers to provide fast order fulfilment and delivery, without increasing costs.
“Toll’s investment in the new facility is helping our customers adapt to the new retail environment. The facility is equipped with advanced automation technology so retailers can deliver their e-commerce  orders faster, and in a much more economical way,” said Mr Pearce.
“Retailers will benefit from the ability to deliver goods to their stores and direct to customers faster and more cost-effectively. And shoppers will enjoy flexible order times and faster order processing, receiving their purchases within hours, not days.”
Fashion retail DC
The facility was constructed in collaboration with a major apparel retailer as the anchor tenant. Toll, Dematic and the client collaborated to design the facility with scalability and future growth in mind.
Toll is constantly looking to improve its omni-channel service for customers. This includes offering faster and more convenient delivery options for online and ‘click and collect’ orders.
The new DC offers complete omni-channel capability to help retailers adapt to the changing needs of customers and operates as a shared, multi-user facility.
Safety and environmental initiatives include a 70% reduction in manual handling, packaging optimisation and recycling, LED lighting and rainwater harvesting.
The site is ideally positioned on the corner of the M5 and M7 tollways, enabling convenient transport links for NSW and interstate deliveries.
The DC commenced operations in December 2017.
Toll transitioned customers through that peak period, and was fully live by the end of January, ahead of schedule.
Automated replenishment
Distribution in the DC starts at the receiving door. Cartons are unloaded from shipping containers and moved into storage, before being transported by a fleet of 10 Dematic automated guided vehicles (AGV) to the decant area.
Six double-pallet AGV are used for longer distance runs, together with four single-pallet AGV, which have been customised for the facility to provide additional safety processes around interaction with the decant tables.
The single-pallet AGV take the pallet from the handover point from the double-pallet AGV onto turntables, from which products are decanted and transported into the automation system.

“The new DC offers complete omni-channel capability to help retailers adapt to the changing needs of customers and operates as a shared, multi-user facility.”

AGV benefits
A key benefit of using AGV over forklifts for repetitive materials handling tasks is that they are predictable. They are safe, don’t take breaks, and they efficiently handle repetitive tasks.

“At the moment we are in the process of scaling up,” said Leon Land, senior product manager at Toll.
“We’ve got the ability to add capacity, extra shifts and extra hours within the time frame that we currently operate.
“The DC typically operates 12 hours a day, 5 days a week. The facility is operating at the moment with our anchor client, which is about 50% of the capacity.
“Within the scope and design of this facility, we’ve allowed for seasonality. We can scale up. We can add hours, shifts and weekends to satisfy our customers’ needs.”
He added: “A typical day at the moment is about 80,000 order lines. This utilises about 50% of the design capacity, which is around 170,000 order lines per shift.”
 RapidPICK GTP pick stations
To achieve this, the automated order fulfilment system includes 24 Dematic RapidPICK goods-to-person (GTP) pick stations. Products and order cartons are delivered to operators in a precise sequence, allowing for very high picking efficiency and accuracy.

“Employees are very happy with the new system,” Mr Land said. “It’s ergonomic, safe and there will be no horror stories of people walking mile after mile looking for products in the DC.”
The new GTP pick stations are very intuitive, easy to learn and operate. Users manage their processes via touchscreens, so it is very easy for Toll to train a new team member on the system.
Products arrive at the pick stations from 24 aisles of Dematic Multishuttle, which provides high-density storage and is capable of supplying products in the correct sequence for order fulfilment, at high rates.
Cardboard cartons are created in two sizes by automated carton erectors, with a licence plate applied on creation. These are then held in one of six Multishuttle order buffers ready for release to the pick stations.
Orders are picked and packed at the 1:1 Dematic RapidPICK stations.
“When all items for an order have been picked, order cartons are transported by conveyor via QA and automated invoice insertion to order finishing areas for either e-commerce  or store orders,” said Toll’s general manager for specialty retail Robert Charles.
“Store order cartons go through automatic carton optimising machines, where the carton is cut down in size to suit the fill level, reducing transport costs. Completed order cartons may be held in a Multishuttle pack and hold buffer, before being transported via the despatch sorter and directly loaded into Toll trailers.
“E-commerce  orders are transported to an automated packing bench with semi-automated satchel bagging machines. Satchels are then loaded into despatch cages, and loaded into the back of vehicles with minimal handling,” said Mr Charles.
The facility specialises in split case and full case picking, and currently operates from 6am to 6pm, which caters for the DC’s cut-off times to make sure Toll gets its online and other deliveries to customers on time.
The head contractor
“Dematic’s ability to support us on this project was what led us to them,” added Mr Charles.
“We collaborated very well. We put together a very strong project team to deliver this project.”
“We transitioned our customer during their peak Christmas period and we wouldn’t have done that if we didn’t have the confidence in our new systems and processes,” said Toll’s Leon Land.
“Dematic brought a very strong sense of how to deliver a highly automated supply chain and integrated logistics environment to us.
“We understand these things as a third-party company, but putting together and integrating all the automation, all of the third-party equipment, and bringing that schedule and compressing that schedule and keeping it on track was vital expertise that Dematic brought in this process.”
“Naturally, we’re very proud of the DC,” added Mr Land.
“It’s a highly automated facility. It’s changed the way we operate within the retail environment and everyone who has been involved in the project is very proud of the outcome.”

