As I was recently working on an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) project, I had the opportunity to reflect on how much the technology has changed in just the past few years. One of the more valuable references I was using--from the Material Handling Institute of America--divided the ASRS technology into two main families: fixed aisle and carousel/vertical lift module (VLM). However, some of the new advances in ASRS have a hard time fitting into either of these categories. Likewise, others that might still fit are so different from their predecessors that it might be a good idea to create some new categories. But regardless of what family group a new system falls into, below are a few great examples of some of the latest ASRS technologies that I find interesting and unique:
Autostore from Swisslog is a unique solution, which I first saw at last year's NA2010 tradeshow. It uses mobile storage and retrieval vehicles that run in parallel across a grid at the top of a network of stacked totes. These vehicles pick up the various stacked totes and deliver them to stations located along the outside of the system. Overall, it is a very customizable solution that easily fits into existing buildings.
Telescopic Satellite® (T-Sat):
The use of satellite technologies on board an ASRS has become much more prominent. One of the more interesting applications is the T-Sat from Westfalia. Unlike most satellite -based ASR Systems which thrive on deep lane storage of the same storage keeping unit (SKU), the T-Sat is useful in high SKU count/low velocity applications. The satellite portion of this system travels down aisles perpendicular to the main ASRS crane aisle to deposit the load in adjacent storage racks, thereby maintaining full selectivity to each pallet.
And last but not least is the InnoPickTM from DRL Systems, an interesting newcomer that's blurring the lines defining ASRS categories. This technology is a combination of automated storage and retrieval system and automated dispensing system. The ability to store relatively short lanes of products with a fixed aisle crane and deliver them to dispensing lanes provides a highly dynamic dispensing system that traditionally was limited to only the highest movers. No matter what kind of inventory challenge you need to solve, there is more than likely an Automated Storage and Retrieval System that will work for you, so don't feel limited by the traditional categories. There is a whole new world of solutions available and surely more to come. If you'd like more information about ASRS or need help deciding if it's the right choice for you, please feel free to Contact Us. Or, check out our latest whitepaper: 9 Steps to Determining if an ASRS is Right for You
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