The TechnoSpark venture-building company, one of investors and shareholders of which is the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs of the RUSNANO Group, became the digital partner of the CeMAT Russia International Exhibition – the only platform in Russia that demonstrates the trend-setting and prospective solutions in the area of warehouse facilities, equipment, handing machines and in-process logistics. A part of the business program of the exhibition was centered around the forum dedicated to the efficient management of intralogistic operations.
The Director General of TechnoSpark, Denis Kovalevich, took part in the plenary session of the section “Main Trends in Logistics and Intralogistics in 2018-2021” and also served as a moderator at the panel discussion “Digital Transformation in Logistics.” He brought up the following matter: Is there a place for tech entrepreneurs in the logistics of the future?
Annually, as many as about 100 billion boxes travel around the world. “It is time to bring robotic technologies into logistics, — says one of such tech entrepreneurs, the Director General of the SIGMA.Novosibirsk nanotechnology center, Boris Galkin. — As analysts predict, in the next 20 years the logistic industry is expected to grow 1000-fold. The biggest boost will come from the sector of robotic warehouse systems and unmanned transportation. In 20 years’ time the volume of this market is estimated to stand at $250 billion.”
TechnoSpark is certain that tech entrepreneurs are very likely to change the logistics market. The most formidable economic effect in the warehouse operations is expected from the introduction of Automated Guided Carts (AGC), robotic carts that convey storage racks or pallets. They make all warehouse operations 3-4 times faster and increase the product density by 30-50%.
The Russian warehouse robots Ronavi, designed by Ronavi Robotics of TechnoSpark and demonstrated at the exposition for the first time, belong to a similar type of devices. The booth showcased a working model of the robot with a lifting capacity of 1500 kg. It was launched into mass production, and it is now possible to place a pre-order. Besides, for the first time ever the booth showcased a new model of the robot with a weight-carrying capacity of 300 kg that is scheduled for production in 2019. “It is designed for batching centers and conveyance of goods loaded onto storage racks,” – explains Ivan Borodin, Executive Director of Ronavi Robotics.
The booth also demonstrates the Optiplane Colibri hybrid drone made by the SIGMA.Novosibirsk nano-center. Its function is to fly over remote territories, for example, forests, to deliver small-size parcels, such as documents, to look for people, to monitor power supply lines and pipelines, as Olga Orlova, nano-center’s spokesperson, says. The drone takes off vertically. Its flight range is 50 km, battery performance is estimated to be 60 minutes, the weight is 3.7 kg and the lifting capacity is 1.5 kg. It can operate within the temperature range from -27°С to +35°С.
The biggest boost to the efficiency of transport and logistic system shall come from the unmanned transport. Vadim Toporov announced results of the research carried out by the KPMG Russia and CIS in 20 countries of the world on possibility to introduce unmanned vehicles to operate on public-access roads. He compared adoption of unmanned road vehicles to replacement of horses by cars. Thanks to its increased efficiency, one unmanned car will be able to replace three present-day trucks operated by drivers. There will also be 10% fuel saving. Notably, if it took about 50 years to shift from animal-drawn transport, it is expected that adoption of unmanned road transport will happen way faster.
The ratings are led by the Netherlands, Singapore, the USA, Sweden and the UK. Russia ended up 18th being among the countries that are least prepared for the advent of unmanned transport giving way to China and landing in the same place with Brazil, Mexico and India. Our biggest weaknesses are development and condition of the road infrastructure, almost complete absence of electric cars, with practically no researches done in the field. The only parameter that put Russia among the top countries was the level of accessibility of mobile Internet connection.
TechnoSpark is sure that tech entrepreneurs are vey likely to change the face of the logistic market. Tatyana Lyubimova, Managing Director of DHL Parcel Russia, a subdivision of the company with the 500 years of history that is mainly focused on servicing online shops, confirmed the words of Denis Kovalevich about the large-scale investments into improvement of conventional logistic processes. In particular, they are now testing drones to serve as carriers of parcels to terminals.
Ozon is, on the contrary, ready to introduce new solutions as a consumer, according to the company representative Aleksey Dibrov. One of the largest online-stores of Russia is looking for tech partners with solutions that they are going to optimize based on their experience to get the tools that will give an immediate boost to the efficiency of the company.
One of the largest transport companies of Russia, Delovye Linii cargo & freight company, has to invest in such business sectors that were not primarily their main activities. “The company reached the mark of 97% of timely delivered cargoes, but it didn’t have much of an impact on economic indicators as the loading/unloading process may sometimes take hours, — says Anton Rudashevsky, Director of BIA Technologies Product Office that is a part of the Group. — It means that we have to deal not only with delivery but also with warehouse operations. Now all new warehousing facilities are based on a pre-designed digital model.”
TechnoSpark has no doubts that tech entrepreneurs have all the chances to change the market of logistics. There are limitations to development of new technologies in logistics, digitalization, or unmanned devices imposed by the government, which is another player in the logistics market pointed out by Gleb Shuklin, representative of the Expert Board affiliated to the Government of the Russian Federation and R&D Director of the Internet Research Institute. He says: “Automation and digitalization generate such an enormous flow of data that a question arises about who can own it and use it. Some of the data are personal. In relation to unmanned devices, there is an issue of safety: who shall bear responsibility in case of incidents?”
Following the results, we can say that the industry is developing within two models. “We see that large logistic companies are investing billions of dollars in optimization of their current logistic systems. At the same time, large sellers like Amazon, or Alibaba, experience the capacity limitations of the current logistic system. This gap is where opportunities arise for tech entrepreneurs. They have nothing to do with logistics, but they start producing items that break a lot of traditional patterns in the area of transportation and storage of cargoes. Tech entrepreneurs don’t adjust robots to operate in existing warehouses, they change the whole warehouse structure for robots. They are figuring out the unmanned transport. This activity poses risks to conventional markets. But I wouldn’t contrast these two lines. They are two true ways that will coexist,” – says Denis Kovalevich with confidence.