By Isaac Fletcher, contributing writer, Food Online
Driven by needs for operational efficiency and an increasing demand among food manufacturers for automated solutions, the market for automated material handling is expected to demonstrate a high rate of growth over the next five years.
According to a recent report, the automated material handling market is expected to reach a value of nearly $31 billion by 2020, with an estimated CAGR of 8.16 percent from 2015 to 2020. Material handling is an integral part of food processing and packaging, and many manufacturers rely on automated processes to increase efficiency and throughput.
Related: What’s Driving The Rise Of Robotics In Food Manufacturing?
Material handling includes activities such as moving, packaging, and storing materials used in production. Automated material handling (AMH) refers to advancements in material handling systems, thereby eliminating the need for manual labor to perform tasks such as moving, sorting, organizing, etc... AMH offers manufacturers an efficient, accurate, and cost-effective method to easily and rapidly move goods throughout a production facility. A primary objective of AMH systems and implementing them is to provide the lowest-cost solution for material handling needs.
By product, the AMH market is comprised of automated guided vehicles (AGV), automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), automated conveyor and sorting systems, robotic systems, automated crane, and various software systems. The majority of AMH market share is held by robotic systems; however, AGV and AS/RS are expected to demonstrate the highest CAGR over the coming years.
The market is driven by several key factors:
- The ability to reduce manufacturing costs by using AMH equipment
- Growth in the manufacturing sector and an increase in the number of manufacturing facilities
- Improved wireless technology, particularly with regard to AGV
- Enhanced focus on product and worker safety
The market is currently facing restraints in the form of:
- A high capital expenditure requirement for AMH implementation
- Strong reliance on technology wherein technical glitches can severely hinder the operational process