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What are the types of ASRS Systems & their Applications?

Automated storage and Retrieval Systems enable businesses involved in order fulfilment and warehousing operations to automate their material and inventory handling functions. But there is never a one size fits all. The ASRS solutions available in the market can handle different types, volumes and velocities of inventory at variable speeds to ensure varying throughput demand for efficient material handling.

It can be broadly divided on the following basis:

  • Load based
  • Bot based
  • Carousel based
  • Miscellaneous

Load based Automated storage and retrieval system

Unit-Load ASRS

Unit load ASRS explanation

Unit-Load AS/RS are larger systems that typically store pallet loads. The system can take loads as large as 2500 Kgs and place them on pallets or within a container of that size, to handle odd shaped goods. In a crane-based unit load ASRS, it features one or more narrow aisles of storage rack structures specially designed for pallet racking. The structure can reach up to the height of 30 meters which is more than enough for a typical warehouse. The storage and retrieval machine (SRM) travels between the racking in two dimensions, instructed by software which dictates where and how items are placed in a particular location. Usually, the system contains one SRM per aisle. But in a high throughput system, multiple SRMs can be dedicated to single aisle and in case it is a slower system, one SRM can be allocated to multiple aisles.

Mini-load ASRS

Mini load ASRS explaination

Miniload ASRS are smaller systems that store items in totes, trays or cartons which typically weighs less than 50kgs. Similar to unit loader, miniload ASRS are generally composed of two aisles of narrow racking structure, between which an SRM moves in two dimensions. One of the main benefits of mini-load ASRS is its modularity. The height of the system can range from 8-12 meters, depending upon the requirement and space available.

Micro-load stocker ASRS

Micro-load ASRS are self-contained structures which store products densely into bins, stored and retrieved by an extractor and deliver the item to the operator at a pick face. The pick face of a micro-load stocker often uses a conveyor to bring a queue of items. There are different systems of micro-load stockers available in the market and each model performs the storage and retrieval operation in a distinct way. Micro-load stockers are typically integrated with other ASRS system, which serves to the buffer and stage items which reduce the need for conveyors in the warehouse and eventually increase the available floor space. It is especially suited for industries where picking and kitting operation requires fast throughput.

Bot-based Automated storage and retrieval system

Shuttle based ASRS

Bot based ASRS_Addverb

Shuttle based ASRS technology is suitable for both FIFO and LIFO configurations and deep-lane or shallow-lane storage structures. There are many kinds of shuttle based systems available in the market depending upon the shape, load, size etc and the nature of inventory. In this system, SRM is a shuttle or small robot. When an item is requested, it moves from the workstation to the racking where the items are stored. It retrieves the item and travels back to the workstation. In other systems, manual labor plus conveyors are used to move items from racking to the workstations.

For warehouses with low ceilings or other space restrictions for example cold storage, this type of ASRS solutions is the most suitable choice.

Floor Robots ASRS

Floor Robot Warehouse

Why go to the storage area when the storage area can come to you. Floor robots are self-mobile ASRS solution, store inventory on a portable storage shelving structure. This structure is retrieved and transported an area where the operator needs it and are moved across the facility by using AMRs. The structure returns to its allocated space once the operator selects the required item. The solution is suitable for slow to medium moving inventory. The solution is scalable as the operation can be easily expandable by increasing the number of AMRs into the system. The standard weight capacity for this solution is 500kgs per shelving system.

Carousel based Automated storage and retrieval system

Vertical Carousel

vertical carousal_Blog

The vertical carousel comprised of a series of carriers attached to a chain, which travels in a vertical loop around a track like a Ferris wheel. This solution is suitable for slow to medium moving inventory. On the command of the operator, the items are safely and quickly delivered to the ergonomically positioned workstation. Manufacturers introduce new additions to the solution, but the main concept of the technology remains the same.

The solution can be made scalable with the addition of light or voice-based picking technology that enables picking of multiple orders simultaneously. It typically offers the capacity of 750kg per carrier, the vertical carousel is a cost-effective and reliable solution.

Horizontal Carousel

Horizontal Carousel_Blog

Horizontal carousel is a highly dense storage structure where the bins are mounted on an oval track which rotates horizontally to perform storage and retrieval function. The solution is designed to store slow and medium moving inventory and can handle items and cases weighing up to 100kg. The structure is often installed in groups called pods to generate maximum speed and achieve maximum throughput. The solution can be made scalable with the addition of light or voice-based picking technology that enables picking of multiple orders simultaneously. This structure is also equipped with an automated door system which creates an enclosed solution. Overall, the system allows excellent space utilization and high storage density.