“A lot of work was done in the first 18 months evaluating multiple options and technology, whether it would be fully or semi-automated.”

Three years in the making
The DC was three years in the making and went live in December 2017. However, a lot of work was done in the first 18 months evaluating multiple options and technology, whether it would be fully or semi-automated.
“Toll looked at the business case justification, and once we got to a point where we agreed that the DC was going to be a fully automated integrated logistics centre, not only for our core customer, but also for other customers, we built at twice the capacity so that we could fulfil requirements for multiple customers,” said Mr Charles.
When evaluating a solution of this nature, Toll takes many disparate factors into consideration. It looks at customer service levels and, for Toll, how to reduce total costs, which is a big part of why businesses make decisions and realise commercial benefits.
“Safety is, of course, our number one priority on site,” he said.
“We work in an environment where there’s a lot of moving equipment, so we’re always looking at ways to segregate personnel from equipment and machine operations, and minimise the potential for accidents,” said Mr Land.
The Toll Group operates an extensive global logistics network across 1,200 locations in more than 50 countries. 43,000 employees provide a diverse range of transport and logistics solutions covering road, air, sea and rail to help customers meet their global supply chain needs.
Toll Global Logistics has its own in-house integrated logistics capability. Toll’s team will evaluate an operation and that takes into account the operational requirements, the commercial requirements and the technical.
“After Toll develops the concept and the design levels and throughputs, we engage the market,” said Mr Charles.
“Dematic was a good choice for Toll because we’ve worked with Dematic in the past on a similar facility. There’s a good cultural alignment between Toll and Dematic, and it’s all about the people within the teams to be able to deliver something like this successfully,” he said.
“Once we selected Dematic as a partner, we had two joint project teams to execute the solution, so their involvement and their input into the solution was very detailed.”
In that detailed design phase, a lot of the input was around IT functionality, processes, and Toll understanding what needed to change from the concept to be able to accommodate some of the automation that it was looking to put in, such as Multishuttles and goods-to-person (GTP) stations.
Dematic’s multi-faceted role
“We had a lot of input from Dematic on third-party equipment, such as the carton-optimising machines, which deliver our customers fantastic benefit in terms of our outbound transport.
“Thanks to our carton-optimising system, we have the ability to reduce the carton sizes and ship 30% more cartons in the containers,” said Mr Charles.
“Dematic had a lot of involvement in terms of the IT functionality – the detailed design of the solution and the system – with regards to how do the Multishuttle system and the GTP stations work efficiently together, to ensure we would achieve peak productivity and accuracy,” he said.
“When we looked at the design of the facility, we had to take into account multiple retail customers.”
Flexible system designed for growth
“Some retailers are dedicated store retailers. We have others that are wholesale retailers who deliver to other distribution centres, and we also have retailers that have a large e-commerce  component,” said Mr Charles.
“Our anchor tenant has over 1,000 retail stores. Our second customer is a wholesale business.
“This business is delivering into other distribution centres that then deliver to its network of stores, and this customer also has a very large e-commerce  component. Toll has a lot of customers who have a fashion retail background, so the distribution profile for this facility caters for any fashion retail customer in the industry.”
“However, this site is also capable of handling any retailer,” added Mr Charles.
“So, if the retailer was a stationery retailer or in another line of retailing, the solution that we’ve implemented can cater for that.”
“The facility with the automation that has been implemented is mainly a unit pick-and-pack operation: between 95-98% of the volume goes to the automation as it’s picked at unit level,” explained Mr Charles.
e-commerce  driving growth
“Between 10 and 15% of volume is e-commerce-driven and the growth across the sector is immense,” he said.
“This is one of the key factors we had in mind when we designed the facility. Scalability and flexibility is key in any 3PL. We have multiple customers, their businesses change every year and we have to be able to evolve with them.
“If we look at what we’ve built here, we’ve built two facilities. We’ve got a fully automated one which is Project Enterprise, however, we also have a manual facility across the hard stand, which also has a lot of other customers.
“Therefore, if we need to expand, we have the ability to expand the automation, which gives us the flexibility to grow, or contract, depending on what we need to do,” concluded Mr Charles.
For more information visit You can also watch a video of this DC in action at ■

