Goods to Person
This technology is best used for split case order fulfillment. There are different types of Goods to Person technology but the principle is the same where an automated storage system delivers SKUs to a stationary pick station where the operator fills discrete orders.
G2P is best suited to higher volume operations and the application of the right type of technology for your business has to do with some of the following factors:
- Product type (small to medium cube is better)
- Order profile (lines/order, units/line)
Most G2P technologies require much less space than conventional storage and order fulfillment systems because they store product more efficiently with no personnel aisles. Conveyco has experience with each technology to know which could be a good fit for your type of business, operation, and or situation.
Overview of G2P Technologies
Pouch / Pocket Sorters
A type of unit sorter that adds storage and retrieval functionality. A batch of units is picked then placed one at a time into bags hanging from an overhead trolley. The bags are then stored in an automated buffer until enough units have been put into the system to complete order or a wave of orders. The system automatically retrieves and sorts the wave of units into discrete orders and sequences them to packing stations.
Shuttles are a form of Automatic Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) that deliver product via a Shuttle that runs on a track in between a racking structure.
How it Works:
ASRS Shuttles can operate on 1 level, or can move to multiple levels. Shuttles are battery or capacitor powered and are intelligent enough to know when to recharge. When an item is requested, the Shuttle will drive to the location of the product, and retrieve its tote/carton. It will then take the tote/carton directly to a work station or transfer it to a conveyor to convey the tote/carton to a work station.
Why Use a Shuttle:
A Shuttle can deliver product at high speeds, its configurations can be flexible and scalable. To increase throughput, add more Shuttles to the system, add more physical rack space and shuttle track when you have the need to increase inventory. Shuttles can accommodate various product sizes and can store product at very high density levels regardless of space. Shuttles also provide a built-in redundancy. If a shuttle goes down or needs repair, your system will not be at a standstill. The other shuttles can still continue to work and deliver product.
The Shuttle system capitalizes on all of the key areas in automation: Efficiency, Accuracy, Ergonomics, Flexibility, Scalability, Redundancy, and Storage Capacity. If low risk automation is what your company seeks this is the solution for you.
Mini Load ASRS
One of the most effective technologies available for case-sized storage and picking is Mini Load ASRS or Automatic Storage and Retrieval System. Your operation may require storage locations for a large amount of SKUs, but not have the floor space required for traditional carton-flow shelving to provide a pick face for all of these. Or possibly completed orders need to be buffered, and efficiently released and sequenced to a palletizer or some other value added process. A Mini Load ASRS solution may be exactly what you need. Mini Loads can even be used to automatically replenish pick locations like carton-flow.
A Mini Load ASRS utilizes a high speed, automatic crane that traverses a very narrow aisle of tall rack placing and retrieving appropriate cases or totes based on real time operational requirements. These aisles can be 20-60 feet tall with aisles 50- 250 feet long. A customer can utilize a single aisle or many depending on the storage, rate and building requirements. There are many options that can be maximized to properly suit the application based on the product characteristics, rates, storage quantities, building structure and constraints, etc. In general, Mini Load ASRS can achieve case rates of up to 100 cases per hour per aisle depending on the application.
Horizontal Carousel systems are the original Goods to Person system that has been widely in use for decades. Carousels are constructed by a series of bins are supported by moving along a track via a series of yokes. These bins contain multiple shelves to store goods.
Carousels are arranged into groups of two or more units and are referred to as Pods. A conveyor is used to create a batch of work. The goal is to have a single pick made from the carousel when it spins into position supply multiple “puts” into the orders staged along the batch active of work. This process is usually driven via a light bar which displays the location to pick from and the quantity to retrieve them which order or orders to dispense the retrieved items into.
As with any order fulfillment technology an analysis of your total SKU base should be performed to determined if carousels are right for you. It is critically important to only slot the SKUs that are the RightFit into carousels because, when designing an order selection system, rarely does one size shoe fit all. Rarely does one technology make sense for every item that needs to move through the distribution operation.