5 Benefits Using Vertical Lift Modules for Order Selection
One of the most common Goods-To-Person technologies, Vertical Lift Modules (VLM’s) have been around for decades. During the early years they were used primarily for slower-moving products with limited weight capacity and size configurations, but they were good for utilizing the vertical height that was lost with using conventional storage methods such as shelving and racking.
What is a Vertical Lift Module?
A Vertical Lift Module (VLM) is a vertical automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) consisting of trays in the front and back with an inserter/extractor system that runs down the center. Trays are automatically retrieved and delivered to a pick window for picking. The system’s modular design and construction now come with a wide range of storage tray configurations such as width, depth, and weight capacities.
Throughout the years, the Vertical Lift Module (VLM) has become an effective order selection device for many warehouse managers. Applications exist for VLMs across all vertical markets and industries. Today VLMs come in multiple configurations which offer a variety of storage tray width, depth, and weight capacities.
VLMs can be used as stand-alone systems, to pods of multiple VLMs working together. To extract inventory, VLMs can utilize operators, conveyors, robotic arms, and Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) to their destination.
VLM pod or workcell can utilize integrated pick-to-light, voice, RFID for higher levels of productivity and accuracy. The pod can integrate pick-to-light flow rack, shelving, AMRs, and AS/RS technologies to create a universal pod. This allows one operator to stay in the workcell and pick round robin to complete their orders.
With integrated controls, these systems are able to scan and optimize each tray, making sure each tray is placed in the most optimized and space saving location within the unit. Likewise, a myriad of software options are available to meet specific applications requirements. From inventory management, lot control, batch picking, and sortation to full WES and WMS integration, the VLM meets todays and tomorrow’s growing needs.
These key features clearly categorize VLM technology as one of the most viable storage solutions to consider for your own operation. A simple site survey can help you get the system which is the “RightFIT” for your requirements.
What are the benefits of VLMs?
In addition to optimizing space and productivity, VLMs offer several other benefits, such as increased accessibility, improved organization, improved safety, and less time spent searching for products or components. For businesses with ever-changing inventories, these modules offer the ability to easily adjust their storage system as needed. Furthermore, their automated process decreases the chances of employee injury by allowing personnel to focus on more important tasks instead of manually stocking shelves or pulling items off shelves. There are also more specific benefits to consider that will single handedly optimize an operation’s efficiency such as:
Recapture Wasted Floor Space
Vertical Lift Modules live up to their name as their dynamic storage capabilities make it possible for operations to recapture wasted floor space. This is possible because VLMs are able to use every inch of vertical space available to store items that would otherwise be in the way.
Faster Pick Rates
Another benefit of VLM technology is that it increases overall pick rates when compared to manual picking from shelving. This improvement can be attributed to their ability to have a throughput from 75 to 225 lines per hour per machine, 550 lines per hour for a pod of 2-3 units all based on slotting, order profiles, SKU commonality, and unit height.
VLMs are able to secure storage with user level access to protect valuable products. They are designed to automatically find the right locations for the height of the inventory you are storing, constantly optimizing storage space.
Enhanced Safety Features
Vertical Lift Modules bring safety to your organization, as they are built with key features like light curtains and shutter doors.These features make them much safer than conventional racks. Safer storage solutions reduce employee injuries, ensuring a safer work environment.
Ergonomic Pick Height
There is a dynamic nature to the shelving height of a VLM, which can vary from part to part. Vertical Lift Modules can accommodate any size part/piece unlike conventional racking, which typically consists of one shelf height throughout the entire structure.
VLMs provide space, labor, and efficiency benefits to aid organizations in a wide range of applications, such as:
- Spare parts storage (for OEMs or in house MRO))
- Kitting for parts assemblies in manufacturing
- Order fulfillment applications for slow and medium movers
- Die storage
- Many. Many. More applications.