Warehouse costs are skyrocketing. Smart warehouse operators are squeezing every last dollar out of their facilities though increased density and automation technology.
Raymond West is the premiere warehouse automation supplier in San Diego County. To speak with an automation expert, give us a call today at 858-679-1800.
Up and down the West Coast, warehouse space is fetching a historic premium. Online E-com operations have greatly reduced warehouse inventory and as a result, rental contract costs throughout the region have gone through the roof year after year, especially in the Los Angeles area, Orange County and the Inland Empire.
As storage costs accelerate, it becomes increasingly important to make certain that you're using your facility space as efficiently as possible. For sensible warehouse operators, that means maximizing density and automating everything that can be mechanized.
Luckily, high performance material handling technology has evolved rapidly in recent years, allowing you the opportunity to increase your density and efficiency like never before. Automation technology is rapidly altering the fundamental principles of warehouse storage solutions.
Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) are revolutionizing the warehouse. Here are the primary concepts behind investing in AS/RS systems:
- Huge efficiency increases. AS/RS systems reduce employee costs, liberate floor space, lessen accidental inventory breakage, and increase productivity.
- Greater stocking ability. Gains in efficiency mean that enterprises have the ability to add more SKUs and increase the output of their operations for better financial performance.
- Lift truck operating cost reductions. An automated warehouse system slashes forklift travel distance and hours.
- Advanced Coordination. Automated solutions allow for multiplex buffering and sequencing alternatives that can be coordinated with shipping hours and route options.
- Quality oversight. AS/RS systems are simply more accurate and are a better choice for handling complicated functions than humans.
- Enhanced safety. Fewer humans connotes fewer safety mishaps.
- Versatility. When it comes to order aggregation, value adds, 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 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 lift modules are vertically aligned systems that maintain receptacles in a tall metal casing. In contrast to a carousel, a VLM has a retriever system that moves vertically within the column, retrieves discrete trays and hands them to the operator.
Horizontal carousels are in some ways like that rack your drycleaner uses to store and retrieve your garments. They are typically employed for small products and they are a succession of bins mounted on an elevated track. They are frequently paired with voice picking systems or pick-to-light systems.
As one would expect, vertical carousels are vertically driven, and are somewhat like a Ferris wheel with storage platforms attached to a rotating mechanism that spins on a perpendicular horizontal axis. These carousels are generally contained in a tall metal column.
Fixed Aisle AS/RS
Fixed aisle systems are generally configured as two rows of racking with a narrow aisle in between. The center of the aisle has a raised steel rail with an upright mast that moves one end to end. Fastened to the mast is a vertically maneuvering carrier fitted with a load handling device.
This upright and carrier device is known as the SRM (storage and retrieval machine) or crane. The majority of systems use a single crane per corridor, but more sophisticated systems may have multiple.
Generally speaking, there are two varieties of fixed aisle systems. Unit-load systems are designed to deal with bigger loads on pallets. Mini-load systems (sometimes called a case-handling machine or tote stacker) are lightweight implementations that can deal with cartons and smaller goods.
Talk to an expert! If you need support in assessing warehouse automation options for your Southern California material handling operation, contact a specialist at Raymond West by calling 858-679-1800.
Our technical team will work with you to assess 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 California, Nevada and Arizona. Whether you need new or used equipment, maintenance, parts, service or training, we offer a full array of material handling products and services.