Miscellaneous

 

Vertical lift module ASRS

Vertical Lift Module_Blog

Although designed primarily for storing and retrieving slow to medium-moving products, VLMs (Vertical Lift Modules) are important components on the system side of supply chain flow. It is one of the best solutions for the facilities where the ceiling height goes up to 100 feet and have heavy items that require lifting assistance for the operator to handle them safely.

VLM consists of two columns of trays, parallelly facing each other and a mechanical extractor between them like the elevator. The mechanical extractor travels up and down between the columns automatically retrieving and storing the items from these trays stored on the columns. In warehouses, inventory is stored in these columns and by entering the tray number on the built-in control pad, the extractor triggers and retrieves the items from the columns by intelligently detecting the location of that item. This operation is applicable for extraction as well as replenishment of material inside the vertical storage module.

Hence, ASRSs can be relatively small but they are one of the most important subsets of equipment within a larger warehouse environment. ASRS systems can provide great value in all sectors but have special significance in Food & Beverages, Consumer Goods, Pharma, Dairy, Cold Store, and Metals. These systems can serve as the primary means of storing and retrieving product in the system. Depending on the system, AS/RSs can handle loads consisting of small parts or large, or multi-ton units.

 

 

 

 

Pre-requisites to be done before implementing an ASRS system

A well organised and automated warehouse enables the company to manage demand and order fulfilment needs efficiently. With the evolving technologies, Automated storage and Retrieval Systems allow warehouses to maintain a required level of inventory of products ranging between large and heavy to exponentially small material to store. Rise of ecommerce sector into the ecosystem has increased the demand for ASRS more than any thing as it has increased the order fulfilment requirements per day and now the manual operation cannot keep up with the today’s demand needs.

Today the organisations are eager to pick a system that addresses their sweet spot. To determine that sweet spot, the objectives to go for ASRS come into the discussion; and that covers the enhanced storage capacity and the picking throughputs that ASRS infuses into a warehouse. It further goes onto defining the inventory that needs to be handled in the warehouse, redundancy in the current operation and other constraints. Once this discussion ends, it counts the cherries coming with the cake. ASRS can introduce several benefits into the warehouse such as controlled access to your valuable inventory, increased accuracy of operation, increased workers’ productivity and the most important their safety.

Now, when ASRS has become the norm, let’s consider the checklist below before starting the process.

Data is the king and Analysis is the queen:

Successful implementation of ASRS requires extensive physical data of all your inventory. The order data includes both historical and required projections. The complete information of the inventory levels, SKU velocity classification is also taken into due consideration before going for an ergonomic design. Specifically, the data must be modelled to predict the required size and throughput capabilities of the system in the future. The optimal tools for efficient operations are dictated by product mix, order rate, minimum order quantities and type of fulfilment process, all of which differ by facility.

System configuration:

It must be decided what type configuration the system will have. First, there are the electrical and software setup of the system to functionally run and keep up with the high demand of the manufacturing process. Second, the physical input and output points of the system must be setup to be in a central location for all storage and retrieval requests.

Operational clarity:

Material to be handled in full pallets, mixed pallets, cases or cartons, kitting operations etc, all have different attributes in their storage and retrieval operations. It is imperative to determine how the new ASRS will impact the entire fulfilment process, including upstream manufacturing processes and downstream shipping operations.

Usage of other materials:

It is important to pre-determine the use of carrier boards, slip sheets, totes, and pallets. Also, it should be noted whether they are captive in the system or will they be induced at some other point in the process.

Facility evaluation:

If your ASRS requires a new building or a building modification, one must have the knowledge of and experience with various regulations influencing the project. This is especially true when considering modifications that are needed to incorporate a new storage system within an existing facility.

Customization:

If your solution is customised, then it should include a combination of products that are most appropriate for your application. All the options must be properly weighed of whether to opt for unit load ASRS crane or Unit load shuttle system. It must be evaluated AGVs will be considered for movement or it will be done in combination of manual and conveyors. Picking operation and technologies selection also has an eminent role in the process.

Software:

A fool-proof existing software or altogether new software integration is required into the system. It will include Software integration with warehouse management (WMS), warehouse control (WCS), warehouse execution (WES) and any enterprise resource management (ERP) systems.

What to skip?

