Feb 8, 2021

US Faces Warehouse Capacity Issues, Technology is the Answer

Automation
distribution
Ecommerce
Warehousing
Laura V. Garcia
2 min
warehouse
As the U.S. faces warehouse capacity constraints issues, Melinda McLaughlin of Prologis suggests automation and technology can help...

As warehouses in North America reach and exceed their capacity, more and more firms are needing to turn away business. A report published by Reuters Events showed that out of the 273 warehouse operators they surveyed, 50% were operating at 90% or higher capacity, and 13% were over 100% level of nominal capacity. 

As there is no sign demand will ease, the situation is becoming critical. 

Labour shortage issues and increased rent and facility costs also add to the challenges warehouses are facing. Out of those surveyed by Reuters, 41% were in search of new space with 27% saying finding new space was the biggest challenge they were facing.

The massive shift to ecommerce and rapid growth (64% of firms surveyed by Reuters reported double-digit growth last year) has fulfilment centres looking to establish locations in residential neighbourhoods. However, they face resistance from communities who raise pollution, noise and strain on road infrastructure as concerns. 

As the pandemic continues to cause spikes in demand, retailers are looking to mitigate risks of shortages by increasing their stocks on key items.

The trend is expected to last throughout the year and beyond, and a shortfall on capacity is expected. According to Prologis, the US could fall short by up to 140 million sq ft. To help fight the challenges, Melinda McLaughlin, vice-president of research at Prologis suggested warehouses should leverage automation. 

“Many users of logistics space are grappling with several forces at the same time: rising e-commerce volumes; the need to hold more inventory; and shortages of available space and labour. This will drive up competition for limited space, and those that act first will secure a competitive advantage.

McLaughlin points out the high growth rates of automation in the areas geared towards labour productivity and improving e-fulfilment operations. “The ability to incorporate automation and other technology into operations can also aid in the transformation of supply chains and offers additional flexibility in location and labour,” she says.

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Jun 17, 2021

Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router

Siemens
5G
IIoT
Data
3 min
Siemens’ first industrial 5G router, the Scalancer MUM856-1, is now available and will revolutionise the concept of remote control in industry

Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age. 

 

Siemens Enables 5G IIoT

The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). 

Siemens presents its first industrial 5G router.
Siemens presents the Scalance MUM856-1.

The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.

 

Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance

 

  • Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
  • The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
  • A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
  • Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites

 

5G Now

“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.

 

Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said. 

 

Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future

Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’ 

 

And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.

 

The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.

 

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