Inventory management technique whereby inventory is classified based on importance to a business. Within material handling this typically refers to inventory that is classified based on shipping volumes and number of SKUs.
Conveyor that buffers products as opposed to transporting conveyor that runs the product. It temporarily stores products in a process, for example, between equipment with different cycle times. In intralogistics operations, it is typically used upstream of merges, sortation, and palletization.
Autonomous case-handling robot. A type of AMR, an ACR stores and retrieves cases from racks. It uses a vertical lifter to carry cases, totes, or other small containers and operates on a goods-to-person (GTP) approach.
Automated guided vehicle. Autonomous vehicles that carry large and heavy loads through a warehouse or manufacturing/assembly line that would otherwise be carried by a forklift. Unlike AMRs, AGVs use wires, magnets, laser guidance or use radio waves to navigate. Some more recent models use geo-guidance or vision guidance technologies.
The narrow area between racks. In an AS/RS, it refers to the corridor for a stacker crane or shuttles.
The conveyor from which an AS/RS stacker crane collects or deposits loads.
An automatmed material handling system (AMHS), uses automated equipment to handle the movement, storage, sorting, and picking of goods and materials in distribution centers, airports, factories (cleanroom, automotive, etc.), and more.
Autonomous mobile robot. Unlike an AGV, an AMR does not require pre-defined tracks. Rather, it is a more dynamic robot that uses real-time sensors, mapping technologies (SLAM), and AI to navigate a facility and handle tasks without human intervention.
Within material handling, it refers to a 3D model of a system. It offers the viewer a visual understanding of how a system and its operators will work.
Automated storage and retrieval system. Uses stacker cranes or shuttles to automatically store and retrieve loads within a rack. An AS/RS is typically controlled by a WCS and/or WMS.
At Daifuku, this refers to the number of banks (storage lines) an AS/RS or other racking system has. Each bank can have multiple levels, bays, and pallet locations. Different AMHS manufacturers may have different terms for this. Check out the image on the right or our Unit Load AS/RS Model Systems page for a visual representation.
A machine-readable series of lines and bars that represent data and are used to identify orders and products. In a material handling system, it is typically used to identify or acknowledge the product received or identify each item to decide the destination for diverting and sorting.
Bar Code Reader
A machine that scans or reads a barcode. In a material handling system, it is typically located at a receiving point to recognize each item received or upstream of a diverting point to sort by shipping destination.
A picking method whereby someone picks the same inventory, or SKU, for multiple orders at once. The orders are group based on common SKUs. Picked items are all placed into the same bin before being sorted later in an order consolidation system such as a piece sorter or put-to-light system. One of the goals of this approach is to reduce the travel time of pickers.
At Daifuku, this is how many storage locations a rack has horizontally (shown as a single level). Different AMHS manufacturers may have different terms for this.
A conveyor system that uses belts rather than chains or rollers to move items from one point to another. Often used in sections where load speed and position must be accurately controlled or when loads widely vary in shape and size such as airport passenger baggage.
An AS/RS used to buffer goods prior to the next stage in their process. Often found in manufacturing or prior to shipping.
The storage of goods and materials in very large quantities, often in pallets and of the same SKU.
Within material handling, this typically refers to the part of an AS/RS crane that holds the retrieved item during handling. The crane uses a fork or other extraction device.
Used to refer to a small cardboard box holding goods.
Conveyors dedicated to the transport of cases and totes. Case conveyor generally uses belts and rollers to transport items. A system might have both according to the function required in each zone/section on site.
Conveyors dedicated to the transport of heavy loads, such as pallets. As the name suggests, the movement of goods is driven by a chain. Chain conveyors are the most common way of transporting pallets, with roller conveyors usually used only in cases where chain conveyors cannot be.
An inclined channel that buffers the sorted goods to their next process such as packing and loading for shipment. It is typically used in sorter systems.
