12 Mar What You Need to Know About Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems | McMurray Stern
What You Need to Know About Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems
Automated storage and retrieval systems, sometimes called ASRS or AS/RS, are a kind of computer-controlled technology used in warehouses to automatically bring goods into and out of storage. Many companies rely on automatic storage retrieval systems because they are safe and make almost no errors.
Automatic storage and retrieval systems first originated in the 1960s and were mainly used for heavy pallet loads. With the evolution and refinement of technology, the handled loads have become smaller. Retrieval of items is accomplished by specifying the item type and quantity to be retrieved. The computer determines where in the storage area the item can be retrieved from and schedules the retrieval.
In a typical warehouse, automatic storage systems handle a variety of load types including pallet loads and individual cases or totes. Automatic storage systems help you better control your inventory, keep higher stock within limited space and prevent accidents. The safety and efficiency of the technology is typically achieved by pairing it with warehouse execution software that manages the process and helps warehouse personnel fill orders.
There are two main categories of automatic storage and retrieval systems and the best choice for your warehouse depends on the size of the loads that need to be retrieved.
Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs)
This type of automatic storage and retrieval systems is the ideal storage solution for industrial products, components and spare parts for all possible environments and industries. Many companies choose vertical lifts to help organize and improve workflow. VLMs can be built tall to match the available overhead space in a facility. Variants include width, height, load, speed and a control system.
Vertical Carousel Shelving System
Vertical carousel shelving systems consist of shelves that rotate up or down via the shortest path, delivering items to an ergonomically positioned pick window. The shelves rotate to bring requested parts to the operator and eliminate searching, bending, and climbing for parts.
This automatic storage technology resembles a ferris wheel in dynamics as the individual shelving modules are kept horizontal on their path around the vertical track.The vertical design maximizes the use of overhead space and can recover up to 75% of the floor space required for traditional shelving systems.
Vertical carousel shelving systems are available in a wide range of heights, depths and widths to meet virtually any storage and retrieval requirement. They are compatible with an entire suite of software and controls to meet standard and unique applications.
Horizontal Carousel Shelving System
Carousel picking systems are at the heart of advanced order fulfillment applications, benefiting a broad spectrum of world-class clients. The horizontally rotating shelves move at the operators command and deliver items.
The right combination of horizontal carousel equipment, software and support provides significant savings in labor, time, space & materials thus increasing productivity. This type of automatic storage and retrieval system eliminates wasted walk and search time by bringing material to the operator, allowing one employee to do the same work as multiple employees.
Horizontal Lift Storage System
This automatic storage and retrieval system acts much like a traditional vertical storage system, but it has the ability to horizontally transfer trays between modules for a longer machine instead of only storing items vertically. This is the ideal solution for high value items in low ceiling applications.
Horizontal lift storage systems are suitable for industrial environments, warehouses with public outlets and all those areas used as offices or shops.
Benefits of Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems
Adding an automated storage and retrieval system to a warehouse will boost efficiency, save money and increase productivity. By automating product retrieval, replenishing and other labor-intensive and repetitive tasks, labor hours can be reallocated to other important areas of business operation– employees can be more smartly allocated to higher-value tasks.
Traditional storage systems also create fatigue and reduce productivity because users are required to bend, stoop, reach, push and pull to store and retrieve items. Automated storage systems minimize the user’s physical effort regardless of the user’s body size, posture or mobility.
As far as operation goes, automatic storage and retrieval systems provide a high return-on-investment because they help control inventory and allow for a higher of volume of stock to be kept in a smaller amount of space. Automated storage and retrieval systems require little maintenance and are more reliable than manual systems.
The pros of an automatic storage system include increased picking accuracy, theft protection, real-time inventory control, structural durability and more.