September 7, 2018

Swisslog holds AutoStore users' conference

The conference marks the first time where North American users of this storage and retrieval technology have gathered.

By David Maloney

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Markus Schmidt, president of Swisslog Logistics Automation - Americas, welcomes attendees to the first Swisslog Auto-Store users' conference.

Swisslog held its first-ever AutoStore users' conference this week in Northfield, Ill. Swisslog is an international supplier, designer, and integrator of warehouse automation and information systems with its headquarters for the Americas based in Newport News, Va. AutoStore is an automated storage and retrieval (AS/RS) and order fulfillment technology developed by the Hatteland Group of Vats, Norway. Swisslog has designed and installed more AutoStore systems than any other supplier in the world, with more than 120 AutoStore systems currently in place or on order.

The AutoStore technology differs from other AS/RS and goods-to-person fulfillment systems in that it can be placed into many existing facilities, including those with low ceiling heights. Products are stored in bins that are stacked vertically, one on top of another. Small energy-efficient robots ride on rails above the stacks and work in teams to pull bins needed for orders, which may include shuffling the bins above a required product to other positions. The robots then deliver the bins to goods-to-person picking stations. The system provides extremely dense storage in a small footprint, while still enabling fast retrieval of products.

Representatives from the user community gathered for the two-day event at the Medline headquarters building in Northfield. Medline is a leading supplier of healthcare products and is one of the more prolific users of AutoStore in its distribution operations nationwide. Users came from a variety of industries, including electronics, apparel, auto parts, medical, and footwear. They shared their successes, lessons learned, and future ideas for further use of the AutoStore technology.

Many of these customers also couple their AutoStore systems with Swisslog's SynQ warehouse management software, which provides simple and flexible integration along with extensive operational data. The attendees also discussed how to synchronize their AutoStore systems with other technologies found within their warehouses.

About the Author

David Maloney
Editorial Director
David Maloney has been a journalist for more than 35 years and is currently the editorial director for DC Velocity and Supply Chain Quarterly magazines. In this role, he is responsible for the editorial content of both brands of Agile Business Media. Dave joined DC Velocity in April of 2004. Prior to that, he was a senior editor for Modern Materials Handling magazine. Dave also has extensive experience as a broadcast journalist. Before writing for supply chain publications, he was a journalist, television producer and director in Pittsburgh. Dave combines a background of reporting on logistics with his video production experience to bring new opportunities to DC Velocity readers, including web videos highlighting top distribution and logistics facilities, webcasts and other cross-media projects. He continues to live and work in the Pittsburgh area.

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