Across the Rocky Mountain region, warehouse space is fetching a record setting premium. Online E-com operations have put tremendous pressure on inventory and as a result, rental costs throughout the region have spiked in recent years.
As storage costs accelerate, it’s imperative to make certain that you’re using your facility space as efficiently as possible. For savvy warehouse operations, that means increasing density and automating as much as possible.
Luckily, high performance material handling technology has improved substantially in recent years, giving you the ability to increase your density and efficiency by extraordinary margins. Storage tech is quickly altering the fundamental principles of warehouse storage solutions.
Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) are revolutionizing the warehouse. Here are the top reasons for implementing AS/RS systems:
- Monumental leaps in efficiency. AS/RS systems cut labor costs, liberate floor space, diminish inadvertent inventory destruction, and increase productivity.
- Greater stocking ability. Efficiency gains mean that organizations have the ability to increase the number of SKUs and increase the throughput of their operations for better financial performance.
- Lift truck cost savings. An automated warehouse system reduces lift truck hours and distance traveled.
- Advanced Coordination. Automated solutions provide intricate buffering and sequencing options that can be integrated with freight times and lane options.
- Quality oversight. AS/RS systems are simply more accurate and are a better choice for handling complex functions than human resources.
- Increased safety. Fewer humans means fewer safety incidents.
- Versatility. When it comes to order aggregation, assembly/enrichment, storage, replenishment and put-away, AS/RS systems are increasingly flexible solutions that can automate almost any warehouse process.
Automated Storage and Retrieval System
What is AS/RS? There are many different technologies that are categorized as AS/RS systems, including the following:
- Vertical lift modules
- Horizontal carousels
- Vertical carousels
- Fixed aisle systems
Vertical Lift Modules
Akin to a vertical carousel, vertical lifts are vertically oriented systems that hold receptacles in an upright metal column. However, a VLM has an extractor system that advances up and down in the center of the column, retrieves specific trays and presents them directly to the user.
Horizontal carousels are in some ways like that rack your drycleaner uses to locate and access your clothing items. They are typically employed for small products and they are a succession of bins attached to a rasied track. Quite often they will be coupled with pick-to-light systems or voice picking systems.
Vertical carousels are vertically aligned, and are reminiscent of a Ferris wheel with trays mounted to a circular drive system that travels in an up and down motion. Vertical carousels are generally housed in an upright metal column.
Fixed Aisle AS/RS
Fixed aisle systems are generally configured as two rows of racking with a narrow corridor separating the two. The center of the aisle has a raised metal track with a vertical mast that runs its length. Connected to the mast is a vertically traveling carrier equipped with a load handling mechanism.
This mast and carrier device is referred to as the SRM (storage and retrieval machine) or crane. The majority of systems use one SRM per corridor, but more specialized systems may have multiple.
In general, there are a couple of varieties of fixed aisle systems. Unit-load systems are designed to manage bigger loads on pallets. Mini-load systems (oftentimes called a case-handling system or tote stacker) are lightweight systems that can manage cartons and smaller items.
Talk to an expert! If you’d like advice in evaluating warehouse automation options for your Utah material handling operation, contact a technical expert at Welch Equipment Company by calling (801) 972-9272.
Our technical team will work with you to evaluate on-site equipment design for your warehouse or distribution center. We’ll help you formulate a business case including process, conditions, training, future needs, and overall cost.
We provide service and support from our locations throughout the Rocky Mountain West. Whether you need new or used equipment, maintenance, parts, service or training, we offer a complete array of material handling services and products.
Welch Equipment Company
2181 South 3200 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84119
Serving Alta, Bluffdale, Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Grantsville, Herriman, Holladay, Midvale, Millcreek, Murray, Ophir, Riverton, Rush Valley, Salt Lake City, Sandy, South Jordan, South Salt Lake, Stockton, Taylorsville, Tooele, Vernon, Wendover, West Jordan, West Valley City