Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems

An Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) is a system that combines multiple pieces of computer-controlled equipment and control systems to store and retrieve materials for workers. Depending on their applications, these systems can vary widely in their size and in their level of automation.

AS/RS systems first appeared in the 1960s and originally focused on heavy pallet loads. However, as the technology in AS/RS systems has progressed, these systems have been able to assist with smaller and smaller loads and in greater varieties of scenarios. The engines of AS/RS systems are their specialized computers, which maintain information on item types, quantities, and locations. Storage and retrieval machines (SRM) are then sent to these locations to fetch the items and deliver them to manufacturing floors or loading docks.

Items can be stored in trays or hang from bars that use chains and drives to move the items up and down. Items can move vertically, horizontally, and laterally to provide efficient movement and storage options. AS/RS systems sometimes use additional systems like a series of conveyors and automated guided vehicles.

B2E Automation can provide cutting edge Automated Storage and Retrieval System solutions that will provide your company with the efficiency, safety, and speed needed to outperform your competitors.

Automated Storage Racks

Uses of Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems

Automated Storage and Retrieval systems can provide innovation and efficiency in many different areas that include:

  • The need for additional accuracy to prevent damage to loads
  • Assembly, where work parts are stored for later processing into final goods
  • Consolidation, where an area is provided to temporarily store different parts of an order until they can all be combined for shipment.
  • Retail, where a large number of items can be kept at a front desk in order to reduce the search time for employees and customers.
  • High volumes of loads being able to be moved in and out of storage
  • Support for Just In Time productions that require significant flexibility in storage and retrieval
  • Kitting, where an area is provided to arrange items to then be assembled for a final product
  • Order picking, where inventory is fetched for workers
  • Production, where component and tooling items are stored for manufacturing
  • Replenishment, where unused inventory is housed to then refill support systems
  • Load servicing for standard and nonstandard loads
  • Storage density concerns being alleviated and the ability to store small and large items for shorter or longer periods of time
  • Security, where a safe area is provided for storage that requires clearance and authentication
Plastic Storage Bins for Automated Storage

A World of Diverse Possibilities

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems vary widely and many different types of technology are utilized. B2E Automation can implement these different types of technology as individual systems or integrate them into larger systems or pods.

Our solutions include:

  • Cube-based storage that uses robots to retrieve and house bins from a storage area.
  • Fixed Aisle systems, which are usually larger systems where racks of pallets are set up with narrow aisles between them. A crane is then moved through these aisles to retrieve products.
  • Horizontal carousels that are made up a set of bins that rotate around an oval-shaped path. These bins have shelves that can be adjusted for a wide variety of situations. A worker enters a number or location to identify an item to be retrieved and then the carousel turns to provide the shortest path.
  • Mini-load systems that store smaller loads on pallets in storage rack structures.
  • Shuttles that can automate tote, tray, and carton handling, either separately or all together, for the manufacturing process or later storage. Horizontal movement is usually achieved by these independent shuttles that operate on a rack level and then a lift system provides the ability to move vertically.
  • Unit-load Automated Storage and Retrieval systems that store massive loads on pallets in storage rack structures that can reach heights of 100 feet or taller.
  • Vertical carousels that resemble Ferris wheels and rotate multiple storage carriers or shelves.
  • Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs) that store inventory in trays located in the front or rear of the system. When these trays are requested, an extractor is sent between the tray columns to retrieve a tray and then places that tray in a location that a worker can access. The worker picks or refills the tray and then the tray is returned to storage.

Benefits Compared to Traditional Systems

The benefits of an Automated Storage and Retrieval System are practically limitless.

Storage Robots 3D Render

Some of the most common benefits that B2E Automation can provide for your company include:

  • Labor and inventory cost reduction
  • Cutting expenses by reducing the amount of unnecessary parts and final products that are kept in storage
  • When storage is needed, improving the efficiency and organization of that storage
  • Heightened security
  • Considerably increased safety and reduced strain for workers
  • Greater inventory control with the ability to generate real-time updates
  • Significantly increased output, labor productivity, and accuracy
  • Providing a smooth and predictable flow between manufacturing and logistics so that a product’s creation and distribution can be easily mapped and examined
  • Better utilization of floor space
  • The ability to model and implement improved storage strategies. Rules can be coded into these systems so that products that are similar, or that are often ordered together, can be automatically stored next to each other for easier and faster fulfillment later on.

When Your Product Is Lost, So Are You

B2E Automation is the perfect solutions provider to implement or improve your enterprise’s Automated Storage and Retrieval System. With B2E Automation’s powerful reporting and inventory tools you will know where your product is right now, where it was, and where it’s heading.

B2E Automation thinks like a manufacturer. Allow us to predict your company’s needs and customize your solutions to give you the edge that your competitors don’t have. You know your company’s destination. We’ll automate the path.

Reach out to learn more about how B2E Automation's solutions can help transform your business.