New solutions move product up and out

The AS/RS market is expected to witness a CAGR of 10.18% during the forecast period 2019-2024, according to the mordor Intelligence study. And, most of this is due in large part to never AS/RS developments designed to move product up and out.

For instance, Viastore introduced fully integrated refrigerated and frozen pallet AS/RS for production, distribution and 3PL support, including automated layer picking, semi-automated individual case picking and automated transport to the shipping dock.

For its part, Hanel introduced Smart Picking, a pick-and-put system that relies on commercially available "off-the-shelf" web devices. Hanel also introduced a Lean-Lift Vertical Lift Module enabled with storage system operation via smartglasses, which is said to be the first solution of its kind worldwide. A user wears smartglasses to view inventory information in one lens of the glasses while performing warehouse transactions through pick-by-voice. The user verbalizes the desired shelf to be brought from storage, and the Hanel unit automatically brings it to the access point.

And, Swisslog worked with Stemilt Growers to help the Wenatchee, Wash.-based grower and distributor of fresh fruits consolidate inventory into one automated distribution center. 

"Very clear-automation drives improved performance and reliability vs. manual operations," says Leber. "Reliability of automation today is far better than what has been experienced in the past, in large part due to loT, or better termed 'remote monitoring/remediation.' Moving forward, condition monitoring of key components is starting to replace time-scheduled preventative maintenance, further reducing costs and increasing up times." 

Swisslog is also developing a "digital twin" model of the key drive component that enables supervisory controls to perform proactive part changes upon end-of-life, and alert end-users of components performing outside acceptable norms. 

Despite the influx of more complex supply chains, today's AS/RS are in position to handle variability, variety and high volume at higher speeds.