pL-Store®: WMS-supported automatic small parts storage system trimmed to performance standards

AutoStore continues to gain ground. There are good reasons for this. However, the full potential of the system can only be tapped with custom-fit integration software.

Automatic small parts warehouses (AS/RS) are proven classics of intralogistics. Depending on the requirements profile, the system is operated by stacker cranes, shuttles or robots as in the AutoStore system. The latter travel in an aisleless aluminum structure, stacking the totes directly on top of each other and making them available for picking just-in-time. The advantages are thus practically obvious: In particular, a low space requirement in conjunction with a high storage density as well as flexibility and scalability speak for the robot-based order fulfillment solution of the Norwegian manufacturer. But the achievable performance in terms of throughput and productivity is also a decisive argument for using AutoStore as an automated small parts warehouse (AS/RS). In addition, the possibility of automated, order-related pre-consolidation is convincing – even at night if required.

Efficiently organize and control automated warehouses

However, the desired performance potential of AutoStore can only be exploited by using an intelligent Warehouse Management System (WMS), which integrates the system into the overall warehouse process and controls it on a daily basis based on fine-tuned storage and retrieval strategies. The pL-Store® WMS from proLogistik, which can be connected to all miniload variants, is tailored exactly to these requirements and enables optimal use of AutoStore or automatic small parts warehouses. Online inventory management in real time ensures accelerated processes, and thanks to parallel picking, multiple orders can be processed simultaneously. Possible limitations with negative effects on throughput, pick rate and profitability are thus eliminated.

Focus on the optimum filling level with smart strategies

Important control levers are already located in the incoming goods department. There, the incoming articles are first measured and weighed and recorded including this information by the pL-Store® WMS from proLogistik. Among other things, the data obtained is used for an automatically generated volume calculation, which ensures that the goods are ideally distributed among the available containers. In this way, the filling level of the store is increased once again and the efficiency in the storage processes increases. The necessary replenishment can also be organized automatically so that the storage area of the miniload can be used in the best possible way. The software rejects incorrectly packed containers or overhanging goods and triggers their forwarding to an NIO workstation, where employees make the necessary corrections.

Constant flow of goods, time-saving provisioning included

Containers requested for order picking are transported to the workstations via the autonomous robots or shuttles according to the goods-to-person principle. Since waiting times are eliminated, the workers involved in the process are consistently utilized to capacity. pL-Store also determines a sensible sequence when providing the containers so that the orders can be processed in a time-saving and efficient manner. In this way, the WMS makes a decisive contribution to increasing throughput, maintaining it at a consistently high level, and reducing internal transport costs. Order- and article-related volume calculation also pays off at this point, as the picked goods can be transferred directly into suitable shipping cartons. Subsequent repackaging is eliminated, as is the still frequent “sending of air”, which is increasingly criticized by recipients or customers.

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