Automated Retrieval System (ARS)
Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS or AS/RS)
Automated retrieval systems are fully automated robotic systems controlled by computers that enable all the operations which are unloading goods from carrier, sorting, put-away, storage, order-picking, staging and loading of goods can be done by machine automatically.The basic AS/Rs system is normally built up by four main components which are: Storage rack, input and output systems, Storage and Retrieval equipment and computer management system. Systems of this nature have been used for years in manufacturing and warehouse facilities.
The Basic Design of AS/Rs in warehousing A “high-rise” storage rack which can be up to 120 feet high is being used in the AS/Rs in order to maximize the utilization of the warehouse cubic space. Each storage location has their unique bar-code or chip to storage the information of the storage location. While the carriers reach the dock of the warehouse, the goods is being loaded or unloaded by “battery-powered driverless vehicles” to or from the conveyer belts. These types of “battery-powered driverless vehicles” are usually guided by the Automatic Vehicle Guide System (AVGs). Different types or batches of goods is being loaded to different conveyer belt along the dock, then the goods on the conveyer belts it then being transported to each Pick-up and Delivery station (P/D station). There are computers and scanners built inside the P/D stations to capture and store the information of the goods. After the goods are being identified, sorted and weighted, and then transported to the storage rack by using the Stacker Crane. The Stacker Cranes are able to move horizontally and vertically along its rail. It’s able to move in a speed of up to 100 feet per minute (fpm) and reaching the storage racks to store or extract the goods. This kind of stacker crane are usually consists telescopic fork and table and extractor to transport and deposit the goods. A wireless scanner is also built with the stacker crane to capture the information of each storage location.
The information transfer is very important within the warehouse that using AS/Rs system. The software used in the AS/Rs system is usually not an independent software system. It’s usually a combination of different types of managing software base on the requirements of each operation. Therefore, a Local Area Network (LAN) needs to be established to support the information transfer within the warehouse. Basically, AS/Rs is combined with the AVGs to control the movement of vehicles within the system. A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is also used to track the inbound movements of goods inside the warehouse. It’s usually interfaced with the Bar-coding system and Stock Control system to capture and storage the information of the goods from each storage location and P/D station by using optical scanning of a more advanced radio frequency technology. The information captured such as: descriptions, storage locations, quantity, date of entry, expiry date, source of goods etc. are then transfer to the Stock Control system via wireless LAN. By using the Stock Control system, the operators are able to know the information of the goods and the system will automatically notify the operators while the inventory level reach the re-order point. When the order comes in, the operator just type in the basic information of the goods, the command system of the AS/Rs will then send the information to the stacker crane and direct it to retrieve the products from the storage location and transport it to the dock by using AVGs system. The bill of lading or other documents can also be automatically printed out by the system if it enables Computerized Documentation.
A few different types of Automated Storage Retrieval Systems
· Vertical Carousels
· Vertical Lift Modules (VLM)
· Horizontal Carousels
· Mini Loads - also known as mini load stackers
· Unit load stackers
· Compact 3D AS/RS
· While this is a very short list of ASRS devices, there are many more ASRS's manufactured and deployed...
Other Industries/Applications for Automated Storage Retrieval Systems
· Clean Rooms
· Work in Process (WIP)
· Lean Manufacturing
· Cell Manufacturing
· Small Parts Distribution
· Grocery Distribution
· Mail Order Fulfillment
Daifuku ASRS Over $4 Million New Must Move Now For Cents On the Dollar
Stacker cranes for boxes
The miniload automated warehouse for boxes is made up of a central aisle, along which a stacker crane travels, and two racks built at either side used to store boxes or trays. The picking and handling area is formed by conveyors and is positioned at one end or at the side of the racking. Here, the stacker crane deposits the load extracted from the rack. The conveyors then take the box to the operator and once he/she has finished the job, it is returned to the stacker crane which then places it back in the ranking. The whole system is controlled by a management software package which registers the location of all the materials in the warehouse and keeps a real time inventory.
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