Part two of a two part series on how to reduce operating costs through better warehousing and storage operations.
With warehouses and distribution centres now a key part of manufacturing supply chains, especially with the dramatic increase in on-line shopping, it is increasingly important that these facilities operate as efficiently as possible.
In recent years there have been some major advances in picking technologies to reduce costs and improve accuracies and efficiencies.
In this part of the series we focus on automated order fulfilment systems.
Mike Khodl, VP Solution Development with Dematic , a global leader in intelligent logistics and materials handling solutions, says multi-channel distribution is driving important changes in the industry today.
"Retailers want to fill orders for large and small store formats and e-commerce from a single inventory cube."
To do that, he said, they need to transition from batch-based to dynamic, on-demand workflows because they no longer know what their workload will look like ahead of time."
"Our solutions for multi-channel distribution operations are centred around modules that scale to changing operational needs and growth, and have peak capacity flexibility built in to accommodate seasonal, promotional and weekly order volumes," Khodl said.
The company's Multishuttle automated order fulfilment system, for example, offers the storage, handling, buffering, staging and sequencing of totes, cases and trays in high volume order fulfilment operations.
Instead of the cranes typically used in automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), Multishuttle systems use a fleet of self-propelled carts to retrieve and put goods away in a space-efficient storage system, at very high speeds. Lifts at the end of each aisle transfer goods in and out of the system via integrated conveyors.
In a significant upgrade, Dematic's second generation Multishuttle 2 incorporates advanced engineering, lightweight aluminium construction and a new load extractor for faster operating speeds, higher payload capacity and multi-deep storage capability. Designed to supply sequenced products for order fulfilment, pick face replenishment or mixed case palletising, Multishuttle 2 can be utilised in a wide range of applications from short-term buffer storage to production support.
The all-new design Standard, Flex and Belted Multishuttles enable the system to be tailored to meet each user's unique product handling requirements.
With telescopic arms that automatically adjust to the width of the load to be handled, Multishuttle 2's Flex option enables the rapid retrieval of variable load sizes and types of packaging, without the use of trays.
The eight-finger design of the load extractor and overlapping telescopic arms enables Multishuttle 2 carts to store products single, double, or multi-deep.
Load capture fingers are carbon fibre reinforced for long-term performance, while the new load extractor design minimises space between products, maximising storage density, and can be configured to handle loads up to 50kg in a range of widths from 150-650mm, lengths from 200-875mm, and from 50-600mm high.