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FEATURE COVER STORY


WAREHOUSE ROBOTS BY AUTOSTORE – SPACE REDEFINED AND EFFICIENCY MAXIMISED


Over 25 years ago, our business faced the same challenges that many manufacturing and distribution businesses face today, a warehouse at capacity, a heavy reliance on manual labour for logistics operations and a need to improve urgently


T


o solve the challenge of our own rapidly increasing distribution business,


where the existing shelf-based solution had reached capacity and expanding the warehouse was not an option, AutoStore developed the Cube Storage concept, a new solution that placed bins on top of and next to each other, resulting in four times more inventory capacity in the same warehouse footprint. Our warehouse robots retrieve the bins from the grid and deliver them to picking stations where picking, replenishment or stock validation operations are carried out. Today AutoStore is addressing some of the major issues facing the logistics and manufacturing industries in the UK and Europe, especially those of labour availability, efficiency of the picking operation and lack of available warehouse space to facilitate future business growth. By implementing AutoStore, businesses can continue to operate from existing premises, retain their existing workforce and increase their overall business efficiency, all resulting in increased growth and profitability. The AutoStore concept is to utilise five standard modules (robots, aluminium grid, bins, ports and controller software) to create bespoke solutions for each


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client, meeting their requirements today and future proofing their business for continued expansion in the future. The modular design of AutoStore


enables all available warehouse space to be fully utilised for storage of inventory, with robots working on top of the aluminium grid to retrieve the bins and deliver them to the picking stations (ports), where either picking or stock replenishment operations take place, in a true goods to person solution. This modular design also makes expanding the system with additional bin positions, more picking stations, extra robots or faster technology extremely easy, with over 60 per cent of existing AutoStore customers evolving their system over time, to meet their growing business requirements. Other benefits customers can expect to achieve when integrating an AutoStore solution are; increased security, as inventory is only accessible once a bin is delivered to a picking station; increased picking accuracy, as only the correct inventory is delivered to the operator for order line picking; improved operator ergonomics, as inventory is delivered to the operator, eliminating the manual operation of


JULY/AUGUST 2019 | MATERIALS HANDLING & LOGISTICS


AutoStore developed the Cube Storage concept, a new solution that placed bins on top of and next to each other, resulting in four times more inventory capacity in the same warehouse footprint


AutoStore www.autostoresys tem.com


trolley based systems and two to three times faster picking rates when compared to manual picking operations. Reliability and system availability are key to operating a profitable business in today’s market, the AutoStore cube solution has no single point of failure and operates a system availability in excess of 99 per cent, maximising system uptime. Once a business has taken the decision to automate their process, one of the biggest challenges faced is the timeframe from making the decision to having the system fully integrated and operational, which can be up to 24 months. With AutoStore the time required to design, install and fully integrate the solution is much faster, with implementation times of typically under six months, AutoStore is one of the fastest ASRS systems to integrate in the market. In addition, the modular design of AutoStore enables customers to implement our technology with minimal business interruption during system installation. For 25 years, AutoStore have provided the market with the highest density storage solution, which can operate at speeds up to 300 bins/port/hour, now branded as our Red Line Solution. To facilitate the benefits of AutoStore in new markets where higher capacity, bigger bins, faster retrieval rates and 24/7 operations are required, AutoStore has introduced our Black Line Solution, where operating speeds can be up to 600 bins/port/hour, smart battery technology enables true 24/7 operations and bin capacity increases by over 33 per cent. The new Black Line Solution allows the high-speed market to benefit from the storage density, high system availability and implementation speed of our existing Red Line Solution whilst meeting the demands of their businesses. In addition to the new market sector, the modular design of AutoStore provides existing customers with the option of migrating to the higher speed technology when their business requires, with minimal system changes and minimal business interruption. Sustainability and energy efficiency are a rapidly growing requirement of all businesses and the low power consumption of the AutoStore system supports these sustainability and low energy business goals. AutoStore have clients who are operating a completely sustainable solution, where all power required is renewable and generated from solar energy.


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