Existing warehouses with forklifts for pallets, whether broad aisle or narrow aisle, generally have a very low level of automation. Many operators cannot imagine working without this type of storage as it seems to offer an unmatched level of flexibility - in terms of covering peaks with additional staff or utilizing storage space by adjusting the height of storage compartments. The price of this supposed flexibility is poor space utilization and a high level of staff deployment, frequently with falling productivity. Many operators are caught between the "Internet of Things" (IOT) on the requirement side, where automation is a prerequisite per se, and "high risk automation" as an investment factor on the operator side. False myths regarding technology and organization often seem to argue against automation. With the simple LOGI-KIT automation solution, it is possible to strike a balance by automating existing warehouses.
On the technical side, this is made possible by the low-profile chassis concept and lightweight storage and retrieval machine. The weight loads on the warehouse floor are thus kept to levels comparable to or even under those required when using forklifts. The low dynamic lateral forces caused by the upper guide of the storage and retrieval machine can usually be easily absorbed by the rack. This lightweight construction also has a positive effect on energy consumption.
LOGI-KIT offers various warehouse concepts that can be used to map even extreme situations such as random access or maximum storage space density. Warehouses with random access are characterized by a large variety of articles with a small number of pallets for a specific article. Conventional single-deep stacked warehouses allow the positioning of the bottom pallet directly on the floor. The automation of such a warehouse previously inevitably resulted in the loss of this option due to the poorer lower approach dimensions of a storage and retrieval machine compared to those of a forklift. The resulting loss of storage space is often in the double-digit percentage range. The LOGI-KIT storage and retrieval machines can also pick up and place directly on the floor with their swivel traverse fork in conjunction with sophisticated trajectory control, just like a forklift. The handling capacity of such a storage and retrieval machine is well above that of a manually operated forklift.
In addition, LOGI-KIT offers a simple, menu-guided option for subsequently changing compartment heights. Structural changes are also possible because additional levels are created for each rack and activated when necessary. However, since a subsequently added rack level has a massive impact on the higher-level warehouse management system, such changes are rather rare.
All of the above-mentioned aspects relate to warehouses for which there is no additional space requirement, i.e. automation is primarily aimed at cost savings, increasing performance or increasing process safety and traceability.
With LOGI-KIT, however, it is also possible to significantly increase the number of storage spaces with the same floor space. A LOGI-KIT storage and retrieval machine equipped with a DAMBACH Compact Shuttle (DCS) allows you to meet the need for maximum densification of pallet spaces. For this purpose, you only use the available building infrastructure of the existing warehouse and install a new rack as a channel storage system. The segmentation is adapted to the customer's article structure and the access time thus optimized in terms of specific items. The channels in the racks can have varying depths or be divided into different zones in terms of depth, thus mapping an A B C classification. LOGI-KIT can also offer intelligent storage space management if required. This is particularly interesting for operators whose merchandise management system cannot manage a channel storage system. This intelligent system offers optimization options, which usually cannot even be provided by a warehouse management system with channel storage capability. Frequently accessed items are placed specifically in the first spaces of the channel, articles with a low access rate are more likely to be in the deeper positions. Over time, this means that frequently required articles are placed in the front spaces and can be accessed promptly. In conjunction with a corresponding lead time, all pallets belonging to one batch, for example, can be withdrawn in direct chronological order. For the channel version of LOGI-KIT, it is therefore no longer important to fill channels according to type, which is not feasible anyway for a large product spectrum.
Conclusion: In view of increasing shortages of space and personnel, greater focus is being placed on brownfield approaches for automated logistics solutions. The use of existing infrastructure can definitely be more attractive than a new building. However, existing buildings place different demands on technology from those required by the more usual greenfield solutions. DAMBACH addresses these demands and answers the resulting technical questions with the LOGI-KIT concept.
Author: Dirk Lorenz