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Have you ever wondered how you can order a package on a Tuesday evening and it can be at your doorstep by the next day? It all comes down to location, speed, and process flow when selecting and designing a new industrial building. Industrial real estate is growing rapidly and the use of technology to increase speed and process flow is key. As Project Managers, it is important to account for this technology in the design process. A key element in distribution centers is the use of robotics to pick, pack, and move product to the mode of transportation that gets it to it’s final destination.
Robotics are becoming increasingly integrated into daily operations and these buildings need to be designed and constructed in a matter that can support the integration. Here are some infrastructure elements to consider when designing around the use of robotics:
- Structural: Does the slab or mezzanine that is housing the robotic elements need to be supported with additional structural elements? This could include footings, thicker concrete slab, or structural steel.
- Fire Protection: Is the unit housed within racking where additional fire protection is needed? It is critical to understand the classification of product that the robots will be handling to further develop the type of fire protection needed.
- Power & Data: Do you need to backup the operation on emergency power? Has an internet service provider been established and do you need redundancy in case of failure?
- Safety: Did you maintain proper clearances for people and other equipment? Striped walk paths can help delineate associate walk paths from equipment conflicts.
All of these elements are important questions to review with your team for a successful integration of technology in the building. Lean on your Project Manager to provide helpful insight to direct your design and construction!
-Andrew Laux, Project Manager with Watchdog Real Estate Project Management