It is important to call out the vulnerabilities of the system that might pop up while implementing ASRS. Light-duty storage systems are particularly unfortified which fails to deliver well-engineered equipment and software. Such system requires a high level of maintenance and experience an entangled web of mechanical, electrical and software problems.

The impact of the same can be shattering to small and medium sized businesses. Interrupted ASRS service extends from bearing the toll of measurable losses such as lost production, shipping revenue, increased costs of repair etc, to intangible losses such as diminished workforce confidence in the company’s operation.

Hence it is advisable to knock it out from the field on time.

Get set Go!                                                                            

If the above check-list is up to the mark and you have dealt with all the vulnerabilities that might crumble down the operation, you can go-ahead with the implementation of ASRS into your system. Hence the basic rule for setting the pre-requisition for businesses looking at using technology and automation, is to identify the functions that need tech intervention, the efficiencies and results it can provide and the level of disruption the transition process is likely to create. Once these three variables are accounted for, a business should not hesitate to embrace technology and automation.

 

 

What are vertical lift modules and how can they fit your warehouse?

Have you ever imagined your cupboard to be automatic? An automatic storage space where you just need to press a button and Voila! you have your required item served before you. But why do you need an automatic cupboard at the first place? May be not. But automation matters when there are a number of items to store and you need them in your hand really quick. A warehouse or a factory is a place where the above utopia will become a hysteria.  A vertical lift module is the technology that makes the above system possible. You must have seen elevators with doors that open on both the front and rear side. Similarly, VLM consists of two columns of trays, parallelly facing each other and a mechanical extractor between them like the elevator. The mechanical extractor travels up and down between the columns automatically retrieving and storing the items from these trays stored on the columns. In warehouses, inventory is stored in these columns and by entering the tray number on the built-in control pad, the extractor triggers and retrieves the items from the columns by intelligently detecting the location of that item. This operation is applicable for extraction as well as replenishment of material inside the vertical storage module.

Necessity and Invention, an old lore!

Manufacturers across the globe supply a wide range of products and hence manage the inventory of these wide range of product profiles. From slow movers to fast and from small items to large, material handling approaches vary if these manufacturers are to maintain efficiency. There are various technologies available for fast moving items but medium and slow movers also required a technology to sync with the level of operation.

Some of the leading manufacturing industries including automotive, metals and heavy machinery, semiconductors and electronics, and aviation started using VLMs for the storage and retrieval of components and raw materials which are either slow or medium movers. At present, almost 18% of the VLM is used by automotive end-user sector. Suppliers in this industry focus on managing large inventory effectively and also seek to reduce additional cost incurred due to damages in parts. They also intend to improve the storage capacity within the available floor space. These factors lead to the increase in adoption of VLMs in the automotive industry.

Is it your cup of tea?

Although designed primarily for storing and retrieving slow to medium-moving products, VLMs (Vertical Lift Modules) are important components on the system side of supply chain flow. It is one of the best solutions for the facilities where the ceiling height goes up to 100 feet and have heavy items that require lifting assistance for the operator to handle them safely.

Those industries where the inventory mix changes very frequently, and the stored parts record highly variable sizes and weights.

VLMs are used most often for order picking, consolidation, kitting, parts handling, buffering, inventory storage, buffer storage, and numerous other similar operations.

How does it make an impact?

Over the next five years the Vertical Lift Module (VLM) market will register a 7.9% CAGR in terms of revenue. The global market size will reach US$ 474.1 million by 2024, from US$ 350.2 million in 2019. The usage of VLM is industry agnostic but at the same time process specific. It is basically developed to optimise the picking operations of a workspace. The innovative automated storage technologies and vertical module will save your team both time and resources in your picking operations. Below are some brownie points which can deliver the ergonomics to operations with a touch of a button on a control device:

  • Vertical space utilisation: In order to match storage requirement in a facility, these VLMs can be built as high as the available y-axis overhead space, which otherwise be wasted. It is ideal for reducing the floor space requirements for stored materials. This reduction of valuable square feet can be as much as 90% compared to the traditional shelving system.
  • Enhanced Productivity: VLM reduces the wait time after a pick. Once the picker completes one picking operation, the next closest required item gets delivered. This eliminates the requirement of memorising the location of an item by a picker and makes the operation many times faster and approximately 200-400% more productive.
  • Safety: It tremendously reduces operators’ risk as everything inside is automatic. The obstacle detecting sensor mechanism makes it a complete safe technology to be used for a picking and overall order fulfilment operation.
  • Seamless Integration: VLMs can be used stand-alone or with the existing WMS software to manage the space and utilization of units, which allows you to easily manage the automatic vertical warehouse and all the information systems in one simple, convenient location.
  • Minimise Damages: The system ensures almost zero damages, caused while handling the items in a picking process while maintaining a smooth traceability of each and every item inside the vertical storage system.

