The automatic high-bay storage warehouse is mostly used in places where the maximum use of given space and reduced manual operations are required.
Designing high-bay storage warehouses, due to the automation process, enables the construction of a racking system utilising the maximum available space. The automation of warehouses can double the storage space compared to the traditional solutions applied in identical area conditions. Additionally, due to advanced automation and control systems, the resulting efficiency far surpasses the one of conventional, manual systems. The additional benefit is the increased safety of employees and stored goods, ongoing stock control, streamlined in/out processes, elimination of the errors associated with manual operation, complete system management software.
Automatic stacker cranes or special forklifts which can lift heavy loads (pallets) and other containers to very high levels, reach the most inaccessible places in the warehouse. Stacker cranes are special machines moving along the rack alleys, providing loading/unloading in a single machine work cycle.
The automated high-bay storage systems can be divided as follows:
The solution manages the automatic storage area for containers/boxes. The containers/boxes are taken in and out of the area with automatic stacker cranes. A particular case is the MiniLoad module with picking channels into which the containers assigned for picking (e.g. Pick to Light) are transported.
MiniLoad storage applicability:
• Small parts warehouse with high flow intensity,
• Tool shops,
• Buffer warehouses for picked containers/boxes awaiting shipment,
• Supply of the Pick-to-Light and Put-to-Light picking systems.
Solution based on the MFCS (Material Flow Control System) system is also compatible with automated transport.
The solution enables the management of an automated pallet storage area. In the area, the pallets are brought in and removed with stacker cranes from transport conveyors, without the involvement of operators. Multiple configurations of the storage area are possible – the number of alleys, parameters of racks and bays and many other factors can be adjusted. Depending on the required efficiency of the solution, single or multiple-alley stacker cranes can be used. The system also enables the storage of pallets at various depths in the storage location (channel) – resulting in the possibility of a more compact warehouse.
Automated storage areas are mostly used in large pallet warehouses where it is necessary to:
• Optimise the use of storage space,
• Maintain high speed of pallets receiving and release,
• Ensure appropriate storage conditions (e.g. cold storage, freezers),
• Limit human error as far as possible.
The solution can be compatible with automated transport as well as semi-automatic and automatic picking stations.
Picking is one of the core phases of the storage process. Flexible picking systems optimise the process and streamline logistics services – they are the foundation of an efficient distribution centre. The selection of an optimum software solution and innovative technologies enable more precise order completion and warehouse stock monitoring.
Picking automation is the most important when the stored goods are moved from the storage area (usually using an automated system of forklifts, stacker cranes, conveyors and/or racks) to special picking stations, where the employees can pick and place them on the ordered transport unit.
The process of designing an automated storage system assumes the possibility of adjusting the parameters of the system in the scope of selecting structure sizes, work cycles, software and optimal adaptation to the particular conditions of a company’s warehouse.
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