Taking the above definition as a starting point, Telejet and ICO developed
a fundamentally new approach based on a core: free-moving
robots that orient themselves using codes on the ground. Roughly
speaking, storage areas and paths can be built on the standardised
floor slabs in a defined grid format.
In more detail, this means that in a shelving system with levels mounted one above the other, many product carriers are parked closely and moved, coupled and uncoupled with compact storage robots. Depending on the products to be stored, the shelves can be equipped with individual compartments and subdivided.
The various levels of the flexible shelving system are connected by several lifts and enable the robots to be both horizontally and vertically mobile. The robots are not rail-bound and can move freely. They orient themselves on the specially coated shelves using the codes and are coordinated by the central system via radio. The storage robots are the size of a domestic-use mowing robot but have far more power and achieve a considerable transport capacity.
A special feature is the optimum utilisation of the height of existing warehouses up to 12 m. The individual shelving surfaces of the self-contained system have a footprint of 1.2 x 1.6m and are connected by steel columns. Software is used to define which areas are considered to be paths and which are considered to be storage areas.
The idea that storage systems could be put into practice on the basis
of the defined floor space and that could be adapted to the spatial
conditions stood the test immediately at Futterplatz.de.
The Storojet storage area is located between the supporting columns
of the hall, while the travel space, to the picking points, lead around
the outside of the columns. One picking station, which is primarily used for storage, is located
near a hall gate, another near the previous packing line. For seasonal
peaks, a third workstation was additionally set up to ensure the necessary
output if required.
The storage area extends up to the ceiling girders, has a total height of approx. 5.2 metres and thus provides 5,000m² of storage and travel space over an area of 400m².
In addition, it was determined which products are suitable for storage in the system in terms of size and weight as well as call-off volume. The required scope of the storage system was selected so that additional levels are available for successive growth.
It is precisely this flexibility that makes STOROJET so interesting for medium-sized companies. For financial reasons, for example, the storage tower can be built just halfway up and then gradually equipped with additional storage levels. An expansion into the base area can also be carried out without any problems during ongoing operation. The daily processes do not have to be interrupted.
This was also the case with Futterplatz.de: construction and initial
commissioning ran parallel to the previous operation; there was no
classic standstill and relocation! Similar to a soft opening, the new
storage system is continuously filled with goods and equipped piece
by piece with more robots that move the goods carriers.
The user‘s respective merchandise management program can be informed as to whether goods are to be found and picked in the classic or automated Storojet area. At the same time, employees can acquire knowledge of the new technology and operation during the build-up and filling period - a real „learning-by-doing“ in the shortest possible time.
At Futterplatz.de, in the fully filled version, 80 robots will carry out the goods movements and enable up to 5 picks per station and minute in the delivery mode. The indicated picking performance always refers to the presentation of individual product carriers. If several articles can be removed from one shelf, the picking performance increases significantly.
Already with the current filling level, the processes can be easily identified: The picker sees the current packing list on his monitor. Several robots travel the distance to the lifts beforehand and are set down at the correct level. They then automatically navigate to the position of the respective goods carriers and dock to them. They use the goods carrier to steer their way back to the lift on their carriageway and line up at hip height at the assigned output point. The fact that several picking lists are always processed simultaneously by the system means a resulting uninterrupted flow of goods to people. The goods only have to be removed, scanned and then packaged. During the scanning process the article is, of course, checked for correctness and then booked out by the warehouse management program. With this information, the system knows which storage position is currently free and lets the robot return the goods carrier to the storage position and bring the next order. The procedure is the same for the re-storage of returns and saves time searching for free storage locations.
Despite all the positive trends, two factors should not be overlooked
On the one hand, the employees of Futterplatz.de initially had a certain reserve about the new technology. It was something new to learn and there was a concern about job security. This proved to be unfounded because STOROJET has supported growth to such an extent that even more employees are to be hired in the future.
On the other hand, the economic question was whether the company‘s own development would ultimately pay off in terms of investment. Apart from the advantages of being able to implement such a suitable innovation in the group of companies, it should not be more expensive than the alternative solutions available on the market. According to the company, the investment sum was around € 730,000, while the alternatives each started above € 1 million.
STOROJET‘s forward-looking development not only contains the multidimensional fl exibility that is so important for medium-sized companies, but also makes this possible at a reasonable price!
|5,2 m (plus 1 m for the lifts)
|13 (clearance 380 mm)
|500x500 mm (WxD):
|500x700 mm (WxD):
|500x900 mm (WxD):
|Storage and retrieval
|Daily operating time:
|Approx. Picks* - Day | Hour:
|7.200 | 900