Narrow aisle reach AGV for freezers

Dematic has released a freezer-rated narrow aisle reach AGV specifically designed to operate autonomously in chilled and freezer environments. The AGV can operate permanently in temperatures down to -25°C and intermittently as low as -30°C.
With a lift height that can access five levels of racking in a typical warehouse, a 1,100 kg load capacity and a reach mechanism to handle double-deep racking , the AGV is well-suited for automating operations in existing freezer distribution facilities.
“Our new AGV are designed for automating existing freezer storage DC that are manually operated today,” said general manager sales for AGV at Dematic Australia and New Zealand Tony Raggio. “Companies can implement freezer-rated AGV for automated picking with minimal infrastructure changes and related costs.”
For manual operations, working in the tough, demanding freezer environment means that workers need frequent breaks from the cold. For every hour worked, a worker might need to spend 10 to 20 minutes out of the freezer. AGV systems may operate 24/7, picking and transporting product in the frozen environment and delivering that product seamlessly to warmer temperature shipping areas.
“Finding people to work in chilled and freezer environments is challenging,” Mr Raggio added. “Our customers can use these AGV in the frozen areas of their distribution facilities to create a fully automated ‘lights out’ automation arrangement.”

Toyota forklifts celebrate 50 years in Australia: from MHD

Celebrating 50 years in Australia
Toyota forklifts have come a long way since the first rugged and dependable 5LR models were imported into Australia in 1968.
The birth of TMHA
Toyota Material Handling Australia can trace its beginnings as the factory owned national distributor to the inaugural world Toyota industrial equipment congress in Nagoya in 2001.
Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO, or TAL as it then was), had just purchased BT Industries of Sweden.
In a breakthrough decision, TICO directors decided to create a separate forklift company in Australia – by buying Toyota Australia’s Industrial Equipment Division.
“That happened in 2003, with Hank Ogata as the founding president and CEO. Hank had extensive experience in TICO’s other acquisitions and amalgamations in France and the USA,” said TMHA president Steve Takacs.
As a result, the Australian operation head-office grew in 18 months from 13 staff to 40, and to a total of around 350 staff.
“Key people were left in place, because they knew their territory better than anyone else, as well as the product and the customer base.”
The BT integration was a four-year project as the new Australian team worked with TICO to create both a separate company for Toyota industrial equipment in Australia and to bring together the Toyota, BT and Raymond brands.
“With BT and Raymond products, we could supply 100 per cent of the warehouse equipment market place as a one-stop shop for material-handling equipment. Previously, we could only compete in 70 per cent of the marketplace,” Mr Takacs said.
Toyota Industries Corporation Australia (TICA) officially incorporated BT Lift Trucks into its national operations on April 1, 2005, creating a company with one-third share of the Australian forklift market.
TICA initially purchased the existing Toyota forklift dealerships in New South Wales and South Queensland, and progressively acquired the majority of other Toyota forklift dealerships nationally.
TMHA, where to now?
Toyota Material Handling Australia is poised for even more exciting times in the coming years, as new technology and software create greater efficiencies, cost savings and safety increases.
Fresh from the 50th anniversary celebrations for Toyota forklift sales in Australia, TMHA is looking to expand its distribution network, opening further branches, and broadening its product range – so customers can benefit from the company’s unique ‘one-stop experience’.
President and CEO Steve Takacs pointed to the new branch in Toowoomba, which serves a fast-growing regional hotspot and its new airport.
“Now, we’re looking beyond our traditional core product-base of forklifts, skid-steer loaders and towing tractors,” he said.
“Last year we introduced a range of pallet racking. Next to arrive will be scissor lifts, lift platforms, and sweepers and scrubbers. And the next 12 months will see more product lines. All these products will be supported by branch network service centres and a huge mobile service fleet.
“There are synergies in offering these products, with customers who have forklift fleets also needing to keep large floor areas clean and maintain the interiors of high buildings.”
In terms of future material-handling products, the key word is ‘automation’.
“The car industry shows us that this is the next big thing,” Steve Takacs said. “We are fortunate in the Toyota Group of companies, in being part of a global automotive leader. Self-driving cars are now in prototype production and the expectation for when we’ll see them in everyday use is surely a case of when, not if.
“Already we’re seeing self-driving Uber cars and trial deliveries of fast food and parcels by drones, with more applications to come.
“For some time, Toyota has been operating semi-autonomous forklifts that are intended to not only streamline functions such as order-picking but make it safer and more cost effective.
