Automated storage and retrieval systems, also referred to by the acronyms AS/RS, AS-RS, and ASRS, have many potential applications. The primary and most common ASRS application is the storage and retrieval of inventory items, but other ASRS applications can greatly enhance the efficiency of an operation as well. These ASRS applications include:
- Using an ASRS for order picking. This application replaces manual labor with an ASRS for the purposes of automating the fulfillment process.
- Using an ASRS as a sequence buffer. This application enhances the pallet building process, enabling the sequenced palletizing of items in ways that would comply with customer requests.
- Using an ASRS as a manufacturing buffer. This application can be used to decouple manufacturing processes to allow for greater efficiency in staging or assembly.
The range of potential ASRS applications can be used to enhance operational efficiencies in a wide variety of processing environments. Typical industry ASRS applications include:
- Food and Beverage
- Distribution Centers
- Fulfillment Centers
Choosing the ASRS Application that’s right for your operation
Invata offers the widest range of ASRS technology available. This includes ASRS shuttles like the One Level Shuttle and the 3D Shuttle (not to be confused with the Multishuttle). It includes the Mini-Load ASRS Crane, Unit Load ASRS crane and the Dynamic Handling System, which combines the one level shuttle with the mini-load crane in one system. And it includes the Lifting Beam System, which combines lift and conveyance in one system.
Choosing the right automated storage and retrieval system for the specific needs of your business requires, among other things, in depth analysis of your company’s data, processes, operation, facility, and current and future business objectives.
Key ASRS application and selection criteria include:
- The number of transactions needed hourly (often referred to as the throughput of the system).
- The storage capacity, or number of unique storage positions needed in the system (closely related to # of SKU’s).
- The amount of buffering needed within the system, if any.
- The requirements of the items to be transported.
- The speeds at which the items to be transported must travel.
Other critical ASRS application considerations include facility configuration, space limitations, maintenance requirements, durability, adaptability, operating costs, financial justification, and expected return on investment (ROI).
Given this information, Invata engineers will use a combination of data analysis tools, customer feedback, and seasoned field experience to aid you in selecting the optimal ASRS equipment for your unique operation.
Comparing Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems
Since comparing the performance and physical features of automated storage and retrieval system equipment is often a key step in the selection process, we have compiled some comparative graphs and tables to help our customers in this process. These will aid our client’s in better understanding the differences between the various ASRS applications and systems.
Critical ASRS Selection Considerations
Of equal importance in selecting the ASRS application that’s right for your business is the warehouse execution software or warehouse management system (WMS) and warehouse control system (WCS) software used to integrate an Automated Storage and Retrieval System into a warehouse automation system. Whether the choice is for a One level Shuttle, a Multi-Level Shuttle, a Mini-Load Crane, a Dynamic Handling System, or a Lifting Beam ASRS system, Invata’s own FastTrak® WES software is a critical asset to achieving optimal ASRS performance.
To learn more about ASRS application and selection, contact us, and we’ll be happy to share more about our rich history of employing automated storage and retrieval system technology to enhance omni-channel fulfillment operational productivity.