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Carousels are generally one of two types, horizontal or vertical. Both, however, serve the same function of presenting an item to the person doing the retrieving. This is referred to as part to picker technology and is a variant of Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS).
Horizontal Carousels can be thought of as shelving units on a track that move horizontally in a loop.
Vertical Carousels can be envisioned as a series of trays that move vertically in a loop.
Each bin or tray is assigned an address which can be selected manually by entering it into a control station, or can be computer selected to match a predetermined pick sequence.
Carousels provide a quick retrieval method for small and medium size parts, files, components, etc. while also providing a degree of security and inventory management.
Parts picking carousels are frequently utilized in groups or pods of two to four to eliminate picker idle time. One unit is rotating to present a new address while another is being picked from. Light bars are frequently used to assist in picking (paperless picking) by indicating where on the tray or bin the pick is to be made and how many pieces to pick.
Carousels come in an almost infinite variety of sizes to fit specific applications.
While picking from carousels can be very efficient, several hundred picks per hour with the right merchandise, they cannot be stocked and picked from simultaneously. Stocking therefore needs to be scheduled in off picking hours and enough merchandise needs to be stocked in the carousel to last at least through the entire picking shift.
Carousel control can be as simple as a dial with a location for each address or as sophisticated as a computer download from a Warehouse Management System (WMS) with an integral light bar for picking and stocking.
Since carousels are a form of AS/RS, they can be used as production tools for work in process or as buffers and transporters between work stations. Carousels are also used for automatic testing or burn in of electronics, motors, etc.
Contact Us to learn more about vertical and/or horizontal carousel solutions.