Unit Load AS/RS | Automated Storage & Retrieval System

Automated Storage for Pallets & Large Loads with Stacker Crane AS/RS Systems

Unit Load AS/RS crane systems provide efficient, reliable, and cost-effective transport of pallets and other large loads in and out of high-density storage. Sturdy yet light-weight stacker cranes ensure the fastest speeds possible while maintaining stability and quiet operation. Modular construction makes these customizable systems fast and easy to assemble in any facility, including existing buildings, without the need for costly or time-consuming modifications. With dependable 24/7 operation and the ability to work in temperatures down to -22°F (-30°C), unit load AS/RS systems are the best way to upgrade and automate your distribution, manufacturing and warehouse storage systems.

With so many options for automated storage systems, finding the ideal solution can be a challenge. Bastian Solutions experts have extensive knowledge and hands-on integration experience with a variety of solutions and manufacturers to help you find the best solution for your facility.

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How They Work

bastian solutions unit load ASRS

Unit load automated storage and retrieval systems generally consist of rack structure, stacker cranes (also called cranes, storage and retrieval machines or SRMs), software that controls the system (like WCS), and a conveyor or AGV interface that transports loads to and from the ASRS. The most common unit load ASRS has narrow, fixed-width aisles.

These systems are designed to automatically transport pallets or other large loads in and out of storage locations. The crane travels between storage racks, up and down the aisle, and a load-handling device or carriage travels up and down the crane’s tall mast to reach the correct shelf height.

Once at the specified storage location, the load handling device on the crane uses a mechanism to either pick up or deposit the load, depending on the task being completed. For deep lane storage, shuttles can be used in conjunction with cranes to travel into the storage aisle to pick up or deposit loads for even denser multi-deep pallet storage. The crane then returns to the end of the aisle, where the load is deposited for further processing or a new load is picked up.

AS/RS Configurations:

  • Single-deep – One pallet or load is stored in each storage position in the racking.
  • Double-deep – Two loads or pallets are stored in each storage position in the racking, one behind the other to increase storage density.
  • Deep lane or Multi-deep – Three or more pallets or loads are stored in each storage location for maximum storage density. Shuttle cars are used to transport loads in the storage lane, bringing them to either the stacker crane or a lift/lowering device.  
  • Dual crane – Two cranes operate simultaneously in the same aisle, maximizing throughput.
  • Fixed-aisle – Cranes are fixed to a single aisle. They can travel up and down that aisle but cannot move to a different aisle.
  • Movable-aisle – Cranes can move between aisles.

 Features & Benefits

  • High density storage – Vertical storage, narrow aisles and deep lane configurations minimize empty space.
  • Real-time inventory control – Accurate inventory data with instant reports.
  • Safe, secure product storage – Reduce product damage, misplaced inventory and inventory loss.
  • Energy efficient – Designed to minimize power consumption and operate in lights-out environments.
  • Easy maintenance – Designed with modular construction and built-in diagnostics to simplify installation and maintenance.
  • Easy operation – User-friendly design gets new operators trained and working faster.
  • Unique applications – Challenging loads such as long or bulky materials, freezer and hazardous material applications & low noise environments can be accommodated.
  • Workforce productivity – Increase the efficiency of your team by automating dangerous and repetitive storage tasks to free up labor for more valuable and engaging activities.
  • Safe & Ergonomic – Reduce exposure to hazardous activities, materials, and environments like cold storage


Would your operations benefit from automated inventory management? Similar to other automation solutions, AS/RS can increase visibility, provide data and deliver control of inventory by levels and locations.

How much labor is currently used? The more labor used for inventory management, receiving, put away, and retrieving items from storage means a faster ROI for AS/RS. That labor can then be used for more valuable activities. 

Does your facility have unused vertical space? The increased capacity of an AS/RS may help delay the need for a larger facility, saving relocation or expansion costs. 

Would increased storage capacity extend the lifespan of your current facility? An AS/RS may help mitigate incurring facility relocation or expansion costs.

How will product be delivered to and removed from the AS/RS? Consider the pros and cons of manual processes compared to automated pallet handling systems like conveyor, AGVs, AMRs, or shuttle cars. 

Does your product require a mandatory holding period to confirm product safety? Secure storage options can help protect your product and coupled with inventory control, track product with instant reports.

Does your product require storage conditions that are hazardous to humans? Operations that require refrigerated or frozen storage environments are great candidates for AS/RS. 



  • Storage for larger loads like pallets, gaylords, bulk containers
  • Buffer storage for raw material storage and WIP (work in progress) inventory
  • Storing finished goods for distribution and order sequencing
  • Harsh environments like coolers or freezers

Technologies & Specs

As a brand-agnostic integrator, we work with a variety of different unit load AS/RS manufacturers including Swisslog, Daifuku, DAMBACH, MIAS, Murata and more.

  • Store pallets and loads weighing ~400 to 7,000 lbs. (181 to 3175 kg) and up
  • Reach heights of over 120 ft (37 m)
  • Cold storage compatible down to -22°F (-30°C)

See More Solutions


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9 Questions to Find the Right AS/RS

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