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How AS/RS System Revolutionise Warehouse Efficiency

Published on
2024-06-25

Logistics and warehousing industries are perhaps among the most competitive industries in today’s world because of the increasing demand for faster and cheaper methods of transporting goods. One of the technologies that have received a lot of attention is the Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS). With all of this in mind, what exactly is AS/RS? In short, AS/RS is a technology where goods to be stored and retrieved are managed with minimum human interaction, they are a set of systems used to enhance warehouse efficiency by increasing accuracy and storage space.

How AS/RS Works?

AS/RS systems function based on the coordination of different automated storage equipment such as storage racks, shuttles, cranes and conveyors, these components are controlled by sophisticated software that guarantees the required items are placed and taken out with precise accuracy, and it starts as soon as products are received in the warehouse and then scanned and input into the system to calculate where in the warehouse the items should be stored depending on size, weight and retrieval frequency.

After the location has been identified, automated cranes or shuttles transport the goods to the designated area for storage. When it is time to retrieve the items, the system is utilised to locate and deliver the goods to the picking zone. This high level of automation reduces manual error, cuts down labor costs and enhances the rate of picking significantly.

Types of Fully Automated AS/RS

AS/RS is the most strategic storage equipment suitable for warehouses and distribution centres that aim to optimise space and maximize storage efficiency. Below are five types of fully automated AS/RS:

  1. Vertical Carousels: These systems rotate vertically to bring items to an operator and they offer high storage capacity in the vertical direction and provide quick access to inventory
  2. Horizontal Carousels: These systems rotate horizontally as they bring items to the operator in a fast and efficient manner, which is suitable for high-speed picking operations
  3. Fixed Aisle AS/RS: These systems have fixed storage aisles where cranes or shuttles move loads vertically and horizontally, suitable for high-density storage of large loads
  4. Mobile Shelving Systems: These systems include movable shelving that is on tracks so that to create access aisles one only has to pull out an entire row of shelving off the track rather than using up floor space on individual aisles
  5. Micro-load AS/RS: These systems are suitable for small parts, totes or any small items that can be stocked, to provide high-density storage and quick retrieval. It is ideal for parts and components

Common Applications for AS/RS

AS/RS systems are highly adaptable, which makes it possible to utilise them in different types of warehouses. Some of the applications of AS/RS include:

  • Long-term Storage System - AS/RS replaces the conventional form of racking system, it involves storage at higher density by having narrow aisles and use of vertical space
  • Buffer Storage - It provides temporary overflow space to absorb peaks in inventory levels
  • Staging System - AS/RS stores ready-to-ship products until they are needed to streamline the loading process
  • Goods-to-Person Solution - This application automates the retrieval and delivery of items to operators for sorting and picking

Choosing the Right AS/RS System for Your Warehouse

Before deciding which type of AS/RS system to go for, several factors must be considered. Firstly, look at your inventory characteristics, such as size, weight, and storage requirements. It helps you to decide whether a unit load, mini-load or shuttle-based system will suit your requirements.

Secondly, it is also crucial to take throughputs into consideration. Shuttle or carousel-based systems could be ideal for high-speed operations while unit load or mini-load systems could be sufficient for low-speed operations and assess the flexibility of the system to expand with your business so that new elements can be integrated as they emerge. Lastly, and most importantly, look at the compatibility with your current warehouse management system (WMS) to strengthen its functionality.

Transforming Warehouse Efficiency with AS/RS Technology

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems are one of the most effective systems for modern warehouses that can help in bringing down costs while increasing the efficiency of the process. By understanding how AS/RS works, current available types and applications, you can make a solid decision on the best system for your needs.

Ready to take your warehouse operations to the next level with the best AS/RS systems? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you implement the perfect solution for your business.

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