Considering the benefits mentioned above on a quite macroscopic level, VLM is the best technology or tool to meet each organization specific business and warehouse requirements. With its compact size, it is ideal for storing and picking items such as electronic components, pharmaceuticals, and tools. It is best applicable for slow to medium moving order fulfilment applications as part of a facility and organization which is emerging in its industry in terms of scale and trying to hit the “benchmark” level performances!

Digital Twin in warehouses – advantages, applications & end user impact

The logistics industry has undergone continual advancements in the last decade and eventually created various opportunities for supply chain professionals. Technology opens up new possibilities and hence companies acing technology in the supply chain arena have found innovative ways to embark on a journey to unmatched efficiency and utmost customer satisfaction. But one of the most riveting technology in this space comes in the form of digital twin technology.

Digital Twin technology in the warehouse operates via feeding the data into aa virtual system. Combining this data with the Internet of things (IoT) bridges the physical warehouse with a unique virtual representation that monitors which exactly replicates the actual warehouse operations and further used to simulate the actual setup. It helps to make better decisions in real-time and facilitates clarity of communication among supervisors and managers due to information symmetry. It has resulted in the reduced go-to-market time by using virtual simulation of warehouse operations.

Unraveling the History

As a concept, digital twin became popular in 2002 but it was first used by NASA as a way to operate and repair their systems, located far away roaming in the galaxy. It proved out to be much productive in controlling and mirroring the systems after sending them out of earth’s biosphere. Now, armed with machine learning, artificial intelligence, and IoT data and devices, digital twins have evolved to an entirely new level of potential.

Application: Disrupting the status quo

Digital twins in the warehouse are creating an opportunity for companies to reimagine and re-examine their layouts and operations. When companies design the exact digital model of their physical layouts, it unlocks the way to experiment with multiple permutations & combinations and simulate to come up with different scenarios. It is operationally cost-effective as the results of the new design can be witnessed without risking the actual current operations. For example, Addverb uses this technology to simulate the warehouse layout designs via virtual 3D modeling, while proposing a solution to the customer and the results of the suggested design can be evidenced in the digital format. This allows the customer to do a cost-benefit analysis and throughput testing. This will help in keeping a track of the impact of the new solution on the current level of operation basis a data-driven decision. In the end, this will give companies the tools to create improved physical warehouse layouts while increasing the productivity of the workers. It helps the supervisors and managers to use real-time operational data to make informed decisions to reduce congestion, improve resource planning, and allocate workload.

What does the Industry say?

The project demonstrated so far based on digital twins helped in the development of risk-free approaches for testing in an agile way with a whole suite of technology to back them up. Industry researchers expect the market for the digital twins to grow 38% up to become US $26 billion by 2025.

Giants in the space of Industrial automation such as GE and Siemens are harnessing the possibilities of this technology for product development and management with new insights.

How does it matter?

The conventional modeling of machines and parts do not take into consideration the way in which parts wear out and replaced or how often the owners make modifications to them as per their requirement. With the advent of the digital twins, any changes made with the physical objects will also be reflected in the digital model of the object, changing the entire process drastically, something which was a mere imagination until now.

Instead of expensive and time-consuming experiments, the changes and new proposals can be incorporated in the virtual model and analysis can be done on the efficacy of the solution. Specifically to the warehouse, digital twin facilitates end-to-end traceability of assets, pallets, and packages to ensure operational efficiencies in logistical operations.

Digital twin technology has the potential to transform the logistics industry that can aid decision making while allowing a better perception of the future evolution of the operations. This technology will eventually lead to expedite the implementation of Industry 4.0 across the globe and this reign is in the hands of the logistic professionals to adopt the technology in their own operations.

The rise of automation in 3PL industry

How you sell matters, what is your process matters but how your customers feel when they engage with you matters more. Selling is the most exciting part of a business. But what happens when a customer places an order? It has to reach the right person, at the right place and at the right time. And here come the 3rd party logistics providers in the picture to ease the above task. With the changing supply chain dynamics, the 3PL suppliers have geared up to become the catalyst in the chain to ensure accurate and timely order fulfilment.

