Unit Load AS/RS technology is a Storage Retrieval Machine (SRM) or crane designed for larger load handling (i.e., pallets, gaylords, drum, racks, etc.) that typically weigh over 400 lbs.
The Unit Load crane will automatically store and retrieve product from an engineered rack system that can range in height up to approximately 120 feet or more. The throughput capabilities of any Unit Load AS/RS system on a per aisle basis (or per SRM) are subject to many variables, however a good rule of thumb for any Unit Load AS/RS system, is handling product on the lower weight range (less than 2,000 lbs.) can be estimated at 25 dual cycles/hr. (one store and one retrieval is dual cycle).
A Unit Load system AS/RS is sized by knowing the number of storage location required (i.e., how many pallets 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 Unit Load system (or any AS/RS technology) the automated system will always include a means for delivering and removing product from the Unit Load AS/RS 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 applications, 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 pallets.
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When should you consider a Unit Load AS/RS?
If you are experiencing floor space challenges, product security and tracking problems, need to reduce forklift traffic and dependency, limited accessibility to reliable labor, and just need to improve your overall operational efficiency then a Unit Load AS/RS should be considered to address some or all of these issues.
This Unit Load automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) has inherent features that include:
- Inventory is secure and inaccessible to unauthorized associates
- Reliable and consistent machine performance
- Gentle handling of product
- Optimize vertical space requiring a smaller storage footprint
- Can be utilized in non-ambient environments such as coolers, freezers, humidity and temperature controlled, etc.
- Less dependency on battery-based forklift technology.
- New building alternative where the AS/RS rack system becomes the building structure. Often used as the overall system height exceeds approximately 60 feet
Unit Load AS/RS is a technology that can offer many unique operational, security and productivity benefits unlike other technologies, including:
- Save up to 85% of your floor space by maximize otherwise wasted overhead space
- Eliminate or reduce forklifts and other costly material handling equipment
- Utilize inventory control: FIFO, LIFO, JIT, lot tracking and more
- Eliminates up to 60% of your labor requirements
- Provides simple cycle counting methodologies to audit inventory
- All product movement is tracked and traced by the WES
- Provides up to 99.9% inventory accuracy
Unit Load AS/RS can be applied in distribution, warehousing, and manufacturing environments to address a myriad of operational, security, and productivity issues, including:
- Manufacturing – WIP buffer system with lot control and JIT delivery
- Distribution – Order sequencing outbound pallets for truck loading
- Finished goods (outbound) buffer for single or multi-SKU pallets
- Pallet buffer to supply product to other automated downstream systems (i.e. depalletizing, order selection, etc.)
- Rack supported building – a new building alternative where the overall space utilization can be maximized by going higher than a traditional warehouse
- Cooler, freezer, and special environment applications
|Load Size: Pallets, Containers, and Gaylord||Weight – 30 to 60″|
Dimensions – 30 to 60″
Height – 4 to 80″
|Load Weight||1,100 to 6,600 lbs.|
|Throughput||Up to 30 dual cycles/hour|
|Speed||200 to 800 FPM|
|Height||Up to 130′ High|
Why Work With Conveyco
Conveyco, as an independent systems integrator, can RightFIT™ the best Unit Load AS/RS technology to your exact application and business requirements. Conveyco utilizes the power of choice to analyze all the different Unit Load AS/RS models to find the RightFIT for our customers exact requirements. Then we integrate this best-of-class AS/RS technology into the overall facility and system including the Warehouse Execution System (WES) software.
4 Common Applications for AS/RS in Warehouses and DCs
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