Automated Storage / Retrieval Systems (AS/RS) are a combination of cranes, storage equipment and conveyors that are controlled by software to automatically receive orders, retrieve the SKUs for the orders from their storage locations and drop them off at a designated consolication area. Additionally, these systems can automatically replenish themselves by doing the same operation in reverse. AS/RS systems are often referred to as "lights out" order picking since there is no human interface required to fill an order.
AS/RS can be used to delivery unit loads or miniloads in an automated material handling system. Unit Load AS/RS typically handle pallets or containers weighing up to 1000 pounds with storage locations as high as 100 feet. Miniload AS/RS on the other hand handle plastic or metal totes, bins or even individual cartons weighing less than 500 pounds and are normally restricted to 30 feet in height.
Depending on the configuration of the system to include variables such as product dimensions, product weights, length of the storage aisle and height of the storage aisle, an AS/RS system can reach speeds of over 250 feet per minute vertically and up to 800 feet per minute horizontally. With these storage and retrieval speeds, system throughput can become extremely fast with minimal human intervention required, which is where the system return on investment is realized.
AS/RS are typically used in the following situations:
- The requirement for order accuracy is critical
- There exists very high short term throughput requirements
- The order picking environment is harsh or would be detrimental to productivity
- The floor space dedicated to order picking is limited but the available clear height is significant
Some of the benefits used in justifying the expense of an ASRS include:
- Saving construction costs by decreasing the required footprint
- Saving recurring labor expenses associated with manual order picking and replenishment
- Increased order accuracy which reduces the expense of returns and increases customer satisfaction
- Real time inventory.
TriFactor is sought out by companies nationwide to provide material handling solutions that reduce inventory and delivery time, lower costs of manufacturing, distribution and transportation, and improve customer service. If you are looking for an Edge on your competition, discover how TriFactor can make a difference, call today at 1-800-507-4209.
For additional information on material handling system related topics, please visit the TriFactor Learning Center.