“Productive is of course the main advantage. But a secondary benefit is safety, with reduced risks on the warehouse floor – this is another excellent reason to embrace the new technology.
“It is an area that will continue to grow and applications will become broader, as the technology becomes more sophisticated – particularly when it is coupled with the developing area of virtual reality.”
Toyota’s massive year-by-year investment in research and development means its technology results in continual progress and refinement in material-handling technology and product. Advances such as lithium-ion batteries will see battery electric increasingly supplant internal combustion as the main fuel source for forklifts, with obvious benefits for both OH&S and the environment.
Logistics companies, from giants to minnows, are increasingly relying on their equipment suppliers to develop solutions for new high-density warehouses.
“Once again, this is an area where Toyota’s material handling engineers have access to the corporation’s automotive research and hence can take advantage of this ever-developing technology,” Steve Takacs said.
“At the 2018 CeMAT fair in Hanover, Germany, Toyota Material Handling Europe unveiled its all-new Traigo 80, a 6-8-tonne payload battery electric forklift. It is a heavy-duty counter-balanced forklift with 80-volt electrics, so it rivals an IC truck for performance. This would have been unheard of just a few years ago.”
Mr Takacs also said advancements in telematics will increasingly drive the material handling industry.
“Just four years ago, Toyota Material Handling Europe devised, patented and launched one of the world’s leading on-board forklift fleet management systems.
“Toyota ‘I-site’ was developed in Europe to provide a real-time GPS wireless on-machine monitoring and management protocol, to reduce cost, increase productivity and improve health and safety outcomes.
“Now when we service major fleets we’re able to compare the performance of identical forklifts, sometimes on different sites or even different states, and provide a solution for the most productive use of each forklift as well as the entire fleet.
“We can indeed look forward to the next 50 years.”
For more information call 1800 425 438 or visit
TMHA Chairman’s message
Fifty years of Toyota forklift sales in Australia is a significant milestone and I want to thank our customers for their continued support and loyalty to Toyota Material Handling Australia.
The mother company of TMHA is Toyota Industries Corporation or TICO, which has now been in operation for 92 years and has become the world’s largest manufacturer of forklifts.
TICO has three main business sectors – Solution, which is material handling, logistics and textile machinery; Key Component, which includes air compressors and electronics; and Mobility, which is automobile and engine.
TICO has been number one in the global forklift market share since 2002 and within this corporation material handling is the biggest business sector, accounting for more than 60 per cent of global revenue.
Looking at the world material handling market, the USA is the largest market, but Australia as TMHA is an impressive eighth in the world sales volume as a single sales company. This shows how well we have been supported by our customers and means we can truly celebrate our 50th year anniversary.
Now, we need to look to the future and where we can grow as partners. Toyota’s famed QDR – Quality, Durability & Reliability – is the base of our products. In addition, customer satisfaction is always Number One priority for Toyota.
We will continue to enhance our quality services and product line-up, striving to stay ahead of the times and contribute to our customers as a Total Solution Provider.
We thank you again for your continued support for TMHA and look forward to the next 50 years working together.
Toshi (Tom) Nakazawa, chairman, TMHA.
TMHA President’s message
Toyota forklifts have come a long way since the first rugged and dependable 5LR models were imported into Australia in 1968.
A watershed moment occurred in 1999 with the launch of the 7-Series forklifts. At that moment we understood the value of Toyota’s extraordinary investment in research and development, and how it paid direct dividends for our customers.
The 7-Series featured Toyota’s world-first System of Active Stability, a computer-controlled stability device protected by over 300 patents and developed in conjunction with technology from Toyota’s automotive division. It was not only ground-breaking technologically, but a true innovation in improving forklift productivity and efficiency, and most importantly, enhancing operator safety.
This brings us to the current Toyota forklift, the magnificent 8-Series, which has built upon the legacy of the Toyota 7-Series and become the leading counter-balance forklift model in Australia. Toyota’s counter-balance forklift models have been Australia’s number one consecutively since 1987, representing 31 years of undisputed market dominance. To date, more than 50,000 Toyota forklifts have been sold into the Australian market.
