UNIT LOAD Automated Storage & Retrieval
Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems—usually referred to as AS/RS systems—are computer-controlled systems used for storing and retrieving products in warehouses. These AS/RS systems require the use of virtually no manual labor.
Unit-Load AS/RS systems are bigger systems that typically store pallet loads. Smaller systems, which are commonly called Mini-Load AS/RS, allow selection of items in totes, trays, or cartons.
AS/RS systems are configured with pallet rack laid out with narrow aisles between. A crane with a tall mast travels through the aisle and moves vertically and horizontally to storage picking positions. When the AS/RS system crane reaches the storage location, a carriage travels up the mast to the picking spot. It uses an automatic mechanism then reaches into the storage location to retrieve or return the pallet load.
The Unit-Load AS/RS systems are designed for larger loads which are pallets or pallet-sized loads. Some systems are over 100 feet tall. Whatever the application, UNARCO’s system engineering can design an AS/RS application to maximize pallet storage.
The benefits of a fixed-aisle system such as AS/RS are the decreased space required and the reduced labor needed to store and retrieve materials efficiently. AS/RS systems can also be installed in harsh environments that can create hazardous conditions for workers, such as freezers. Because of the computer technology involved, AS/RS can create a very accurate form of inventory control with only a few employees on-site.
Unit-Load Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems are perfect for manufacturing or distribution operations.
Ideal for bulky loads
Minimal use of labor
Maximum space utilization
The main benefit of a Unit-Load AS/RS installation is the ability to move loads quickly in and out of a secured pallet racking area with nearly floor-to-ceiling storage. Unit-Load systems can even be used in freezer environments for cold food storage where work conditions for laborers are less than ideal. These "lights-out" or "dark" systems create a high-tech answer to storage of raw material, WIP inventory, or finished good storage that will replenish automatically.
For more photos of AS/RS systems, view the UNARCO AS/RS Photo Gallery.
MHI AS/RS Information Portal
Collections of information and videos are available on the Material Handling Industry website (MHI).
To find out if an AS/RS system is right for your distribution center or warehouse, visit Is AS/RS Right for Me? or How AS/RS Works. View photos of AS/RS Systems in the UNARCO AS/RS Systems Photo Gallery.