Clad Rack Warehouse
A warehouse where the storage racking is built as the foundation for the building, with walls and roofing mounted directly onto the rack.
Refers to a facility or room with a controlled environment that maintains a very low level of pollutants and airbourne particles, such as dust. Levels of cleanliness and how they are defined are clarified in ISO 14644-1.
A picking strategy whereby workers pick the same items for multiple orders at one time. In contrast to batch picking, the picker places the picked items into individual order containers on a picking cart or other device. One of the goals of this approach is to reduce the travel time of pickers.
Cold warehouses for frozen foods such as meat, seafood, dairy, and vegetables generally need to be maintained between -18 to -25 degrees. Chilled foods, on the other hand, are generally stored between 0-10 degrees. There are various types of cold-resistant automation solutions that provide labor savings in such challenging cold environments.
A plastic container that can be flat packed. Typically used in distribution centers and warehouses to consolidate orders or store piece items.
A combination of electrical components that control the flow of power to industrial machines and robots.
A hardware or software system that controls the behavior of a process or machine.
A device used to transport items from one point to another within a facility. It generally consists of a metal frame with chain, belts, or rollers mounted onto it.
Cross Belt Sorter
A high-speed conveyor based sorting system consisting of a series of carriages that run in a loop and use bi-directional conveyor belts to transport and sort parcels, apparel, and other small objects.
Typically refers to the time between the beginning and end of the process of making a product. However, in material handling, it typically refers to the time equipment takes to perform a cycle, or more specifically, a task. E.g. home position → action → home position.
In material handling, this means to move products from their original box to a container for storage.
The process of removing boxes or cases loaded on a pallet. This is often the first stage for palleted items, such as raw materials and goods for ecommerce, entering a warehouse, distribution center, or production line. The process is often handled in one of three ways, manual handling, case handling robots (individual or multiple cases at once), or layer depalletiziers (one layer at a time).
The process of distributing products, materials, or other items to customers.
A facility that stores and ships goods to retailers and wholesalers or directly to consumers.
A conveyor that diverts loads to another conveyor line. Many types of conveyor are applicable for this purpose: roller type, ball type, chain type, and belt type. The right one is selected according to load characteristics and required throughput.
A type of racking that enables pallets to be stored two rows deep rather than one.
A high-density racking solution that works best in first-in, first-out (FIFO) handling.
Emulation typically refers to a virtual 3D model of the system wherein detailed logic is factored into the model, including sensor positions, equipment speeds and accelerations, as well as human interfaces, and barcode scanners, etc. It is often used to identify potential issues with the system before any on-site installation. To find out more about emulation and how it compares to animation and simulation, check our blog post "Understanding the Value of Simulation in AMHS Planning."
A picking station with ergonomic features that allows the picker to adjust the height and angle of the station to fit their ideal alignment.
First-in, first-out. A method of storing and retrieving goods, where goods that are first to be deposited into a storage system are the first to be retrieved. FIFO is generally considered a must in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, and other industries where freshness is vital. An AS/RS can support FIFO operations.
First-in, last-out. A method of storing and retrieving items where items that are first deposited in a storage rack are the last to be retrieved. While it saves handling space and allows high density storage as no order rearrangement space is required, FILO is not a desirable storage method for food, beverage, pharmaceutical, and other products where freshness is critical. An AS/RS can support FILO operations.
Racking that uses gravity to move pallets or cases from one side of the rack to the other. Also known as "gravity rack" or "push-through rack." It is often used to replenish goods in picking operations.
Storing pallets on the ground rather than in a racking system.
Flexible manufacturing system. A system that has some flexibility in terms of reacting to changes in manufacturing. In the logistics industry, FMS often refers to a fully automated metalworking line that combines machine tools and an automated warehouse. The automated warehouse is stocked with materials and semi-finished products to be processed in advance, which are transferred to the appropriate machine tools based on computer instructions. After processing is completed, the products are re-stocked.