Backing this fleet is Toyota Material Handling Australia, which has a rental fleet of more than 23,000 units and a fully factory-owned network of 17 Australian branches. Those outlets are all committed to giving valued customers the best possible forklift products, coupled with the best possible people in the material handling industry.
Our product lines have also expanded. TMHA is now proud to offer an unparalleled range of logistics and automation equipment to our Australian customers – including warehouse equipment, AGV (driverless forklifts), elevated work platforms, scissor lifts, sweepers and scrubbers, a comprehensive range of warehouse racking and state-of-the-art fleet management software.
So, to our very valued customers nationwide, I say thank you for your ongoing support and for helping us achieve these truly amazing milestones.
A lot has changed in the last 50 years, and it is truly a joyous occasion for TMHA to be able to celebrate this golden anniversary.
Steve Takacs, president & CEO, TMHA.
Toyota forklift milestones
1955: First Toyota forklift prototype sent to the automobile factory for three months’ testing.
1956: Toyota forklift LA, one-ton internal combustion model, is launched in March; towing tractor based on it launched in December.
1958: First Toyota forklift exports from Japan.
1959: New Toyota forklift factory built, capable of producing more than 150 forklifts per month.
1963: Toyota’s first international specification forklift is announced, the 5LR – it gives Toyota the lead in the two-ton forklift market; first major export contract to Port of Singapore Authority.
1968: First Toyota forklift imported into Australia.
1970s: Toyota builds the Takahama plant, the world’s largest facility devoted solely to manufacturing industrial vehicles; develops technology to address issue of air pollution, including positive crankcase ventilation.
1973: Toyota develops engines specifically for industrial vehicles.
1975: Evolution of Toyota battery electric forklifts begins, with smoother control and 48-volt electrics; 3FBRE first Toyota reach truck with sit-down operator launched.
1978: 4-Series forklifts launched with improved travel speed and load handling.
1985-88:  500,000th Toyota forklift produced; Toyota forklift exports exceed 200,000 units for the first time; 5-Series forklifts launched with improved operator comfort and full floating powertrain; local assembly begins in France and then the USA.
1992: One millionth Toyota forklift produced.
Mid-1990s: 6-Series forklifts introduced with special attention to ergonomic design, increased productivity, easier operation, lower noise and improved styling.
1996: 25,000th Toyota forklift sold in Australia.
1999: Toyota’s breakthrough System of Active Stability (SAS) introduced on 7-Series 1-3 ton petrol models, along with innovative AC power system and SAS on 7FB electric models; In Australia, Toyota wins national OH&S award for its in-house developed swing-down gas-bottle bracket.
2000: Toyota acquires BT Industries and Raymond forklifts.
2001: Toyota combines all its lift truck operations into a single business area called Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO), later renamed Toyota Material Handling; TICO world congress held in Nagoya.
2003: Toyota Industries Corporation Australia (TICA) established to distribute and sell Toyota industrial equipment and one year later wins TICA Global Excellence Award; Toyota’s worldwide sales and supply network now covers 170 countries and 80 distributors.
2005: TICA becomes authorised Australian distributor of Raymond forklifts.
2006: Toyota’s 50th anniversary of forklift manufacture and 80th anniversary of Toyota Industries Corporation, which now has 35,000 employees worldwide; 8-Series 1.0-3.5-tonne forklift range launched.
2007: Toyota Material Handling, as it is now known, celebrates 21 years of consecutive Australian market leadership in counter-balance forklifts.
2009: World’s first engine-powered hybrid forklift launched – diesel-electric GENCO-Hybrid; new product action on several fronts with BT Reflex electric reach trucks, new pedestrian pallet trucks and 5-Series Huski SSL range, followed in 2010 by new electric towing tractors, in 2011 by 7-Series 6-8 models with segment-first SAS and in 2012 by new Raymond reach trucks, BT Optio order pickers and 8FBN 4-wheel forklifts.
2012: A quarter of a century of Toyota IC counter-balance market leadership in Australia, achieving 34 per cent market share.
2012-13: A wave of TMHA branch activity, with new premises in Brisbane, Albury and Gladstone, and Toyota’s first direct presence in Darwin, Townsville and Tasmania.
2016: Toyota launches BT-branded Automatic Guided Vehicles – automated forklifts.
2016-17: TMHA wins back-to-back Toyota Material Handling International president’s awards for record years in 2015-16 and overall business excellence.
2017: 25-year anniversary of Toyota skills contest in Australia, highlighting excellence in training forklift technicians; TMHA staff build show-stopper V8 forklift.
2018: Toyota tops the Australian IC forklift market for the 31st year in a row and the overall forklift market for the ninth consecutive year, with approximately 5100 units sold in 2017.
Ongoing: The Takahama Plant, constructed in the 1970s, is continuously upgraded in equipment and facilities. Toyota’s industry-leading R&D investment in material handling equipment continues, giving customers leading QDR, safety, ease of operation and efficiency: the Toyota Advantage.

