Mini-Load AS/RS technology is a storage retrieval machine (SRM) or crane designed for smaller (or mini) load handling (i.e. cases, totes, tray, etc.) that typically weigh less than 350 lbs.
The Mini-Load AS/RS crane will automatically store and retrieve product from an engineered rack system that can range in height up to approximately 75 feet. The throughput capabilities of any Mini-Load AS/RS system on a per aisle basis (or per SRM) are subject to many variables, however a good rule of thumb for a Mini-Load systems handling product on the lower weight range (less than 100 lbs) can be estimated at 100 dual cycles/hr (one store and one retrieval is dual cycle).
A Mini-Load AS/RS system is sized by knowing the number of storage location required (i.e. how many totes or cases in the system) and the overall throughput (rate) need to be stored and retrieved. This rate calculation (estimated above) can often be used to quickly determine the number of aisles (or SRMs) based on the number of transactions needed.
When considering a Mini-Load system (or any AS/RS technology) the automated system will always include a means for delivering and removing product from the Mini-Load system. These “front-end subsystems” can be a more manual design using P&D (pick & drop) stations or a fully automated case/tote handling systems (i.e. conveyors, shuttle cars, electrified vehicles, AMR, AGV, etc.)
Systems designs can also vary be using dual extractors on a single SRM to increase overall system throughput. Additionally, in some application where storage is more critical than throughput a double-deep storage strategy can be applied where each location in the rack system can store two cases/totes.
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Why a Mini-Load AS/RS Makes Sense for your Operation
When should you consider a Mini-Load AS/RS? If you are experiencing floor space challenges, product security and tracking problems, limited accessibility to reliable labor, and just need to improve your overall operation efficiency then a Mini-Load AS/RS should be considered to address some or all of these issues.
This machine-based handling technology has inherent features that include:
- Inventory is secure and inaccessible to unauthorized associates
- Reliable and consistent machine performance
- Gentle handling of product
- Smaller storage footprint by maximizing the vertical space
- Can be applied in harsh/non-ambient environments (cooler, freezer, dry, heat, humidity, etc.)
Mini-Load AS/RS is a technology that can offer many operational, security, and productivity benefit that other technologies can’t offer, including:
- Save up to 85% of underutilized overhead space
- Can replace forklift (drivers, traffic and machines) and other material handling equipment
- Inventory control- FIFO, LIFO, JIT, etc.
- Labor reduction by up to 2/3
- Improved inventory control
- Simple cycle counting using the technology to audit
- Improves picking accuracy to 99.9%
Mini-Load AS/RS can be applied in manufacturing and distribution environments to address a myriad of applications, including:
- Manufacturing – WIP buffer system with lot control and JIT delivery
- Distribution – Order sequencing outbound totes for reverse stop delivery
- Reduce handling for the slow-moving items. Slow moving inventory received into the AS/RS and never touched again until it becomes an order
- Residual case or tote – partially consumed product can be automatically recirculated back the Mini-Load AS/RS system for storage
|Load Weight Capacity||30 to 300 kg (66 to 662 lbs)|
|Rack Height||3 to 26 m (10 to 66 ft)|
|Horizontal Speed||100 to 300 m/min. (328 to 984 ft/min)|
|Vertical Speed||40 to 160 m/min. (131 to 525 ft/min)|
|Shuttle Speed||20 to 100 m/min. (66 to 328 ft/min)|
|Load Footprint||260 to 1500 mm x 350 to 1000 mm (10.2-51.9 in x 13.8-39.4 in)|
Why Work with Conveyco
Conveyco, as an independent systems integrator, can RightFIT™ the best Mini-Load technology to the application. We have the network and relationships to source, from the numerous Mini-Load AS/RS manufacturers, the best solution to meet every customer’s unique needs and requirements. Then we integrate this best-of-class AS/RS technology into an overall system including conveyors, scanners, pack stations, and software including the Warehouse Execution System (WES) software.