Home > Case study: Dynamic flow storage systems reduce cost per pallet position by nearly a third compared to radio-shuttle storage

Case study: Dynamic flow storage systems reduce cost per pallet position by nearly a third compared to radio-shuttle storage


A comparative study recently published by Interroll reveal to planners and purchasers throughout the intralogistics sector, the systems that enable pallet warehouses with medium to high turnover rates to run economically. 

The findings are based on extensive calculations made by the management consulting firm Intralenco, based in Wiehl, Germany, which was commissioned by Interroll to conduct the study.

According to its findings, modern flow storage systems – depending on warehouse size and turnover speed – can reduce monthly costs per pallet position by up to 28 percent compared to manual radio-shuttle solutions. At the same time, warehouse capacity can be increased by up to 50 percent, which makes flow storage systems the best option in most cases, including modernisation projects.

Intralenco ran a series of comprehensive calculations to compare the operating costs of the various storage systems by factoring in initial outlay on hardware, assembly, use of floor space, energy costs, workforce requirements and depreciation. Flow storage and radio-shuttle systems of varying sizes (1000/3000/5000 pallet positions) and turnover rates (x 12/24/36/48 per year) were compared as part of this exercise.

The results show that the cost benefit of flow storage systems over radio-shuttle solutions rises significantly in direct relation to the speed of turnover and number of required pallet positions. This is attributed to reduced staff costs and a lower number of forklifts required. In addition, the growing diversity of items now being warehoused can require complicated, time-consuming and costly transfer of shuttles used in different storage lanes.

Bertrand Reymond, Managing Director of the global Interroll Centre of Excellence in La Roche sur Yon (France) explains performance and reliability combined with the lowest possible operating costs are key to successful material flow solutions. Interroll’s dynamic storage systems are used by global giants such as Procter & Gamble, Coca Cola, Red Bull and Coop; savings made on operating costs mean any initial investment on such flow storage systems is generally recovered in fewer than two years.

In an end-to-end economic assessment not only the initial investment but also the ongoing operating costs play a particularly important role. For instance, a study conducted by Leibniz University, Hannover, Germany in conjunction with Southeast University, Nanjing, China in 2012 showed that flow storage systems reduced the overall operating costs of internal logistics. 

Prof Dr Ing. Lothar Schulze, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University, Hannover, Germany comments that flow storage systems offer a manageable and high-performance logistics solution for production, sales and after-sales service. Wherever a limited number of fast-moving items are involved and the aspect of sustainable logistics is a strategic goal, flow storage systems with their compact, energy-efficient technology are hard to beat.

Modern dynamic storage systems produced by Interroll are characterised by their lane structures with individual lanes equipped with non-powered rollers. The movement of the loading units from entry into the lane through to the unloading position is generated by gravity. The loading units ‘flow’ through the lane over slightly declined roller conveyors, eliminating the need to lift and handle the pallets using mobile shuttles powered by electric motors. 

Interroll flow storage systems use conveyor rollers characterised by particularly long lifespans and reliability. Apart from their high availability and economical operating costs, flow storage systems offer users a range of other benefits including being easily adapted for use in integrated order picking or dispatch/provisioning systems, and offering the versatility to cope with different pallet sizes.

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