In warehousing operations, storage and retrieval systems play a hugely important role. Now in the age of technology, it is far more beneficial to have automation applied in every bit of warehousing operations, including the WMS as well as the different operations where human labor was involved. These automated storage systems are extremely effective and outshine the traditional storage systems by a huge margin. They are extremely fast, precise, accurate and the machines allow no scope for human errors. ASRS coupled with Stacker Cranes is exceptionally systematized and labor-saving when it comes to loading and unloading of goods such as pallets and storage containers.
What is a Stacker Crane : Stacker Crane is a machine that operates similar to the forklift as it runs seamlessly on the aisle, over the rails mounted on the floor, between the Racks and Shelves and executes the loading and unloading operations in a quiet and steady manner. The stacker crane gains ingress into an aisle places itself precariously in front of the concerned spot and performs the operations of placing or extraction of goods on or from the desired location. The total system of the stacker crane is powered by the Warehouse Management System. The crane is capable of handling goods of any dimensions and weight and has access to lofty heights as much as 40 meters’ which is essential to salve on expensive floor space.
The utility of the stacker crane lies in the fact that it is flexible and compliant for various load requirements and offers the ease of installation anywhere in the warehouse. The stacker crane works with extreme pace and precision and automatically furnishes the load to the exact location where they are wanted. Time is an important factor that is saved, thanks to the operation of the stacker crane which is controlled by WMS and thus leaves no space for manual errors.
The stacker crane has the ability to extract and position materials from and on different heights with utmost precision and safety. Stacker Cranes can access loads up to 3000 kgs. Warehouses having high-density storage have an automatic choice in opting for stacker cranes as they have high speed and accuracy because they are devoid of human intervention and are totally controlled by machines. This fall in the human errors, that occurs during loading and unloading operations is crucial for the increase of overall productivity and thus human skills can be efficiently put to use in other sectors where they are required.
- Mini load ASRS : The mini-load ASRS can be defined as a subunit of ASRS with stacker cranes. Its main feature is that it lets the user store a maximum number of goods in a limited space. The mini-load ASRS is ideally designed for lightweight goods like cartons, bins, totes, etc and not for heavyweight goods like palletized items.
- Unique features of ASRS with Stacker Crane : The salient features of ASRS with stacker crane which result in advantageous situations can be enumerated below.
- Automation: The automation involved in the storage and retrieval of goods through ASRS with stacker cranes results in a huge spike in productivity which benefits in warehouse operations as it also creates a good financial bottom line for the organization.
- High-Density Storage: The ASRS coupled with stacker crane is especially effective for warehouses with high-density storage. The high intensity of inventory operations in any warehouse is best suited for ASRS with stacker cranes.
- Speed: The ASRS with stacker cranes run on rails mounted over the floor in the aisles between Racks and Shelves and hence have enormous speed with which they perform the storage and retrieval operations.
- Minimization of errors: Since it is controlled totally by WMS and is itself a mechanized contraption, the scope for human errors becomes negligible.
- The efficiency of space: The ASRS with stacker crane has the ease of access to unused heights, as high as 40 meters. It can easily handle goods that weigh up to 3000 kgs. Therefore a lot of expensive floor area is spared as the goods can be neatly stacked in previously unutilized heights.
- Safety and accuracy: Since it is machine-controlled, the safety and precision of ASRS are much beyond human capabilities.
The disadvantages of ASRS with stacker cranes lie in the fact that they are excess for warehouses with low intensity of storage and picking operations and have a high initial installation cost and regular maintenance. Apart from these few, ASRS with stacker crane is an ideal option for most modern warehouses.