AutoStore is a robotic, cube-based goods-to-person warehouse solution that allows increased storage and picking capacity without having to increase the amount of space being used. Now the fastest-growing robotic warehouse system on the market, AutoStore is introducing a new product. AutoStore Black Line provides even more capacity and speed than their original Red Line, expanding the number of potential customers and applications.
The release of the new AutoStore Black Line has gotten a lot of attention and raised even more questions. Let’s quickly go through some of the initial questions about this exciting new product line.
What is the new AutoStore Black Line?
AutoStore Black Line is a new group of modules developed to augment the company’s existing Red Line system. The Black Line consists of the following new components. The B1 robot has faster acceleration and top speeds along with a smaller footprint. These improvements come from fewer moving parts, brushless direct-drive motors in each wheel, and a new internal cavity to hold the storage bin. These changes enable the robots to deliver bins faster and more efficiently. The robot also has an all new exchangeable lithium ion battery, reducing the time a robot spends at the charger to a few seconds, allowing each robot to now operate 24/7. A modified “double-double” grid, with double tracks in both directions, permits the robots to pass side-by-side in both the x and y directions. Combined with the robot’s smaller footprint, the new grid can accept more robots and operate efficiently in high density configurations . The B1 robot is also compatible with AutoStore’s original “single-double” grid but will lack the enhanced functionality provided by the new grid system.
A taller, 425mm (16.7 in) bin height is now available in addition to existing 330mm and 220mm Red Line options. The taller bin accommodates larger products and provides more efficient stacking options for longer items. The 425mm bin can also improve the replenishment operation for bulky products, increasing the units-per-bin and reducing the number of bins needed for each replenishment case. A new operator workstation, called the RelayPort is configurable to allow between 3 and 6 robots to engage simultaneously to improve the top rates. Bin accumulation positions in the port permit a steadier flow to the operator, and a reduced bin transfer time of only 2 seconds minimizes operator idle time.
Why was the new Black Line developed?
The AutoStore Black Line was developed with the markets that require higher throughput speeds in mind. Looking to improve on the existing Red Line, AutoStore decided to develop a second system to provide an efficient solution for the highest throughput applications. The new Black Line is built on the same proven technology platform as the Red Line, so the current AutoStore strengths of high density, simplicity, reliability, and flexibility are maintained. Secondary goals of the new Black Line development are to improve speed, 24/7 operational capabilities, and to provide a taller bin option for larger products.
With the introduction of the AutoStore Black Line, will the existing Red Line products be obsolete and phased out?
No. The AutoStore Red Line products are extremely effective in most of goods-to-person applications and will remain the primary product offering from AutoStore. The Black Line technology is designed to provide a solution to those markets requiring higher throughput rates than the Red Line, making the system ROI more cost effective. In fact, Black Line modules are developed to work with Red Line modules, allowing for systems that are more scalable and adaptable to meet future growth requirements. Customers can start with a Red Line design today and upgrade to Black Line later. The compatibility chart below summarizes how the Red and Black Line products can work together.
What type of rate improvements are expected with AutoStore Black Line versus the Red Line?
The existing Red Line modules have been a very successful solution for customers with throughput requirements of up to 350 bins per hour per port. For Black Line, the new B1 robot, in combination with the new RelayPort can achieve up to 650 bins per hour per port - almost doubling today's maximum throughput level. The compatibility of Red Line and Black Line components allows customers to smartly select the most cost-effective combination for today with the comfort of knowing they are not limited in the future.
With so many options, how do I know if and which Black Line modules are right for my operation?
Such a configurable and compatible system can seem to make the decision more difficult, but there are some guidelines to help us in the selection. The flow chart below summarizes the decision path for the various module combinations. Plus, as is the case with all AutoStore solutions, the final design can be exercised and validated with a proven simulation tool to ensure it will meet your requirements. The AutoStore system has proven itself as one the best robotic goods-to-person systems available. Now with the increased speed, capacity, and efficiency of the AutoStore Black Line, it can help even more customers optimize their ecommerce and omnichannel operations. Still have a question we haven't answered? Please leave it in the comments. If you’re interested in finding out which AutoStore solution is right for your operation, contact us.
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