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Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS)

An automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) is a generic term for a system that automatically stores items in a repository and can also retrieve them. ASRS is a type of warehouse automation technology.

Automated storage and retrieval system technology varies, and can consist of shuttle and robot-based, cranes, carousels, vertical lift modules (VLMs), micro-loads, mini-loads, unit-loads, robots, or other systems. It is often integrated with a warehouse execution software (WES), warehouse management software (WMS), or other controls.

Advantages of Automated Storage and Retrieval System

An ASRS brings many powerful benefits by automating the repetitive tasks of inventory storage and retrieval. Other advantages include:

  • Increased order picking accuracy
  • Increased throughput
  • Reduced labor costs
  • Improved ergonomics and safety, resulting in fewer accidents
  • Fewer labor constraints due to labor shortages
  • More efficient use of floor and vertical space

Applications of Automated Storage and Retrieval System

Order fulfillment is time consuming when it requires walking and manually picking orders. Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems offer an alternative to this through the use of Goods-to-Person (G2P) order picking, resulting in improved efficiency and reduced errors. By leveraging automated storage and retrieval systems, picking times can be significantly reduces.

Another application of automated storage and retrieval systems is to store product in a way that makes the most efficient use of available space. When using an ASRS, an organization can automate their storage of raw materials or products and retrieve what they need, when they need it. They can also be used for store items in buffer storage to stage the item is ready to be shipped.

Automated storage and retrieval systems are used in multiple industries including: automotive, electronics, logistics, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and retail.  In the past two years, many grocery retailers are adopting this technology to manage online order fulfillment and address high labor and land costs due to the growth in online orders.

Types of Automated Storage and Retrieval System

There are three common types of automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS):

  • Shelf-based picking (an operator receives an entire shelf of product)
  • Bin-based picking (an operator receives individual bins with product)
  • Robotic picking (robots pick products and deliver them to an operator)

Examples of Automated Storage and Retrieval System

The Alphabot® System is an example of a scalable and adaptable automated storage and retrieval system and automated each-picking system. The heart of the Alphabot is a mobile robot uniquely able to operate in all three dimensions within a multilevel storage structure. The Alphabot system’s omnidirectional, mobile robot-based approach delivers measurable advantages over traditional fixed automation solutions.

automatic storage and retrieval system

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