Overview of Automated Storage and Retrieval System:

Automated Storage and Retrieval System or AS/RS is a type of intelligent warehouse technology that facilitates your storage space's optimization. The automatic storage system places the goods in the storage area, and the goods are then retrieved using the automatic sorting system as per the demand. Thus lowest cost storage density and highest throughput rates can be achieved using the Automated Storage and Retrieval systems. These systems work best when the volume of inventory is extensive. The real-time data makes physical inventory inspections redundant, thus saving time and costs.

The wide range of solutions provided in the Automated Storage and Retrieval systems allow the facility's space's best use and offer many other essential applications like Order Selection and Staging, Sequence Buffering, Work in Progress Buffering (WIP), Dynamic Replenishment and Goods-to-Person Picking.

Use Cases of Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems:

  • Order Picking and Packing: In any order fulfillment process, picking up the order is a crucial and time-consuming step. Automated Storage and Retrieval system offers a solution to this using Goods-to-person (G2P) order picking ASRS. In this, a mini-load ASRS crane, shuttle, carousel, or vertical lift module retrieves the goods and delivers them to the packing station. The ASRS can also sequence the products in the most logical sense after picking and bringing goods to the packing station.
  • Staging Orders for Shipping: Automated Storage and Retrieval systems can pick and process orders in operation and place them in a buffer storage space to stage them until shipped. This saves time, and operations are continuously processed even when orders physically do not leave the facility.
  • Managing Buffer Storage: Automated Storage and Retrieval system offer buffering that ensures enough supplies are always available to keep the operations running. ASRS provides an efficient alternative to the traditional conveyor buffering systems, making products buffer effectively and retrieve them when needed. It can be used in multiple places in an operation's workflow like Inbound Receiving Buffer, Assembly Line Point-of-Use Buffering, or Order Consolidation.
  • Storage: One of the most imperative reasons that make the Automated Storage and Retrieval system highly beneficial is its ability to store goods to make the most effective use of warehouse space. By incorporating ASRS, inventory can be optimized using First in First Out(FIFO), Last in First Out(LIFO), or any industry-specific requirements.

Automated Storage and Retrieval system Solutions:

The ASRS solutions can be mainly categorized into two types, namely, Unit-Load ASRS and Mini-Load ASRS.

  • Unit-Load ASRS: This type of Automated Storage and Retrieval system is typically used in handling vast and heavy loads(up to1000-5500 pounds) such as pallets or cases. These ASRS solutions become handy, especially when pallet-level storage is limited and fast retrieval is required. These consist of a narrow aisle rack that extends to great heights and is paired with the crane to place and retrieve goods. Fixed-aisle and movable-aisle unit load cranes are typical examples of Unit-Load ASRS solutions.
  • Mini-Load ASRS: Mini-Load Automated Storage and Retrieval system is used in carrying and handling smaller loads (nearly 70 pounds) such as trays or cartons. These are well suited for operations that need many SKUs to be stored but lack the required floor space for traditional carton-flow shelving. These are also useful in buffering and releasing goods to picking or palletizing stations. Some commonly used mini-load ASRS types are shuttles, vertical lift modules, and carousel-based ASRS.
  • Goods-to-Person ASRS: These fall under the subcategory of Mini-load ASRS, where an Automated storage system delivers the SKUs to a pick station where the labor fills different orders.

Benefits of using Automated Storage and Retrieval System:

  • Efficient use of Storage: With an increasing number of warehouse consolidations and space becoming scarce day by day, under-utilization of vertical space eats your revenue. This can be solved using Automated Storage and Retrieval systems that optimizes your storage space.
  • Reduced Labour Costs: Automated storage systems can replace all picking labor, allowing them to focus on more demanding functions requiring human supervision. The costs of expanding your workforce can be saved and have an immense effect on profitability.
  • Less Labour constraints: External factors like demographic trends and tight labor markets can no longer affect productivity and profitability due to reduced labor constraints. The automated storage and retrieval system allows the work to be taken care of by technology instead of labor vulnerable to externalities.
  • Increased Safety: Human mistakes can be avoided using Automated storage and Retrieval system as accidents & damage to the goods and equipment can be made negligible, thus ensuring maximum safety.
  • Improved Productivity and Efficiency: By incorporating ASRS into your operations, inefficiencies and product damage can be made negligible, making operations more accurate, productive, and efficient.
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