The Global Automated Material Handling (AMH) Market is expected to register a CAGR of 12.7% over the forecast period from 2022 – 2031.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which hit the major regions, like North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, severely influenced the market’s growth during 2020, as almost all production, logistics, and warehouses were under lockdown seized activities. As a result, the operations in these industries are expected to resume and reach a previous optimal position over the course of the next few months. However, the demand in certain industries, such as electronics, retail, and automotive, is expected to decline and recover by 2022.
Automated material handling is a concept derived from material handling practices, which uses several types of machinery to help workers in a manufacturing establishment move the product under construction between assembly stations or moving completed goods to storage facilities. With the advent of technology, these tasks were taken over by machines, creating a market for automated material handling. In the current market scenario, enterprises are increasingly focusing on adopting diverse technologies for their business operations to reduce the overall costs and gain a competitive advantage over their rivals.
Enterprises are focusing more on adopting diverse technologies for their business operations to reduce their overall costs and gain a competitive advantage over their rivals. As a result, vendors of material handling solutions gradually veered toward the modern approach of helping end-users focus on their operations’ space and time utility by manufacturing flexible systems that seamlessly integrate with other systems as part of the overall material handling plan.
For instance, AS/RS emerged as one of the most dynamic solutions in material handling equipment. They are mainly deployed in warehouses and distribution centers. Despite gaining initial traction in the manufacturing sector, other sectors, such as food and beverage and life sciences, gradually realized the benefits of using AS/RS across various phases in the supply chain, ranging from mundane to complex tasks.
Further, developing countries in Asia, such as India, are investing in material handling equipment significantly. According to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the Indian market for materials handling equipment (MHE), accounting for about 13% market share of the country’s construction equipment industry, witnessed significant growth in the recent past.
Moreover, various research projects, such as Stuttgart’s ARENA2036, are focused on developing better systems for material handling. In today’s warehouses or production lines, almost all the facilities are supported by simulations that predict the possible problems in the system before actual implementation, which aid in saving cost and wastage for the company. In addition, the latest developments, such as remote tracking, predictive maintenance, and downtime tracking, enabled better and more efficient logistics.
Additionally, manufacturers are employing automation to attract the millennial workforce, promoting automated material handling in conjunction with employment growth. According to the National Association of Manufacturers’ Second Quarter 2019 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, about 68.8% of respondents confessed that their top business challenge is the inability to attract and retain a quality workforce. Around 75% of respondents said they have unfilled positions within their company that they struggle to fill with a qualified applicant.
Key Market Trends
Airport Developments to Significantly Drive the Market Growth
With the increasing volume of cross-border air freight dedicated to quick deliveries, the e-commerce sector is expected to boost the demand for automated material handling solutions such as tugs, ASRS, and sortation systems as heavy air freight carriers draw considerable attention to AMH solutions.
The North American airport industry is one of the largest airport industries in the world. It provides services to about 1,011.5 million domestic and international passengers every year. It is also home to some of the world’s biggest airports and is expected to bolster the adoption of automation to ensure no disruptions in the business model.
For instance, Crisplant, a foremost global supplier of automated baggage handling systems, designed, manufactured, and installed fully automated baggage handling systems, which have been integrated with the security screening equipment deployed by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) in Canada’s Halifax International Airport.
Since December 2019, London Stansted Airport has been investing EUR 59 million in a new baggage delivery system, updating the huge network of conveyor belts and lifts underneath the main terminal, which transports up to 30,000 bags every day. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
Investments from leading airport intralogistics solution providers, like Siemens Logistics and Airport Solutions, and the installation of new baggage-handling facilities and IT systems (at leading international transport hubs and regional airports within the United Kingdom), with operational, service, and technical support, are driving the growth of the airport segment in the country. For instance, Leonardo Airport partnered with Siemens to maintain and technical manage all baggage handling systems at the Rome Fiumicino Intercontinental Airport and the Rome Ciampino International Airport.
Further, the automated material handling companies manufacture advanced cargo handling systems to efficiently handle packages from the aircraft. For instance, in August 2020, John Bean Technologies Corp.
