Throughout the Rocky Mountain West, warehouse space is at a premium. Online E-com operations have put tremendous pressure on available warehouse space and as a result, rental costs throughout the region have skyrocketed in recent years.
As warehouse costs continue to rise, it’s imperative that you maximize the use of your warehouse space in the most efficient way possible. For savvy warehouse operators, that means squeezing more products into your existing building footprint and automating as much as possible.
Fortunately, high performance material handling technology has advanced quickly over the last several years, allowing you the opportunity to increase your density and efficiency like never before. Automation technology is swiftly changing the face of warehouse storage solutions.
Automated Warehouse Systems
Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) are a real game changer in the warehouse. Here are some of the main reasons you may consider for implementing an AS/RS system:
- Greater Warehouse Capacity. Massive efficiency gains mean that warehouse operators have the ability to increase the number of stock items and bump up the volume of their operations for even greater profitability.
- Enormous efficiency increases. AS/RS systems slash labor costs, reclaim floor space, reduce inadvertent inventory damage and boost total output.
- Advanced Coordination. Automated solutions offer nearly limitless buffering and sequencing alternatives that can be coordinated with shipping times and route options, saving you money.
- Lift truck cost savings. Automated warehouse systems can greatly reduce lift truck quantities, travel distance and hours.
- Quality assurance. AS/RS systems operate with unrelenting precision and are a better choice for handling complicated tasks than human workers.
- When it comes to order aggregation, assembly/enrichment, storage, put-away and replenishment, AS/RS systems are very flexible solutions that can automate almost any warehouse process.
- Fewer safety incidents. Machines cause far fewer accidents than humans.
Automated Storage and Retrieval System
What is AS/RS? There are several types of technologies that are categorized as AS/RS systems, including the following:
- Vertical carousels
- Horizontal carousels
- Vertical lift modules
- Fixed aisle systems
As one would expect, vertical carousels are vertically driven storage systems. In concept, they are similar to a Ferris wheel with storage platforms attached to a rotating mechanism that travels in an up and down motion. These carousels are typically concealed in an upright metal column.
Horizontal carousels are kind of like that rotating rack your drycleaner uses to fetch your garments. They are generally employed for less bulky products and they are a series of trays attached to an upper rail. Many times they are integrated with pick-to-light systems or voice picking systems.
Vertical Lift Modules
Like a vertical carousel, vertical lifts are vertically positioned systems that hold trays in an upright metal column. However, a VLM has an extractor unit that moves upward and downward inside the module, retrieves specific bins and delivers them to the operator.
Fixed Aisle AS/RS
Fixed aisle systems are typically designed with two columns of racking with a narrow corridor in between. In the center of the aisle is an elevated steel rail with a tall mast that travels along it. Connected to the upright is a vertically traveling carrier outfitted with a load handling device.
This upright and carriage is known as as the SRM (storage and retrieval machine) or crane. Almost all systems use a single SRM per corridor, but more advanced systems may have multiple.
In general, there are a couple of classifications of fixed aisle systems. Unit-load systems are designed to manage bigger loads on pallets. Mini-load systems (oftentimes referred to as a case-handling system or tote stacker) are lightweight implementations that can manage cartons and smaller items.
Warehouse Automation Solutions Near Me
If you’d like to discuss warehouse automation options for your Mountain West material handling operation, contact an automation expert at Welch Equipment Company by calling.
Our engineering team will work with you to assess on-site equipment design for your warehouse or distribution center. We can help you develop a business case including conditions, process, future requirements, training and overall cost.
Welch Equipment Company
5025 Nome St
Denver, CO 80239
Serving Arvada, Aurora, Boulder, Brighton, Broomfield, Castle Rock, Centennial, Columbine , Commerce City, Denver, Englewood, Federal Heights, Golden, Greenwood Village, Highlands Ranch, Lafayette, Lakewood, Littleton, Longmont, Louisville, Northglenn, Parker, Superior, Thornton, Westminster, Wheat Ridge