Automate Your Storage and Retrieval Processes with AS/RS Technology
Whether it is time to reconfigure your operations within a warehouse or design a new warehouse, a common goal in the design team is to get the most capacity out of each square foot of the facility. Wasted space – both horizontally and vertically – means lost potential revenue because, by default, you are not able to store as much as you would with dense storage solutions.
Traditionally, facility design engineers would take standard pallet racking – a lot of it – and find ways to slot inventory appropriately to optimize storage. They would look at opportunities to reduce unused space while factoring in order frequency and a few other variables. Occasionally, dense storage options like pushback racking and carton flow get included as well. Others would fill their facility with a sprawl of shelving or a combination of all the above.
But what happens when the supply chain changes? What happens when consumer expectations change? What happens when you need to incorporate more safety stock or turn around orders faster?
When considering the design (or redesign) of a facility, there are great alternatives to increase storage capacity within your footprint by introducing a combination of dense storage and automation solutions at varying degrees with automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS).
By introducing automation, warehouses can maximize space utilization with good throughput in the face of labor challenges. Especially as e-commerce continues to rise while traditional full-pallet shipping falls, warehouses are looking to adapt by doing more work with less labor.
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Cart-Based AS/RS Solutions
There are deep-lane storage, cart-based unit-load AS/RS pallet handling solutions that can move bi-directionally to store and retrieve pallets and products automatically. These shuttles are highly reliable, easy to install, and adapted and scaled when growth calls for additional throughput needs. Cart-based systems can often provide higher throughput & better storage density than traditional crane-based AS/RS systems.
Crane-based AS/RS technology has been around for some time in warehouses. These cranes can store and retrieve pallets within a storage system that maximizes vertical storage density at high speed. These systems offer improved efficiency, simple operation, and an easy maintenance plan.
Cart-Crane Combination Solutions
Crane-based AS/RS systems that also incorporate carts provide the cost benefits of crane solutions with the added storage density that can be achieved using carts and deep-lane storage. These systems can accommodate both deeper lane storage and single or double-deep storage if there is a mix of typical on-hand quantities per SKU.
Mini-Load AS/RS Shuttles
Mini-load AS/RS shuttles are excellent in environments in which high throughput rates are required for picking eaches or cases within a distribution center. They significantly increase the storage density, accuracy, and speed with which products are stored and picked, and adapted to different building configurations. As a solution for getting products as quickly as possible from storage to staging, these systems can also serve as a short-term buffer system or act as manufacturing support for production operations.