(JBT) introduced JBT Cargo Chute, a solution for unloading packages from the passenger cabins. The chute can be attached to existing or new passenger steps, allowing the packages to slide safely in a controlled manner, thereby eliminating the need to either carry the goods while walking down or have additional operators on the steps to pass the goods each other.
Furthermore, the plans of the airport operators to decrease the carbon footprint have accelerated the replacement of diesel-run handling equipment with electric equipment.
For instance, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is currently installing solar panels and automated vehicles in various airports across India to adopt a clean energy initiative. In addition, as of November 2020, the airport operator announced its plans to induct more automated vehicles for ground handling aircraft operations in 2021 at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport.
Asia- Pacific to Witness the Fastest Growth
The primary driving forces for the growth of the Asia-Pacific regional segment are rising urbanization, rising e-commerce sales, and the significant presence of technology providers. As a result, these players invest in research and development activities to offer innovative solutions to stay in the competitive market landscape.
Asia-Pacific emerged as one of the world’s largest e-commerce hubs. The region witnessed a rapid growth in retail e-commerce, owing to the rising middle-class population in China, India, and Indonesia, along with the rise in popularity of mobile gadgets. China alone accounts for 40% of the world’s retail e-commerce sales.
China has been a prominent contributor to the growth of the AMH market in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, the increasing demand for AMH products across industries, such as manufacturing, automotive, and e-commerce, among others, is boosting the market’s growth positively.
The 2020 Beijing International Intelligent Warehousing and Material Handling Technology Expo (SMTS 2020) would be held on June 9-11, 2020, at the China International Exhibition Center in Beijing. Various new material handling equipment, such as AGV automatic guided truck, handling and conveying system, forklift, trailer, tractor, palletizing robot, and handling robot, among others, are expected to be presented at this event.
Based out of Shenzhen, startups, such as Syrius Robotics, are building autonomous mobile robots to integrate them into two model warehouses of JD Logistics for further testing and optimization for last-mile deliveries. As a result, AMH systems are expected to experience demand from the manufacturing industries, with increased throughput, warehouses, and distribution centers.
Further, in June 2020, VisionNav Robotics completed the B1 round financing with an aggregate amount up to CNY 100.00 million, which Lenovo Capital and Flyfot Ventures led, together with the old shareholder, Eastern Bell Capital. The capital raised will be applied for the continuous R&D of improving the existing visual control and perception technology. These instances will further bolster the growth of the AMH market in the region.
According to the Head of BYD India MHE business, “the Indian warehousing and logistics sector is anticipated to attract nearly USD 10 billion investment over the next few years, and the technological advancement and process optimization of the warehousing industry is the key driving force behind the growth of logistics sector.” In India, the company has set up a head office in Chennai.
In February 2020, logistics automation specialist, Swisslog, member of the KUKA Group, received an order from IKEA Supply (Malaysia). Located at Pulai Indah, the Distribution Center run by Inter IKEA would be its most significant regional distribution center in the Asia-Pacific region.
The automated material handling market is fragmented and highly competitive in nature. Some of the major players are Daifuku Co., Ltd, Kardex Group, KION Group, JBT Corporation, Honeywell Intelligrated amongst others. Product launches, high expense on research and development, partnerships and acquisitions, etc. are the prime growth strategies adopted by these companies to sustain the intense competition. Some of the recent developments are
May 2020 – The respiratory equipment specialist, Dahlhausen Medizintechnik GmbH, relies on automation by Jungheinrich Automated guided pallet transport between incoming goods and logistics area. The aim is to transport a large volume of goods under controlled process conditions and efficiently over long stretches.
January 2020 – SI Schaefer and the solution provider of automatic picking and digital applications, BD Rowa, agreed to continue to collaborate. The two companies extended the corresponding contract by five more years. The aim of the cooperation is to provide customers in the healthcare sector an overall solution to prepare them for future processes, such as e-prescriptions or establishing Hub & Spoke models.
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