Space Matters: How Wireless Charging Improves Warehouse Real Estate Utilization

Resonant Link
December 20, 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of modern warehousing, the maximization of space has become a pivotal factor in operational efficiency. Insufficient space is the number one issue cited by logistics leaders in Peerless Research Group’s 2023 Warehouse/DC Operations Survey, followed by Finding and Retaining Workers, Outdated Storage, Picking and Material Handling Equipment, Inadequate Information Systems Capabilities, and Obsolete DC Layouts.

Source: Peerless Research Group’s 2023 Warehouse/DC Operations Survey

Furthermore, warehouses are expensive. For the seven years that InsightQuote has been compiling warehousing and fulfillment data, the cost per square foot of warehouse space has steadily increased, now up to a record high of $8.22. The number of warehouses in the U.S. also keeps growing, despite the high costs of new facilities from increased labor and material costs. With warehouse space at a premium, even businesses that are opening new facilities have to optimize what they already have. 

There are a variety of ways businesses are approaching the problem of real estate utilization, from growing upward to making incremental improvements to improve layouts, for example, replacing old equipment that wears out with more efficient equipment that also takes up less space. One groundbreaking technology that is revolutionizing warehouse dynamics and freeing up much-needed space is wireless charging. By eliminating the need for dedicated charging areas, battery swapping or exchange rooms, and the dedicated refueling stations that hydrogen fuel cells require, wireless charging not only enhances operational flexibility but also significantly improves warehouse real estate utilization.

Breaking Free from Conventional Constraints

Traditionally, warehouses have grappled with the challenge of efficiently managing the space required for charging their vehicles. These dedicated spaces not only consume valuable square footage but also impose restrictions on warehouse layouts and operations, forcing longer and inefficient vehicle routes and reducing the efficiency of material handling workflows. Enter wireless charging – a game-changer that liberates warehouses from these constraints.

Wireless charging systems can be seamlessly integrated throughout facilities, offering a more dynamic and flexible approach to power distribution.

This integration means that charging points can be strategically placed wherever needed, allowing for a more fluid warehouse layout and the elimination of the traditional limitations imposed by stationary charging infrastructure.

Unleashing True Autonomy for Vehicles and Equipment

One of the most significant advantages of wireless charging is its role in facilitating true autonomy for warehouse vehicles and equipment. As forklifts and reach trucks become increasingly autonomous, the only way to make them truly autonomous is to implement automated charging, such as Resonant Link’s 19.2 kW, 400 A wireless lift truck charger. This shift towards autonomy unlocks a myriad of possibilities for warehouse design and functionality, beyond yielding significant time and cost savings.

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Redefining Warehouse Layouts for Maximum Efficiency

With automated wireless charging enabling truly autonomous vehicles, warehouses can now transition to more efficient and modern layouts. Taller buildings equipped with high bay autonomous forklifts and automated reach trucks become a feasible and attractive option. This evolution in design allows warehouses to capitalize on vertical space, increasing storage capacity in dense environments.

Warehouses located near population centers, where real estate is at a premium, stand to benefit significantly from the shift to automated charging.

The ability to maximize vertical space not only increases storage capacity, but also allows for a more sustainable use of valuable land, meeting the growing demand for e-commerce fulfillment centers in urban areas.

An equally important benefit of locating warehouses closer to where goods are needed is a drastic reduction in emissions, as inventory is managed closer to its final destination. Industrial facilities account for approximately 36% of global energy consumption and 75% of US consumers are concerned about the environmental impact of products they buy. What’s more, this October California passed Senate Bill (SB) 253 requiring large businesses to report their scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. This means all emissions, including upstream emissions like those created during materials production and sourcing and downstream emissions like those produced during transportation and last mile delivery will be under more scrutiny. As businesses face increasing regulatory and consumer pressure to cut emissions, implementing automated charging is an easy way to enable more efficient and modern distribution center layouts that are good for business and the environment.

Enhancing Operational Capacity in Dense Spaces

The integration of wireless charging technology, coupled with autonomous vehicles, empowers warehouses to overcome spatial challenges. In densely populated areas where every square foot matters, this innovation becomes a key driver for operational efficiency. The capability to stack goods higher and use autonomous systems to navigate these vertical spaces contributes to an overall increase in warehouse capacity.

Conclusion: A New Era in Warehouse Optimization

In the relentless pursuit of warehouse efficiency, wireless charging has emerged as a transformative force for warehouse operators. By eliminating the need for dedicated refueling spaces and enabling true autonomy for vehicles and equipment, warehouses can embrace modern, space-maximizing designs. As we usher in a new era of warehouse optimization, the integration of wireless charging technology stands as a testament to the logistics industry's commitment to pushing boundaries and redefining what is possible. In this space-conscious world, where every inch matters, wireless charging is proving to be a critical element to reshaping the future of warehousing. If you’re ready to automate your charging, reach out to discuss what’s possible for your facility today.

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