To become the real catalyst in the process the industry has set to make moves towards advancing their operations through technical innovations such as automation and advanced software solutions. With the emerging ecommerce sector, 3 PL industry has to undergo several operational shifts in order to meet the ever-surging demand. It is changing the shape of e-commerce product distribution by providing a range of flexible storage and distribution services to its customers.

 

An amalgamation of 3PL and automation

1) Pick-Pack-Ship:

A 3PL company is more than simply a partner in the value chain for a company. It organizes the whole process of order fulfilment and owns it end to it till the last-mile delivery. Vast item selections, omnichannel order fulfilment, same-day shipping options, and advanced order tracking have all become necessities to compete for business. And this is where automation becomes an inevitable choice for 3PL providers. Solutions such as automated picking technologies and automated storage & retrieval system act as a catalyst in the operation.

2) Brains in Motion:

3PL partners use intelligent software to process the entire order fulfilment in cohesion and coordination. Automation fulfils this requirement of 3PLs and boosts the efficiency at every stage, be it picking, kitting or assembly operation.

3) Store-in-the-Hump:

3PL companies facilitate inventory management and handling peak season demands. AI-powered solutions in 3rd party logistics inventory management allow for systematic storage and retrieval of warehouse material, streamlined inventory management, and facilitation of order fulfillment.

4) Space No bar:

With many 3PLs serving different customers, space optimization is essential when housing so many SKU varieties in a single warehouse. Automation in 3PL can augment warehouse height utilization, unlocking higher storage capacity thus delivering more value for the same floor space.

5) Returns are welcomed:

Returns handling accounts for almost 30% of the purchase price in an ecommerce business. The modular features of a robust software solution ensure effortless handling of returns via proper data integration across all systems thus enhancing supply chain & inventory management, with positive ripples spreading to deliver enhanced customer experience and satisfaction.

In recent years, the 3PL industry has expanded at an unprecedented rate with an increase in revenue of 21.6 percent between 2017-2019. This unrelenting growth is attributed to the aspirations of retailers to stay competitive and meet increasing consumer expectations for on-time and accurate deliveries. They are tapping 3PL providers to augment their order fulfilment capabilities. The global 3PL market is projected to reach over $1,100 Billion by 2024 as a wide range of industries turn to these providers to handle various levels of warehousing, order picking, packing, transportation, and shipping operations.

Some of the 3PL players still deter to adopt automation into their system. Unpredictability in ROI is one of the top reasons for keeping this contention. Also, there are uncertainties around the investment option in a rigid automation solution for a customer today that might not even be in the warehouse tomorrow. The new-age automation is breaking all these fallacies and emerging out as the unanimous choice for all the 3rd party logistics providers. Automated warehouses and distribution solutions have become flexible and scalable enough to deal with the dynamics of business in today’s era and ensure smooth material handling to achieve unmatched efficiency in the warehouse.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality, to change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” and technology in building these new models every day for every industry!

Are cobots the next wave of warehouse automation?

Robots are being used in the space of automation since a decade back and have undergone several updates during this period.

Collaborative robots or Cobots, are currently facing its boom period leveraging its easy configuration and app-based controls. Invented in 1996, cobots have just started making impact on various industries across the globe. These robots unlock the way to automation for almost every size of business. It is renowned as one of the cost-effective automation solutions which will work alongside humans, enhancing their capacities and simultaneously building their skills.

What is inside?

Cobots have built in safety mechanism including power and force limiting technologies which make them safe to collaborate with human operators. Cobots are fashioned with inherent safety features like force feedback and collision detection. Hence, they are more precise, powerful and collaborative and take lesser time to deploy as compared to their conventional and bulky counterparts. For companies with seasonal demands, dynamic product lines or multiple process can opt for cobots which can also be moved between different tasks.

They are equipped with sensors, smart technologies and systems which are linked with IOT and specific systems. For the purpose of distance sensing, cobots are in-built with vision or radar sensors. This helps them to implement speed and separation monitoring. Non-ergonomic workstations can be greatly improved with the help of robots. Cobots are enabled with verbal command functions and incorporate voice interpretation.

 

Market speaks

As per BIS Research, by 2021, the collaborative-robot market is expected to grow to approximately $2 billion and 150,000 units. Several other industries are also looking towards cobots as a way of introducing the new automation future.

 

How do they add value?

