Created to automate layer picking in a high-density format, a new solution from Westfalia (booth 7807) is comprised of a high-density automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) and layer picker. In addition to maximizing storage capacity of an existing facility by up to 50%, the solution embeds the layer picker within the AR/RS structure. This frees up available floorspace for other processes, said Dave Williams, vice president of technology and solutions.
“It also eliminates the need for conveyor to transport cases from the storage system to palletizer,” he added.
The system’s flexible rack structures can accommodate multiple storage lane depths to handle varying stock keeping unit (SKU) inventory levels and can be built as high as 120 feet tall—although installations typically fall between 60 and 80 feet in height, Williams said. Capable of picking three layers per minute, the solution can be used with products as small as two inches up to full case sizes.
The combination of the AS/RS and layer pick system allows companies to seamlessly convey pallets from palletizing to storage and to truck-staging lanes.
“That streamlines the entire order fulfillment process,” Williams said, adding that the system is controlled by Westfalia’s Savanna.NET warehouse execution system (WES). “The software improves efficiency and reduces order fulfillment errors by directing all warehouse activities and providing real-time inventory visibility and tracking.”
The system is ideally suited for handling 2,000 to 3,000 SKUs, and installations are already operating in ambient and cold/frozen food, beverage and liquor applications, he continued.
“Often, when we’re called in to help a customer address the best way to improve their case picking process, upon analysis of the data it turns out they really have a layer picking process. This solution is perfect for automating those types of fulfillment operations,” concluded Williams.