The name for all the steps taken to process an order, including receival, inspection, storage and retrieval, picking, packing, and shipping.
Racking that uses gravity to move pallets from one side of the rack to the other. Also known as "flow rack."
Combining orders based on certain criteria. For example, picked items or shipping destination.
Goods-to-person. Also written as G2P, this refers to a picking method where goods are brought automatically to a picker. Multiple types exist, including conveyor station, rotating table, and vehicle, among others.
Pallet racking designed for heavy- to medium-sized loads.
An automated warehouse 12 meters high or more.
High-mix, low-volume. Refers to a manufacturing operation that produces many kinds of things but in relatively small quantities.
Input/output. In material handling, an I/O is an integral part of a system PLC that communicates equipment status (available/unavailable, temperature, pressure, speed) to the master control or locally to the other equipment.
A tag attached to a container that communicates with RFID readers and thereby enables its tracking. In the apparel industry, some companies attach RFID tags to every product to enable high level automation through their supply chain and also self-checkout in stores. Within material handling systems, RFID equipment is also used to track the loads. For example, Daifuku's eye-navi picking system uses RFID tags for tracking.
Checking the documents and state of goods upon entry into a warehouse or before shipping.
An integrator is a company that designs tailored systems, procures equipment from various manufacturers, and integrates them at the customer site.
The systems and processes used within a facility to manage and optimize the flow and handling of goods. In other words, on-site logistics. Visit the Intralogistics section of the Daifuku website to see our range of related solutions.
Goods and items held for manufacturing or selling.
Also known as stock control, this is the management of stock (inventory) in a shop, warehouse, or factory with the goal of ensuring that the right amount of supply is available in an organization. For example, this keeps track of raw materials, work-in-process, products, and other items existing in the enterprise so that they can be supplied at the right time and quantities in light of production, sales, and other activities. It is typically managed by a WMS or ERP.
Just in Time. A form of inventory management where goods are delivered to a location just before they are required. This ensures that only the minimum amount of inventory is required to be stored on site.
Logistics as a service. This is a solution whereby companies can manage their logistics operations via a cloud-based platform rather than deploying a system in-house. The Japanese government defines LaaS as a system/marketplace for transporting goods along optimal routes by sharing all kinds of facilities and means.
Tiered conveyor that is often used to support sequencing operations or retrieval and storage operations of AS/RS systems with tiered input/output points. It is often a key component of shuttle-based systems.
Within logistics and distribution, this typically refers to how much time it takes to process a customer order.
At Daifuku, this refers to the levels, layers, or tiers of a racking system. Different AMHS manufacturers may have different terms for this. Check out this image for a visual reference.
LIFO (last in, first out) means that items entered into the warehouse last will be the first one to be retrieved. The same as FILO (first-in, last-out).
An object of handling in a warehouse, such as a pallet, case, or piece. In an automated material handling system, a load's profile is normally checked before entering the system to ensure that it fits within the predefined shape, weight, and size.
Load Profile Detector
A device that checks the profile of a load before it enters an automated system to ensure that no part of the load protrudes beyond the designated space
Where an item or pallet is located within a rack.
A batch of goods brought together into a single group. Typically, the lot is comprised of items of similar SKUs, expirations dates, ID numbers, or other related points.
Refers to the movement and handling of products and materials within a facility.
Material Handling Equipment
Material handling equipment (MHE) refers to mechanical equipment used for the movement, storage, control, and protection of materials, goods, and products throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption, and disposal.
Examples: pallet, container, bin, forklift, reach truck, manual pallet jack, conveyor, rack, AS/RS, AGV, AMR, robots, mezzanine, protective covers, and safety equipment.
An omnidirectional 2D bar code that is similar to a QR code.
A mesh-box pallet is a metal frame used for the storage and transportation of goods. It normally has four legs or wheels and is collapsible when not in use.
An intermediate floor typically made of metal that is installed between the main floors of a facility to create extra space.
