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Overhead shuttle track

Next Generation Goods-to-Person System Extends Beyond the Storage Buffer

Matt Kuper | 28 March 2016

Goods to person automation is an ever growing field that represents a revolution in the material handling industry – eliminating the costly and time-intensive process of having operators travel throughout the warehouse to pick. There are many options out there, including Perfect Pick, AutoStore, and shuttle systems to name a few, but all of these technologies are representing only half of the goods-to-person concept. Conveyor and people are still needed to take the completed orders to each process. Servus is the next evolution of goods to person, where the robots not only bring goods to people, but then take those additional steps and travel throughout the warehouse. Imagine robotic shuttles driving overhead fulfilling orders and bringing items to operators for assembly, picking, or manufacturing processes. No need for costly and difficult conveyor, as the shuttles, called Autonomous Robotic Carriers (ARCs), will handle all of the logistics in the plant. Servus is a truly revolutionary technology that is at home in any facility, including e-commerce, manufacturing, and traditional distribution centers.

Robotic carrierServus Goods-to-Person System Benefits

  • Freedom of Movement
    • Each Shuttle, or ARC, is capable of traveling at very high speeds both within racking similar to a traditional miniload ASRS as well as outside the racking to various points in the process cycle. This allows Servus to fulfill the role of both storage and transport, while eliminating the need for costly conveyor that requires maintenance.
  • Versatility
    • The Autonomous Robotic Carriers are capable of handling any type of product, from totes, to cartons, to trays, as well as the ability to handle multiple products at once. You can even mount a robotic arm to the shuttle for advanced processes. This allows the Servus system to be custom tailored to each operation. ARC’s are not confined to a standard size, they range from as small as 600mm x 600mm, and as large as 2,000mm x 2,000mm.
  • robotic picking shuttlesIntelligent
    • Unlike traditional shuttle systems, Servus can have many ARC’s on one level of storage, or no ARC’s. This means that at any given time if orders are co-located or far away from each other the ARC’s will never be a bottleneck. Multiple ARC’s can drive to a single level and retrieve the orders, while the remaining levels with no work also don’t need idle shuttles.
  • Reliability
    • The beauty of the Servus system is that there is no single point of failure. The tracks themselves are just simple aluminum rails, and if any ARC breaks down, it can be removed from the system and repaired offline. No single point of failure and multiple access points to your storage means your operations won’t suffer from a conveyor breakdown, and with Servus you can expect 98% uptime in your operations and access to your inventory.
  • Scalability
    • Just add ARC’s to increase throughput; add aisles to increase storage; add track to increase capability; all of which can be done independently. No need to add shuttles to service the new storage locations as with traditional shuttle systems.
  • Energy Efficient
    • ARCs use ultracapacitors and batteries instead of power bus rails and are very energy efficient as well as reliable. An ARC can travel 12 miles on a single charge before it needs to recharge; the recharging cycle only takes seconds and is done while the ARC is already stationary (in lifts, loading/unloading) so it makes use of opportunity time and does not impact the system performance.
  • Fast
    • Servus is a very high-speed system, with shuttles capable of traveling at speeds of 800+ feet per minute.
  • Vast Size of Products
    • Servus can handle loads as heavy as 50 kg (110 pounds) and as large as 7 feet by 7 feet. ARC’s can handle cartons, totes, or trays.
  • Space Efficiency
    • Servus is one of the densest storage solutions on the market. Boxes need only a 9mm gap between them, and systems can be as tall as 60 feet. Using Servus as a storage system will allow your operations to make the most of the vertical storage space available for all cartons.

Servus Robotic Shuttles in Action

Servus project rendering Recently, a customer in the computer industry employed Servus to handle case buffering for assembly operations as well as kitting operations. The Servus system is ideal for them, since it eliminates the need for conveyors completely. Operators depalletize cartons from a Rover pallet ASRS and the ARC’s automatically pick up the cartons and deliver them either to an operator for assembly, or to the storage buffer to be used later. When an order is sent to Servus for a kitting operation, the ARC’s retrieve all the boxes associated with the order, and delivers them to a series of stations for final assembly. This system allows them the flexibility to grow by adding additional aisles, as well as track and lifts to reach other areas of their operation in the future, while still being a great tool for the present. Learn More MODEX 2016Join us at MODEX Show 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia, April 4-7. Our engineers will be on hand to discuss your order fulfillment challenges, and you can see a fully-functional Servus system in our booth, #3779. Free show registration is available here.

Author: Matt Kuper

Matt Kuper has more than 16 years of experience in the material handling industry handling a variety of systems projects and technologies including high-speed sortation, pick modules, goods-to-person, and pallet handling systems. He joined Bastian Solutions in 2013 and has since overseen some of the company’s largest and most complex integration projects. 


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