Automated Storage and Retrieval systems refers to machinery which automates storage/ retrieval operations to ensure precision, accuracy and speed in performing storage and retrieval operations. As an extension of Material Handling Equipment, AS/RS eliminate human intervention in performing basic operations such as precise storage of an item to predefined location, removal of an item automatically, transferring the goods to specific processing or interface point and so on. AS/RS aids in increasing storage capacity, facilitates efficient floor space utilization and better labor productivity in logistic operations.
Automotive Industry is the largest and one of the fastest growing markets for AS/RS systems. The AS/RS systems are used in automotive service stations, factories and parking stations. These systems are widely used for material handling purposes. Three major types of storage systems are used in automotive industry: Vertical lift modules, vertical carousel and horizontal carousel.
In vertical lift modules, vehicles are stored on large storage trays and are primarily utilized for storage of parts such as tailpipes, bumpers and spoilers among others. These parts range from small, medium and large sizes. The AS/RS systems improve the efficiency of retrieval process. In vertical carousels parts are stored on a system of vertically arranged rotating shelves which bring the part directly to the operator. Small and medium sized parts are stored in these systems and can be expanded when in need. Horizontal carousels are utilized for high speed retrieval. In these systems a group of the carousels work together to retrieve parts efficiently. Automated storage systems have been utilized to improve performance and efficiency by maximizing the storage space.
The usage of AS/RS systems provides several advantages over non-automated systems. Some of the key advantages are with respect to savings in labor costs and floor space, increased reliability and reduced error rates. These advantages are driving the market further for AS/RS systems in automotive industry. Constraints for growth in the market are their high investment costs, less flexibility and high investments in control systems.
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