Many businesses which are at their nascent stage of automation can see cobots as their tool to take their next step towards automation. One of the major benefits of cobots is its built with easy programming that allows even an inexperienced user to learn the process by simply moving the robotic arm to the desired waypoint and using a touchscreen to set the required actions. It involves a user-friendly software and mobile applications for the cobot to learn new actions on the go by leveraging the capabilities of artificial intelligence. By using a cobot, the programming can be performed on one unit and can be copied to others, making it quickly redeployable to different processes. This also include a much lesser cost than the traditional robots and generate a better ROI. As already mentioned, it provides safe collaboration to work alongside humans, providing the worker with an extra set of hands. Unlike cobots, the guarding and safety mechanism of traditional robots is bulky and expensive. Cobots are lightweight and easily movable to different places as well as different tasks. They are more consistent and accurate than humans and hence the errors are minimized in the operations.

Cobots play a big role in the development of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things. These days cobots area being used for various tasks such as pick and place, finishing tasks, Process Tasks (which requires a tool to interact with a workpiece), packaging and palletizing, quality inspection etc. Right now, we’re at a tipping point whereby there aren’t too many hurdles anymore to leverage this technology. We may count it as the day 0, when cobots will transform the trends in the automation sphere and will realize the implementations of Industry 4.0.

Has Pick by voice become The New Black in the space of automation?

If you are still wondering about why over half a million people are talking about Voice-based picking, then keep on reading. Speech recognition has become dramatically popular in our daily lives and subsequently finds tremendous potential in the space of warehouse automation. Due to the advance NLP platform, it’s time for pick by voice technology to flourish as a technology since it has become sound and pronunciation agnostic. Each year thousands of users are adopting this new technology for the purpose of executing the warehousing operations and distribution center task management. The voice-based technology is more intuitive and improves the configurability and flexibility required for the smooth functioning of workflow processes. It improves the operating efficiency and results in profitability for the business leading to more bang for the buck.

Voice Vs HHT? Game Over For HHT
While the handheld terminal technology burdens the worker with a device in a hand, due to which the actual picking operation can be performed by only one hand or the HHT has to be tucked in for every pick operation, leading to higher time for picking. Furthermore, scanning takes more time resulting in lesser efficiency. This also takes higher training time than voice-based picking solutions. HHT creates obstacles in hand which when free can carry out multiple tasks increasing the picking per minute and hence the productivity is multiplied many times.

Order Picking With Voice – How it works?
With Pick by voice technology, the operator is given a smartphone-enabled with the voice-based app, powered by Natural Language Processing platform linked with a headset which helps them to accept audio instructions and deliver voice confirmations. The picklist is pushed to the system and the picker is directed to a specific location in the aisle where he is to perform the picking operation. Once the picker is an incorrect aisle, he confirms that he is at the correct bin location by reading out the check digit. After this, the system will deliver the required quantity to be picked and the picker confirms this process after picking that required quantity of units. Confirming this will lead him to the next picking location for the next picking operation. The voice-based system will also optimize the pick path so as to ensure that the operator has to cover the minimum distance. Walking alone takes between 45-60% of the total time of a picker’s operation and optimization helps to bring thigs unproductive activity to 15-35%. This ensures the efficiency of the workforce as they do the picking operation throughout the day.

Benefits of Voice-based picking
This paperless and hands-free technology drives a worker towards better efficiency by minimizing errors and improving picking accuracy. It increases the accuracy of operations by 35% reducing the chance of picking the wrong item due to lack of concentration. It creates a dialogue between the final required operation and the worker through the simplest means of conversation i.e. your own voice in your own language. By leveraging the services provided by today’s Internet of things, voice-based picking leads to better inventory positioning and fulfillment operations. Along with providing free hands to carry out various operations on the go, it also includes reporting tools that improve the functioning of your already existing WMS. This provides better scope for the management to anticipate workforce situations and make an informed decision later on. Most importantly, it keeps the worker focused enough while doing the picking operation resulting in better efficiency and far better accuracy. The headphones used in this process are mostly enabled with noise cancellation so that the worker would not get distracted from the assigned task. The constant confirmation through voice ensures that the process is running in a highly accurate and productive manner. Since the eyes of the picker are also free, there is increased safety as compared to the paper-based system where the picker has to keep his eyes stuck on the paper to ensure the right item is picked in the right quantity. It requires a training time of an average 15 minutes which reduces the conventional training time by 67%.

Finally, this whole process results in better employee satisfaction resulting in decreased labor turnover. Various studies have concluded that after implementing this technology the employee turnover has decreased by 50%. There is various Pick by voice providers in the market today which enables your picking solution to result in more efficiency and productivity. For Indian conditions, Addverb’s Voice-Based Picking is 3 times more efficient then HHT based picking.

