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Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS): Revolutionizing storage and the picking of online orders

Published: 3. March 2023

In today’s fast-paced and highly automated world, businesses are constantly looking for ways to optimize their operations and reduce costs. One area that has seen significant growth in recent years is automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS). These systems use advanced robotics to efficiently store and retrieve products, materials and equipment. In this article, we will explore what ASRS is, how it works, and the benefits it offers to businesses.

Automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS)

What is Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS)?

ASRS refers to a set of computer-controlled systems that automate the process of storing and retrieving goods in a warehouse or distribution center (often called a micro fulfilment center). These systems are designed to maximize space utilization, reduce labor costs and increase efficiency. They typically consist of a combination of hardware and software that work together to manage the movement and storage of goods. StrongPoint installs the AutoStore solution, which is a grid-based ASRS system with robots roaming the top, shooting down to collect the correct items that are placed in bins within the grid. The items are then delivered to the port where usually a person receives them. AutoStore gives the highest utilization of space of all ASRS suppliers, and combined with StrongPoint’s retail e-commerce expertise (particularly in the grocery sector) is usually the best choice for retailers.

How does ASRS work?

The basic concept of an ASRS is simple: products are stored in designated locations within a storage system and retrieved by a robot when needed. Nevertheless, the technology behind ASRS is complex and varies depending on the specific system.

One common type of ASRS is the crane-based system. In this system, a series of cranes move along a set of tracks, picking up and placing goods in designated storage locations. The cranes are controlled by a computer system that manages the movement of goods and ensures that they are stored in the most efficient way possible.

Another type of ASRS is the shuttle-based system. In this system, products are stored in a rack, and a shuttle system retrieves them as needed. The shuttle system consists of a series of small vehicles that move along a track, picking up and dropping off goods at designated locations.

Finally, we have the grid based system, which is the AutoStore solution that StrongPoint offers.

A robot in an automated storage and retrieval system

Benefits of ASRS

There are several benefits to implementing an ASRS in a warehouse or distribution center. These include:

  1. Space optimization: ASRS systems can significantly increase storage capacity by using vertical space and reducing the amount of floor space required for storage. With AutoStore, you can store up to 4 times as many products in the same amount of space compared to traditional warehousing.
  2. Increased efficiency: With automated systems, items are picked much faster than with a human running between shelves, reducing the risk of errors and increasing the speed of operations.
  3. Improved safety: Automated systems reduce the risk of accidents and injuries that can occur in manual operations. For grocery retailers you can even avoid staff having to walk into a freezer to pick frozen items, thanks to the latest project from AutoStore and StrongPoint where we will install the world’s first AutoStore solution with a frozen zone.
  4. Better inventory control: ASRS systems can track inventory in real-time, allowing businesses to quickly and accurately manage inventory levels and reduce waste.
  5. Cost savings: By reducing the need for space and manual labor, businesses can save hugely on labor and real estate costs.

In summary

Automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) are revolutionizing the way businesses handle materials and products. By maximizing storage capacity, improving efficiency, increasing safety, and reducing costs, these systems offer a significant advantage to businesses of all sizes. As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more sophisticated ASRS solutions that further optimize warehouse and distribution center operations.

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