Conveyors can be one of the biggest contributors to improved productivity or one of the biggest problems in a warehouse. It all depends on...
Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems, AS/RS for short, is a category of material handling tools with a tremendous scope. AS/RS systems can accommodate anything from small component parts through full pallet loads weighing several thousand pounds. Most AS/RS systems are computer controlled.
The major advantages of AS/RS are security, storage density and inventory control. AS/RS is also frequently used in manufacturing for automatically holding items for a specified period of time (curing, cooling and testing).
Small parts are accommodated in a tray or tote handling system. A tray can contain one or several different stock keeping units (SKU's) as required. Unit loads, such as pallets or tubs, are handled as their own units. All loads or containers must be uniform in overall size to be automatically placed or retrieved via machine. Pallet loads may vary in height, but not base dimensions.
Security is provided by only allowing dedicated machine access to the stored materials. Parts/loads cannot be accessed by hand for any reason.
Storage density is a result of very narrow access aisles and high storage heights. Captive machines do not have a problem working at 40 or 60 feet in the air if the height is available. Often buildings are built especially for high rise AS/RS systems.
Inventory control is provided by restricting access and directing personnel what to do with merchandise delivered to a manned location.
AS/RS machines may have multiple pickup and discharge (P&D) stations. This allows for multiple work stations or separate input and retrieval locations.
Another benefit of AS/RS is that a retrieval machine can pick products and deliver them to an operator station, instead of the operator traveling to pick the product. This process is referred to as "Goods to Man".
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