Modern innovations and technologies have revolutionized the way a factory operates. Labor intensive manual processes have given way to automated drones and robots that can work with little-to-no human intervention. Computer controlled automation systems and the software managing them add value across the entire production chain, resulting in higher production levels at faster speeds with lower costs.
Warehousing, or storage, is one area of a factory where automation and technology have had a relatively late and moderate entry. However, given the scope of applications and the projected value addition they can make in the entire production chain, there has been spurt in the use of automated systems and technologies.
How AS/RSs Work
The Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) is one such essential part of a modern warehouse. Primarily, an AS/RS comprises of storage racks, storage and retrieval equipment, and a Warehouse Management System (WMS) that is a software component. Advancing from the conventional storage and retrieval equipment in a warehouse like automated guided vehicles (AGVs), an AS/RS is programmed to operate according to the load dimensions and speed of delivery for a particular load type. An AS/RS sends information related to the load movement to the WMS, which processes the data and guides the Warehouse Control Systems (WCS) that maneuvers other warehouse equipment in tandem.
Advantages of an AS/RS
Advantages over conventional systems
Conventional material handling systems involve a significant labor force or small-scale systems, such as AGVs, to move and store the products in a fixed rack, and do not use any supporting software. However, this method is tedious and less efficient when compared to a system using an AS/RS and WMS as it requires (1) inventory data to be maintained on pen and paper, (2) a larger investment in human resources, and (3) more time to complete tasks, which leads to slower operations in the warehouse.
- Conventional forklifts and battery powered stackers suffer from less consistency in term of throughput when compared to an AS/RS.
- ASRSs work automatically; thus, require no operator to guide them in their work.
- An AS/RS does not require battery charging time or back-up batteries, which helps ensure availability.
Factory owners are fast adopting AS/RSs for their warehouses. If you are setting up a new factory for your business, integrating an one in your warehouse from an early stage can be a beneficial and prudent decision—while adding one to an existing warehouse is absolutely possible, it is a little more challenging.
Supply chain management benefits in the new factory
- AS/RSs can operate in narrow aisles, allowing for very dense storage and ensuring that available floor space is maximised. .
- AS/RSs streamline the workforce in your operations, thereby reducing the operational costs and increasing safety.
- AS/RSs help ensure optimal storage patterns.
- AS/RSs enable a seamless link to order processing and logistics management in order to pick, pack, and ship product in or out of the facility.
- AS/RSs generate data about the movement of the loads (tracking where products are stocked, which suppliers they come from, and the length of time they are stored), to help companies improve their inventory management.
- AS/RSs can automate all parts of the production process, including the handling of raw materials, work in process (WIP), and finished and packaged goods, which helps to ensure efficiency and minimise error
Daifuku, the Global Leader in Warehouse Automation
Daifuku, one of the largest global material handling solution providers, offers a proven AS/RS that delivers the speed and efficiency required for today's supply chain environment. The Daifuku AS/RS product line includes the unit-load system for pallet-size loads, clad-rack systems constructed as part of a building, and high speed mini load and vehicle-type systems for smaller items stored in totes or cases. Daifuku AS/RSs can handle an array load profiles and weight, building dimensions, and operating environments. All systems feature high-quality drives for fast, smooth, and reliable performance. Daifuku’s local intelligent network control system ensures that you get comprehensive solution—from front-end controls to comprehensive inventory management computer systems. The fast and efficient high-speed Daifuku AS/RSs reduce cycle time and reduces energy costs by using low electricity and regenerating power.
Daifuku Intralogistics India Pvt. Ltd.
Established in 1986, Daifuku Intralogistics India Pvt. Ltd., formerly known as Vega Conveyors and Automation Private Limited, is a leading provider of automated storage and conveying solutions in the Indian intralogistics market, with 350+ customers served. Employing around 200 people, the company is headquartered near Hyderabad, Telangana with offices in Mumbai and Pune as well.