Across the West, warehouse space is priced at an all-time premium. Online ecommerce operations have put tremendous pressure on inventory and as a result, rental contract costs in many areas have increased substantially year after year.
As storage costs surge, it becomes increasingly important to make sure that you’re employing warehouse space in the most efficient manner possible. For smart warehouse managers, that means maximizing density and automating processes wherever possible.
Fortunately, high performance material handling technology has evolved rapidly over the last several years, giving you the tools you need to increase your density and efficiency like never before. Automation technology is rapidly changing the elemental concepts of warehouse storage solutions.
Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) are revolutionizing the warehouse. Here are the primary concepts behind adding AS/RS systems:
- Massive increases in efficiency. AS/RS systems cut employee costs, save floor space, lessen unintended inventory breakage, and increase throughput.
- Greater stocking ability. Efficiency gains mean that operations have the ability to increase the number of SKUs and increase the volume of existing operations for even greater profitability.
- Lift truck operating cost reductions. An automated warehouse system cuts forklift travel distance and hours.
- Enhanced Coordination. Automated solutions enable complex sequencing and buffering possibilities that can be coordinated with freight times and lane options.
- Quality assurance. AS/RS systems are simply more accurate and are better at handling complicated functions than human resources.
- Improved safety. Fewer humans equates to fewer safety incidents.
- Adaptability. When it comes to order aggregation, assembly/enrichment, storage, put-away and replenishment, AS/RS systems are increasingly flexible solutions that can automate almost any warehouse process.
Automated Storage and Retrieval System
So what exactly is AS/RS? There are several types of technologies that are classified as AS/RS systems, including the following:
- Vertical lift modules
- Horizontal carousels
- Vertical carousels
- Fixed aisle systems
Vertical Lift Modules
Similar to a vertical carousel, vertical lift modules are vertically aligned systems that hold receptacles in a tall metal casing. However, a VLM has a retriever mechanism that travels up and down in the center of the module, retrieves specific bins and presents them directly to the user.
Horizontal carousels are kind of like that rack your drycleaner uses to locate and access your clothing items. These carousels are typically employed for smaller sized products and they are an array of receptacles attached to an elevated track. They are frequently integrated with voice picking systems or pick-to-light systems.
Vertical carousels are vertically driven, and are somewhat like a Ferris wheel with storage platforms fastened to a rotating mechanism that travels in an up and down motion. These carousels are generally contained in a tall metal casing.
Fixed Aisle AS/RS
Fixed aisle systems are typically designed with two columns of racking with a narrow channel separating the two. The center of the aisle has a raised steel track with an upright mast that travels along it. Connected to the upright is a vertically moving carriage outfitted with a load handling apparatus.
This upright and carrier device is referred to as the crane or SRM. Most systems use a single SRM per aisle, but more advanced systems may have several.
Categorically, there are a couple of types of fixed aisle systems. Unit-load systems are designed to manage bigger loads on pallets. Mini-load systems (oftentimes known as a case-handling machine or tote stacker) are smaller installations that can deal with cartons and smaller goods.
Warehouse Automation Systems Near Me
Talk to an expert! If you’d like assistance in assessing warehouse automation options for your material handling operation, contact a technical expert at Welch Equipment.
Our design team will work with you to assess on-site equipment design for your warehouse or distribution center. We will help you build a business case including process, conditions, training, future needs, and combined cost.
We provide service and support from our locations throughout the West. Whether you need new or used equipment, maintenance, parts, service or training, we supply a full selection of material handling services and products.
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
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