Hands-free storage system: Hänel Storage Systems, a manufacturer and integrator of automated vertical storage units, has introduced augmented reality (AR) features for use in conjunction with its storage systems. Through the use of wireless "data eyeglasses" and pick-by-voice technology, a Hänel Lean-Lift vertical lift module (VLM) can be operated hands-free, without the use of a system controller or keyboard.
The optical AR device uses voice commands to accomplish data input and item selection. While wearing the AR display, users can view all relevant data and information regarding a stored item, including its description, photograph, and stored location. Once an item is requested via voice command, the storage system automatically brings it to the access point for retrieval. The item's position on the shelf can then be identified by Hänel Pick-o-Light, a moveable LED unit inside the access point that shines a targeted beam of light precisely on the specific item awaiting retrieval.
This AR system allows users to focus their full attention on the picking process without the need to handle notes or other paperwork. When used in conjunction with Pick-o-Light, the system minimizes the risk of human picking errors, the company says. Hänel storage units and AR glasses can be linked to various ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems through an integrated simple object access protocol (SOAP) interface, which allows programs on different operating systems to communicate. (Hänel Storage Systems, www.hanel.us)
Vertical storage solutions: Ferretto Group, a supplier of material handling and storage solutions, has introduced vertical storage systems designed for space optimization and improvement of picking and storage operations. The systems, the vertical lift module Vertimag EF and the vertical carousel Eurot, are both goods-to-person automated storage and retrieval systems, the company says.
By taking advantage of unused overhead space in a facility, the solutions allow companies to maximize square footage, storing more in a smaller footprint and avoiding the need for facility expansion and/or relocation. Another benefit to using vertical storage solutions is improved efficiency in picking and fulfillment functions, the company says. By delivering the required tray or shelf directly to the operator in just a few seconds, the systems eliminate the time spent walking and searching for parts. Operators are more accurate and faster, and the order picking process is optimized. All picking operations are monitored and documented to offer full traceability of the orders and to monitor inventory in real time.
According to the company, the Vertimag EF vertical lift module is suitable for operations with more than 12 feet (4 meters) of vertical space; where the inventory mix changes often and requires storage flexibility; and where the picking operation requires integrated lifting assistance. The Eurot vertical carousel is suitable for operations with limited vertical space; that handle parts that are light and similar in height and dimension; and where items can be safely handled without lifting assistance. (Ferretto Group, www.ferrettogroup.com)
High-density storage solution: Order picking solutions provider Unex describes its SpeedCell system as a revolutionary high-density storage solution that takes unused rack space and turns it into consolidated high-density picking areas.
According to the company, SpeedCell consolidates storage capabilities and increases pick facings, resulting in greater stock-keeping unit (SKU) density for less travel and search for order pickers. Each individual cell holds 35 pounds; a column can hold up to 240 pounds. Each column is suspended from a pre-galvanized steel track system that integrates directly into existing pallet rack beams. The company says it recently began manufacturing the device from a new high-flame-resistant material.
Suitable for apparel companies and brick-and-mortar stores that are being turned into fulfillment centers, SpeedCell easily fits in these environments and handles a large volume of SKUs, according to the company. Unex also offers a mobile version of SpeedCell called SpeedCartt that allows order pickers to walk up and down aisles, grab an item, and deposit it into the cell on the cart. (Unex, www.unex.com)
Mobile-controlled vertical storage lifts: Weland Solutions, a manufacturer of customized lifts and warehouse inventory solutions, has upgraded its Compact vertical storage lifts to allow users to control the machines via mobile devices instead of a computer. According to the company, this small investment offers significant benefits, especially for pick-intensive businesses in e-commerce and the retail trade.
With the new system, the warehouse associate starts the order directly from his or her mobile phone or tablet computer and only sees his/her order on the screen. This saves a great deal of time and walking along aisles, while reducing the risk of picking mistakes, the company says.
Compact vertical storage lifts are controlled by the equipment maker's own warehouse management system, Compact Store. The system includes support for all of the work steps that are included in normal storage management. All of this is now available on a mobile phone or tablet computer via Wi-Fi.
The company's Compact vertical storage lifts come in three models: the Compact Lift, which is suitable for both large volumes of small articles and for heavy or bulky products; the Compact Twin, which handles two load trays simultaneously, more than doubling the picking rate; and the Compact Double, a more robust version of the Compact Twin. (Weland Solutions, www.welandsolutions.com)
AS/RS system: Signode Industrial Group, a manufacturer of packaging consumables, tools, software, and equipment, has introduced its StorFast high-density automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS). The StorFast system is composed of powered carts that automatically and quickly move pallets in and out of storage positions in the warehouse. According to the company, StorFast's modular designs offer increased flexibility, maximum storage capacity, and a very small footprint. The StorFast system can be expanded as capacity requirements and SKUs (stock-keeping units) increase. (Signode Industrial Group, www.signodegroup.com)