A Brief Guide to Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems

13 Feb

As the cost of energy, labour and operation skyrockets, businesses that rely heavily on cold storage warehouses look up to automation technologies to minimize expenses.

Automated Storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) are technically not new technologies. In fact, they’ve been available as early as in the 50s but it’s only until recently when it gained massive popularity - and since then, improvements have been made that have contributed to the affordability of the system as well as the expansion of its potential applications.

Is ASRS ideal for your business? Read further to find out.

What is ASRS?

ASRS cover a wide range of equipment used in warehouses such as carousels, vertical lift modules as well as fixed aisle storage and retrieval systems. So far, the storage and retrieval systems are regarded as the most practical solution for automating a warehouse. It primarily consists of:

•Storage and retrieval machines

•Conveyor interface

•Warehouse control system; and

•Rack structure

These systems are engineered to handle a wide selection of loads. But, for the typical warehouse, it can mean pallet loads and/or individual cases. They are particularly intended to significantly reduce operational costs at the same time, reduce space requirements, energy consumption and labour costs all at once.

The Benefits of ASRS

The cost-efficiency of automated storage and retrieval systems are realised in many ways:

Maximise Storage Space

ASRS is being widely utilised in cold storage facilities and the high-density, heavy-duty storage provided by ASRS allows business to maximise the vertical space of a facility and at the same time, minimise the footprint in the warehouse. What’s more, ASRS can stall the need for an expensive expansion at least for a good number of years.

Minimise Heat Loss 

In the same manner, high-density storage not only allows for a smaller area to cool, but also creates a compact environment that minimises heat loss. For instance, a smaller footprint translates into a smaller roof, preventing any chances of air to escape. Thus, it literally pays to keep the area as compact as possible.

Furthermore, automated storage also gains you control over the amount of warmer air that penetrates the temperature-cold area. For instance, an automated system allows for the entry and exit of pallets through a small opening that automatically closes once the pallets pass through.

Automate Palletising 

On top of all these, palletising is another part of operations that benefit from ASRS. For years, frozen product manufacturers have dealt with the challenges of palletising their products in an efficient and cost-effective manner. But, due to limitations in technology, products had to be taken out of the freezer to be palletised and conveyed back into the cooled environment.

These inconvenient trips can result in the introduction of ambient air into the freezer. With an ASRS, the loss of cooled air is minimized while still allowing pedestrians and other vehicles to pass through.

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