‘Plug & Play’ solutions for partial automation of logistics processes

Date: 02.06.2022Source: SSI-Schaefer

In any warehouse, the processes and workflows are designed according to specific requirements that can change over time. The number of items can increase and lead to storage space bottlenecks; walking distances and item searches can take too much time. Perhaps picking also becomes too slow and error-prone, negatively impacting the satisfaction of the customers the warehouse supplies. Fluctuating demand and increasingly dynamic markets, as well as a shortage of skilled workers, are making day-to-day warehouse and logistics operations even more difficult.

Partial automation of certain areas and processes offers many benefits, such as faster processes, lower error rates, more effective space utilisation, more ergonomic workflows and lower costs.

For example, workstations can be connected more efficiently through a short conveying section. The conveying system can also lead directly to a vertical lift module, which is perfect for compact storage and rapid picking of small parts. However, installing a conveying system demands a fixed storage area, which may not be an option in some locations. In such cases, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) offer a more flexible option that does not interfere with flexible space utilisation. They are also equipped with intelligent sensors, allowing safe use in manual warehouses with mixed traffic.

With intelligent combinations of storage and picking systems, SSI Schaefer makes it easier for smaller and medium-sized companies to take their first steps towards semi-automated logistics processes – with a simple ‘Plug & Play’ approach and attractive prices.

When existing warehouses need to be upgraded or new buildings require smaller dimensions due to other limiting factors, more and more companies are opting to use mobile racks in combination with automated guided vehicles. Both systems allow flexible integration into the existing layout of the hall, save space, enable a constant material flow around the clock and help to permanently reduce operating costs.

The WEASEL is a cost-effective solution for your first steps towards automation of internal transport and can be combined with the SSI LOGIMAT vertical lift module to create an efficient storage and picking solution. This approach increases storage density and throughput and significantly improves picking quality.

Static racks in combination with mobile robots can significantly reduce picking and order throughput times, are ideal for e-commerce, can be installed quickly in existing properties, are easy to scale up at any time and reduce logistics costs in the long term. In addition, this innovative solution handles work steps with poor ergonomics, heavy goods and repetitive, tiring tasks so warehouse employees don’t have to.

However, automation doesn’t necessarily have to start with technical components – another option is a warehouse management system. SSI Schaefer’s WAMAS logistics software allows seamless integration into companies’ system infrastructure and connects upstream and downstream systems into an intelligent overall system. It supports order consolidation and inventory and controls all stock movements in transparent processes.

Whether software or technical components – the step towards automation doesn’t mean a complete about-face. Instead, it involves incremental partial automation and digitalisation of selected warehouse areas and processes in order to adapt storage and logistics to the company’s development. The advantages offer greater efficiency and lower costs, bolstering the company’s competitiveness. For more visit ssi-schaefer.com

David Cox / IDM

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