To find the right degree of automation: with a rapidly growing range of products – especially in the area of small parts storage – your own warehouse logistics quickly reach their limits? In this case, one solution is certainly to expand the storage area and increase the number of employees. However, both are factors that can significantly influence the profitability of a company. If the larger area also increases the walking distances and times of the warehouse staff, the processes may become economically unviable. At this point, it is important to support the processes in the warehouse as best as possible with automated solutions, wherever possible.
Together with many warehouse technology partners, we realise the most diverse systems in automation in classic shelf systems or RBG as well as shuttle systems for small parts.
As an alternative, we have recently come across the somewhat different automatic small parts warehouse AutoStore® more often in our projects. AutoStore® systems are sold, designed, installed and maintained by system integrators - examples are companies like AM Logistic Solution, Element Logic , HÖRMANN Logistik or Fortna. In addition to system integrators, consulting companies such as dobülog or IWL AG also have specific expertise in this area and, after analysis, can make recommendations on the extent to which such a system makes sense compared to other automatic warehouse technology components.
The different small parts storage concepts on the market have advantages and disadvantages that must be considered in detail when selecting a system. The main characteristic of AutoStore® systems is that they can be integrated into almost any existing warehouse building, even exotic ones, provided they have sufficient height, without - as a rule - requiring major conversion work. The proverbial "last corner" thus becomes valuable storage space of equal value. In the systems, the containers are stacked instead of being stored in racks due to the different system design. Since the vehicles travel on a lattice construction above the storage bays, no tramlines are needed for the individual stacker cranes, and the entire available storage space can be used almost exclusively for the storage of goods, AutoStore® has an exceptionally good utilisation of space. The individual components of the AutoStore® miniload, such as the size of the system, the number of robots or containers, can be individually scaled and expanded to meet the circumstances and requirements of each individual customer.
But the holistically considered process around the AutoStore® only becomes really efficient in combination with a powerful warehouse management solution, such as SuPCIS-L8.
The AutoStore® control system itself takes over the coordination of the transport orders and the selection and commissioning of the individual AutoStore® robots, but it lacks the necessary detailed information about the contents of the individual container boxes in the system as well as the details of the various orders. This part is taken over by a WCS (Warehouse Control System) or, in the case of SuPCIS-L8, by the WMS. Thanks to the available interfaces of our SuPCIS-L8 warehouse management software, AutoStore® can be directly connected to the WMS and controlled in the overall process. The direct connection ensures smooth interaction between the two systems and at the same time brings enormous advantages for the user. This is because SuPCIS-L8 not only manages the stocks in AutoStore®, but also provides the goods receipt and picking dialogues at the workstations mentioned in the port.
Since the SuPCIS-L8 warehouse management system can be connected to the AutoStore® automated small parts warehouse without any middleware (WCS), the number of subsystems required is reduced and thus not only the acquisition and project costs, but also the follow-up costs for maintenance and support during operation of the system. An important advantage for the flexible use of the employees at the individual workstations in the warehouse: the workstation dialogues at the miniload including cockpits and dashboards are also available to the employees in the uniform ergonomic and familiar interface of the WMS.
Is your warehouse management solution also open for any automation technologies? Don’t hesitate to contact us!
We would like to thank AM Logistic Solutions warmly for providing the photo material!