Mini Load AS/RS
A mini load AS/RS is an automated storage and retrieval system for cases, totes, containers, and other small loads.
A pallet or container loaded with various goods (SKUs). This can be done manually or by robot.
Also know as "mobile racking," Mobile Rack is a high-density pallet storage system that uses racking on wheels or tracks to enable compact storage.
Selling products through multiple channels (online, brick and mortar, mail order, etc.) that all offer customers a consistent and unified experience.
Someone engaged in picking items for orders in a distribution center.
Picking items for a customer order. There are various types of picking method, such as cart picking, pick-to-light, robot picking, and GTP picking, among others. The applied method is typically be based on picking volume and frequency, item profiles, and facility layout, among other factors.
A rigid, flat platform upon which items are placed. It features gaps underneath it to allow its transport by forklift or other device.
A wheeled trolley that is used to manually transport pallets around a facility. When pallet jack operation is required in conjunction with an automated material handling system, the appropriate conveyor interface has to be taken into account during the system design phase.
A device used to lift pallets from one level to another.
A shuttle vehicle that runs along rails inside a rack to retrieve and deposit pallets. Also known as a radio shuttle.
A pallet where some of the load has been removed.
A window that is part of a picking station or AS/RS that facilitates picking operations.
A process often found within a warehouse or distribution where someone picks individual goods for an order, production line, or end user.
A mobile cart that pickers, people engaged in picking operations, take around a warehouse as they travel to each pick location to pick items for orders or production. Each cart normally carries multiple order totes to perform picking for multiple orders during one picking cycle.
A material handling system that improves the efficiency of picking operations. There are manual and automatic types.
A order-picking technology that uses digital indicators to tell workers which items to pick and the required quantity and thereby increase picking efficiency and accuracy.
Refers to an individual item as opposed to a case or pallet.
An overhead sorting and order consolidation system that uses pouches to buffer, sequence, and sort batch picked items.
The measure of output within a process or task. It is calculated by dividing total output by total input. In a manufacturing plant, input is generally production volume or amount of added value, while output can be labor x working hour or labor + raw materials, etc.
A piece-sorting technology that uses digital indicators to instruct a worker on where to put a batch-picked item.
A type of barcode that holds information both horizontally and vertically, which allows it to hold more information compared to conventional vertical barcodes. Within automated material handling, QR codes can act as a form of location guidance for AMRs and other robots.
The ability of a system to perform without interruption even when a piece of equipment fails.
A shuttle vehicle that runs on a rack to retrieve and deposit a pallet. Also known as a pallet shuttle. Our Shuttle Rack L is one example.
A single or multiple vehicles traveling on straight, curved, or loop rails. The vehicles generally travel faster than AGVs or AMRs and can provide higher throughput. See Daifuku's STV as one example.
An amount left over. Can refer to the number of items left on a pallet or in a container.
The act of retrieving a load from a rack.
Radio frequency identification. A type of tag that uses radio frequencies to enable the tracking of whatever it is attached to. In addition to a standard model, there are water-proof, cold-resistant, explosion-proof, chemical-resistant, and anti-metal models that allow their application in variety of different environments. Daifuku's pick-to-light system, eye-navi, uses RFID tags.
A mobile, wheeled cage that is used to hold goods securely during transport or storage.
A conveyor that uses rollers (rotating metal cylinders) to move objects. It is suitable for handling items with a flat, rigid surface. It is also suited to conveying cargo on a conveyor by utilizing the "sliding" characteristics of the rollers, such as moving the cargo to one side or changing the direction of the cargo.
Roll-on, roll-off. Within a warehouse or distribution center, this refers to a method of loading pallets or other loads onto a vehicle. Specifically, it uses an automated system that stages the items and then loads them in automatically. Daifuku's TRTS is one example.
A retrieval method wherein items are retrieved and handled in a particular order. Within material handling, sequenced shipping operations require greater planning than those that can operate without sequencing.
