Material handling technologies facilitate the transport, storage, retrieval and dispatch of objects within a warehouse or any other distribution centre. As such, they are one of the key features of a productive and systematic distribution system. Manufacturers compete with each other to offer a wide range of equipment and accessories to suit all possible needs. These six solutions are found to be most popular on today’s market.
They are used in distribution centres for convenient and effective moving of different items from one place to another, no matter whether we are talking about small boxes or stacked pallets. Although there are several types of conveyors available, most of them can be further adjusted for a specific purpose.
When designing a conveyor, manufacturers consider weight, shape and size of the conveyed items as well as the capacity of a conveyor. Some conveyors come with accumulation options, as well as buffering that evens the peaks and troughs, spreading the load. More advanced options include sticker applicators and printers, but also carton sealers and integrated weight scales.
The sorting systems are used for direct outbound orders related to different stages of dispatch. As such, they need to be capable of handling diverse loads and work with increased capacity. A reliable sorting procedure must deliver high input-output ratio in a precise and effective manner. High volume cross-docking operations, for instance, require automated sorting system.
Conveyors alike, sortation systems also take into account shape, size, condition capacity and weight of the items, delivering a successful transport to the dispatch areas. An advanced feature of some sorters is an automated tracking system that provides a full track and trace record of each box movement.
They are designed for maximized density of storing items in confined, limited spaces. In the sense of management of frequent retrieving and storing movements, stacker cranes are a more efficient alternative to forklifts. They are distinguished for their ability to use vertical space in a much better way than forklifts, with the standard reach of 35 meters.
What is more, they have an extra safety benefit as they separate pedestrian tracks from the equipment areas. A unique design feature of these systems is an ASRS (Automated Storage and Retrieval System) used for mini load and pallet load applications. As with the machines mentioned above, stacker cranes are designed with weight, volume and throughput criteria in mind.
This type of material handling equipment utilizes a rail system for storing and retrieving pallets among the tightly packed racks. It can easily move brim-full pallet loads in and out of the storage construction to access the more remote sections. The operator manually positions a satellite cart in the intended rack place using a forklift, and then operates the cart through remote or RF controls.
These carts can be used with contemporary pallet racking structures for convenient fetching and putting away specific pallets within their operational reach, without obstructing the floor with forklifts. They have two modes of operation – LIFO (Last in/First out) and FIFO (First in/First out)
Robotic systems are a more efficient alternative to manual operations that increases the speed of the repetitive loading processes. They are also successful at improving the productivity in high volume distribution systems. Robotic systems have many advantages over the traditional options. For example, they eliminate the hazardous, fatiguing and repetitive element of racking, bringing the OH&S of the workplace to a higher level. Also, they minimize the product damage caused by improper handling, and they perform both palletising and depalletising actions with the same effective rate.
Carousels find their application in areas where the floor stretch is limited, as they make use of the vertical dimension of space. Not unlike satellite racks, carousels are ideal for high-density type of storage and retrieval of small inventory pieces with low pick up rates. Carousels provide an increased security of the items, as well as climate control. They consist of several trays located within an enclosed tower, with every tray sectioned into bins that contain products. The trays are programmed to revolve in a manner that swiftly reaches the operator who is then able to pick the items and replenish the bins.
p style=”text-align: justify;”>The key to operating a modern and high-volume warehouse is utilizing solutions that enable high density storage with automated tracking systems. While exploiting both the horizontal and vertical aspect of space, hi-tech equipment offers excellent operator safety standards.
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