Have you met this duo yet, to transform your storage space?

Mother-child shuttle system aka mini-load ASRS has been having a bit of a moment from the last few years due to its extensive adoption in warehouses and order fulfillment operations. This technology utilizes the capacity of the warehouses in cubic feet over the earlier means where it used to utilize its capacity in square feet. It is designed to optimize the space used within the warehouses in order to obtain a higher level of productivity and efficiency. This system integrates the automated hardware with the software for the accurate picking and replenishment process. This results in a reduction of inventory level and material handling inconveniences while increasing the productivity and accuracy of the warehouse as compared to the manual storage systems. But why we are calling it Mother-child specifically and how is it different from the already known ASRS of your dictionary? Let’s delve deeper into its functioning to unravel all these mysteries.

How does it function?
The mother-child shuttle system is a fully automated and equally versatile storage and retrieval mechanism for multi deep pallet storage. It consists of a Mother shuttle powered by bus bar, which runs on a track perpendicular to the pallet storage in the racking system. It has a pallet shuttle aka child in it which performs the function of storage and retrieval. This system is integrated with vertical lifts that carry the load to its destined position. Once the vertical lift reaches its designated position, the mother shuttle reaches there along with the child. The child takes the load and gets inside the Mother shuttle to again move on the track in order to reach the next destination. Retrieval of loads also happens through the same process.

Benefits
Industry 4.0, individualization and digitalization are making such storage technology more important than ever, especially in retail, e-commerce, and multi-channel. The mother-child shuttle system is suitable for multi-deep storage and provides high throughput & facilitates storage up to 10 pallets per square meter. You can avail the benefits mentioned below by adopting Mother-child shuttle system in your warehouse:

• Every loading level has one mother and one child aka pallet shuttle which can go up to 15 levels high.
• In this system, the Mother shuttle offers a carrying speed of up to 3 m/s, and the child gives a speed of 0.8 to 1.1 m/s with an acceleration of 1.5 meters per second squared. The Lift offers a throughput of 60 to70 pallets /hour.
• It has a high load-carrying capacity. The whole system can carry a load up to 1500kgs.
• With a fast battery charger, it can get charged in 30 minutes and lead a cycle of 10 hours.
• It involves advanced safety and accuracy features that provide 100% accuracy in the positioning of the load and the pallet.
By incorporating the mother-child shuttle system into your warehouse operation, you can achieve a significant boost in efficiency, cost-savings, and productivity. Today automation is the key and is being adopted by many industries where storage is one giant task. There are various Automated Storage and Retrieval systems in the market and which technology ultimately makes the most sense for you to include in your operation depends on a number of factors including rate, your typical order, the type of product that you handle, and more. If you are also looking for an efficient storage and retrieval mechanism for your warehouse, then Addverb technologies are one such stop.

Which factors to keep in mind before implementing a Goods to Person Automation Solution to your warehouse?

Have you ever imagined what caused the implementation of Goods to person automation solutions in the warehouses? For decades, warehouses used person to goods solutions to fulfill the supply chain requirements. But with the growth in e-commerce and change in market dynamics, Goods to person automation solutions are gaining popularity as the panacea to solve the present-day demands. Though Goods to person picking solutions have recently gained a lot of traction, their existence dates back as decades old. However, new technology and software advancements have resulted in its efficient functionality and optimum productivity.

On one hand, companies are exploring options like mobile robots and shuttle robots to increase throughput with the increasing number of SKUs. On the other hand, companies with a low number of SKUs but high-volume storage requirements are also opting for goods to person automation. So, let’s understand what are some of the situations that make you think of giving serious consideration for Goods to Person automation.

• Does your warehouse require significantly high picking throughputs than through manual picking methods?
• Do you plan to utilize the vertical space of your warehouse and get an additional storage area?
• Does your warehouse host a huge number of SKUs and with high velocities?
• Does your inventory prone to external circumstances and hence require special safety?
• Recently it has been found that 87% of the theft occurs in warehouses and freight yards. Does your warehouse also report increased pilferage?
• Are you facing increased picking travel and reduced throughputs?
• Do you require complete accuracy in your retrieval and storage operations?
• Do you require an ergonomic way for the movements in your warehouse?
Goods to person automation should be seen from the lens of process automation, as there is no single solution that can solve your problem in its entirety. Hence, a plug and play approach to combine the solutions which suit best to your operation will result in the successful deployment of automation. There is rarely a single G2P solution that suits every distribution center and its SKU storage demands.