The movement of goods from one facility or location to another. For example, the movement of goods from a distribution center to a customer.
Within material handling, a shuttle is a typically a robotic vehicle that operates within an automated storage system to load and retrieve cases or pallets.
A system modelling technique that is used to verify whether a system concept will meet the required throughput. The general layout, equipment speeds, operations, and controls logic of the proposed system are all programmed into the model. To find our more about emulation and how it compares to animation and simulation, check our blog post "Understanding the Value of Simulation in AMHS Planning."
When used in the context of an AS/RS, it means that the racking goes one pallet deep. Two pallets deep is called double-deep, and multiple pallets deep is called multi-deep.
Also known as a sliding-shoe sorter, this is a high-speed sorting system that uses slats and movable shoes to sort each individual case.
The process of sorting items, cases, or pallets according to certain criteria, such as shipping destination. In automated material handling, sortation can by done by machine or manually according to the characteristics of handled loads and their volume.
A term used in picking operations that refers to a pallet from which items or cases will be picked for an order.
A barcode that consists of multiple linear lines that are stacked vertically.
An automated machine that runs along the aisle of an AS/RS and retrieves and deposits loads. It typically consists of a number of elements, including a mast (metal beam), a carriage that holds the items, and a fork or other attachment that retrieves and deposits the load.
Another name for a stacker crane. Often used within the semiconductor industry.
The network, or system, that sees goods manufactured and distributed.
A plastic container typically used for the storage of piece items. Tote sizes vary by region. For example, in Europe, 400 x 600 and 600 x 800 are the most common size in logistics.
The speed, or rate, at which a product needs to be completed in order to meet demand. For example, if a product needs to be made every five minutes to meet demand, it has a takt time of five minutes.
A term used in picking operations that refers to a pallet on which picked cases will be placed.
The amount of something that a system can process over a specified period of time. In the case of AS/RS, there are different methods of calculation depending on the region or country. For example, the primary calculation method in Europe is defined by FEM (European Materials Handling Federation).
The tracking and monitoring of items within a facility or supply chain network.
The system of tracking the movement of goods and materials.
Like a distribution center, but one that does not store goods. Rather, it receives items and immediately prepares them for the next part of their shipping journey to a customer.
Unit Load AS/RS
A unit load automated storage and retrieval system for pallets and other large objects. The system's stacker crane, which retrieves and deposits the load, runs between racks. Available in different configurations such as single deep, double deep, and multi-deep, the system also has different models to function in particular environments, such as cold storage.
A piece storage system that operates like a ferris wheel, whereby racks operate on a vertical axis. Check out our Vertical Carousel page to learn more.
The retrieval of orders for fulfillment based on a common element, such as a shipping date, shipping destination, and ordered items, etc.
Warehouse control system. A computer system that performs the main control of material handling equipment such as AS/RSs and conveyors in warehouses and distribution centers. The main control of Daifuku's material handling system is the Area Group Controller (AGC).
Warehouse execution system. A hybrid software that optimizes processes within a warehouse, in particular, the management of people and movement of goods. A WES operates between a WMS and WCS, but there is a level of overlap.
Work in progress/process. A partially finished good that is awaiting completion.
A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software that helps manage and execute the operations of a warehouse or distribution center. A WMS supports a range of tasks, such as receiving, inventory management, order picking, replenishment, packing, shipping, labor management, truck berth management, and automated materials handling equipment interfaces.
A picking strategy where a warehouse is divided into picking zones with each zone having dedicated pickers assigned. This is also known as "pick and pass."
The division of space in a warehouse picking aisle into different zones to achieve maximum optimization based on chosen criteria.
Third-party logistics. The outsourcing of logistics and distribution operations to a third party. In addition to basic functions such as transport and storage, 3PL services often include distribution processing, information management, order placement, returns processing, as well as the design of stock base locations and logistics networks, and acting as customer service contact points.