Forklift market to hit $256bn by 2024

According to a new growth forecast report by Global Market Insights, Inc., the material handling equipment market is growing at 5.5% CAGR to surpass USD 190 billion by 2024.
Growing automation capabilities in the manufacturing space coupled with increasing penetration of advanced technologies, such as IoT, RFID, and AI, are expected to drive the material handling equipment market growth. Automated material handling systems are gaining popularity with the growing inclination of industries to replace human labour with automated systems. RFID, IoT, and Automatic Identification & Data Capture (AIDC) technologies are becoming significantly popular as they improve order fulfilment processes and help enhance productivity across the supply chain. As human capital is becoming difficult to retain and recruit, automated material handling solutions are aiding companies in managing the labour challenges while ensuring profitability and productivity.
Rising labour costs in countries including China & India will support the material handling equipment market growth. The booming manufacturing sector in the region coupled, with high-cost labour, is compelling manufacturers to use sophisticated machinery to ensure high throughput in lesser time. Conventional manual techniques reduce productivity and lead to time consumption. Traditional techniques for material handling are also prone to errors caused by human fatigue. Moreover, they also pose a restriction to the amount of load that can be transferred or stored. Bulk material handling & storage systems and industrial trucks are facilitating the management of large volumes of goods, thereby reducing unnecessary time consumption.
Real-time technical challenges in the operation of these systems with the requirement of high capital investment are anticipated to negatively impact the material handling equipment market. The complexity involved in the integration of hardware and software for manufacturing facilities is restricting companies that have budgetary constraints from adopting these systems. Moreover, cybersecurity threats in these systems are also factors hindering industry growth.
The robotics segment of the material handling equipment market is expected to witness significant CAGR of over 8% to reach over USD 20 billion by 2024, owing to the demand for high-performance robotic systems across various industry verticals. Robots facilitate easy and fast pick & place of material, thereby ensuring accuracy and eliminating human involvement. The rising awareness about the advantages of automated systems globally will fuel the demand for robots across industries. Extensive R&D undertaken in the field of robotics & AI in countries including Japan and China is expected to fuel the material handling equipment market over the forecast period. The incorporation of machine learning capabilities in the robots to increase productivity with predictive maintenance further contributes to the industry demand.
3PL need them, too
The expanding 3PL sector globally is expected to witness a CAGR of over 6% in the material handling equipment market. The increasing complexity of supply chains is compelling businesses to turn towards 3PL service providers to ensure smooth and efficient operations. 3PL service providers are focusing on real-time systems for enhanced visibility. Furthermore, the flourishing durable manufacturing sector in countries including India and China is providing impetus to the market. The growing durable manufacturing industry adopting the latest technologies for production in countries including France and Germany will lead to a surge in demand for the equipment.
The developments in the manufacturing sector in countries such as Japan, China, and India are expected to propel the material handling equipment market growth. These systems are increasingly being adopted in warehouses and production facilities for automating all processes. The growing transportation & logistics industry in the US is providing growth opportunities to the industry valued at over USD 25 billion in 2017. The early technology adoption in the region and the ongoing R&D in the US will fuel the material handling equipment market demand. Stringent government regulations related to operator safety in Europe are compelling manufacturers to use high-quality machines that comply with the standards.
Key vendors in the material handling equipment market comprise Toyota, Crown Equipment, Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc., KUKA AG, Kion Group AG, JBT Corporation, Flexlink, Intelligrated, Inc., Dematic GmbH & Co., KG., Columbus McKinnon, and Daifuku Co., Ltd. Companies are trying to launch new designs and expand the product portfolio. The industry is characterised by strategic acquisitions and collaborations with technology providers to offer enhanced solutions. Players are developing manufacturing solutions that cater to specific industry demands and comply with the standards and regulations operating in the industry. Increasing investment in the R&D of new automation solutions will contribute to industry growth.

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