Depending on the operation, pickers in many G2P environments can achieve 500-plus lines per-hour (LPH). This is comparatively much higher than what is achieved in a P2G environment. Inventory profiling through ABC classification of goods is one of the pre-requisites before deciding to go with P2G or G2P automation.
Companies like Kiva, Dematic, Swisslog, GreyOrange, Autostore are working towards introducing innovative technologies and are evolved to deal with the rapid and accurate throughput for a growing number of SKUs and low volume orders. Addverb as a global robotics company has evolved to disrupt the Goods to person automation sphere providing process automation to your current operating facility. Its wide range of portfolios includes shuttle robots and mobile robots which enable end to end G2P automation in your warehouse system. Right now, 3PL’s are increasingly looking at G2P automation capabilities but it may take a few more years for them to completely go with G2P.

So, after breaking the pallets the individual cartons have to be stored efficiently and have to be retrieved quickly for order packing. Hence quick throughputs for the material handling are important, to achieve the same was invented the carton shuttle system as a mini-form of the Pallet Shuttle.

Is Sorting Robot the Sortation solution for businesses today?

Have you ever imagined a warehouse in the form of a video game consisting of an army of speed cars rushing their way off on the raging roads? You probably won’t have, but automation has turned this imagination into reality. In recent years, Sorting Robot has emerged as one of the finest sortation solution so far in the automation and distribution space. Industries that have a short delivery cycle and a high volume of delivery, should follow this new trend to optimize their operational efficiency. This will help them to remain competitive in the fast-paced environment where transactions happen over a click of the button on a tab. The sorting robot system has gained high acceptance in the logistics industry, transformed from a labour-intensive industry to batch intelligence.

Currently, the Indian ecommerce industry is valued at $200 Bn and is expected to grow to $1.2 Tn by 2021 as per Deloitte India and Retailers Association of India (RAI) report. At this pace, it would amount to one lac deliveries per day for an average logistics or e-commerce warehouse. This huge demand requires a unique solution and sorting robot is one such gem. Now, Let’s delve deeper into its functioning.

How does it work?
As already mentioned, sorting robots is an army of fast-moving robots working on collision avoidance technology, that perform route wise sorting operations by reading the bar codes around the area where they operate. The process is completely automated, ensures safety, efficiency and accuracy. The operators place the parcel on the automated sorting robot, it carries the parcel through the portal frame and read the order information. It automatically weighs the parcel as well and displays all the necessary information on the operator interface system. Fleet management system manages this army of robots in coordination with one another and manages all the control and scheduling. Each robot is deployed on the most optimized path for delivery based on the algorithm used. These robots use the auto-detection of obstacles to mutually dodge each other during the sorting operation. When the sorting robot reaches its destination, it stops running and pushes the parcel on its back into a sorting bin (chute). The parcel falls into the sorting bin and thus the sorting operation comes to an end. There can be multiple sorting bins as per the volume of operation.

Benefits
Earlier, it used to be 450 parcels per hour by operating it through complete human labour. But by adding sorting robots to the system, it has revolutionised to sortation of 20000 parcels per hour along with greater accuracy. Following are some added benefits of this sortation solution:

• Continuous loading & unloading of parcels increases cycles/hour in inventory function, hence eliminating errors and increase in productivity.
• There is no need of an operator inside the storage lanes, it permits a rapid execution of sorting operation which saves a lot of time. Hypothetically, the total amount of calculations completed by this automated system in ten minutes is equivalent to the daily take-off and landing operations at an International airport.
• The sorting robot system is fully automatic as it reduces the manual dependency and manual errors to 80% of traditional sorting work.
• With lesser human dependency, this automated sortation solution ensures the safety of operation.
• The system is completely flexible and the increase in operations volume can be handled by simply increasing or decreasing the number of bots in an existing setup.
• The installation time comes drastically down as compared to a conventional sortation system.

Deploying sorting robots reduce the need of manual operations to be dedicated to sorting. Today automation is seeping into many industries and, sorting is one of the major tasks at hand. By harnessing this technology, the sorting operation can become a lot more efficient and effective at the same time. There are various sorting robots available in the market today which enables your sortation process accurate and automated. Addverb Technologies is one such solution provider whose sorting robots work on an efficiency rate of 20000 picks per hour. Reach out to us on https://www.addverb.in to know how sorting robots can benefit your warehouse.