The Definition of Automated Storage and Retrieval System 

The automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS or ASRS in abbreviation) is also commonly known as the Automatic storage system. It is an automation technology used in warehouse management, which integrates with electronics, machinery, and inventory management. The features are that stuff can store and take out automatically, quickly, and accurately.


The Applications of Automated Storage and Retrieval System 

Automated storage and retrieval system can be installed and adapted in many industries. Industries vary from, to name a few, processing industry, e-commerce, apparel industry, semiconductor industry, logistics industry, medical industry, etc.



What Are the Differences Between an AS/RS and a General Warehouse?  

1. Space planning


A traditional warehouse sometimes is constrained by its structure. For example, one storehouse is not enough to store all the inventory. As a result, a factory may have multiple warehouses to place similar items, causing material holders to spend more time finding and delivering products between different warehouses. The logistics cannot effectively make the inventory/receiving process smooth. The biggest strength of using automated storage and retrieval system is the well-constructed warehouse. The height can be several floors high and only use stacker cranes to store and collect items. As long as the equipment is aligned with the software, for example, enterprise resource planning (ERP), all raw materials, semi-finished products, and products can be placed in this warehouse. Managing all the items in one place avoids all the chaos and saves time.




2. Storage and retrieval process


For a traditional warehouse, material holders need to use their eyes to look up available spaces for products.

This method can easily cause the same types of items placed in different places. Sometimes, material holders would need to move around the existing inventory in order to give out some space for incoming products. The whole incoming process is not efficient enough.

However, with automated storage and retrieval system, warehouse keepers can view the available spaces through the computer/control monitor and send products in with stacker cranes. Even if the product number uses several pallets, the computer system can still list all the pallet numbers by typing the product number into the system. This way makes the storage and retrieval process a lot easier.


Storage and retrieval process


3. Product management

Like the situations mentioned above, the traditional warehouse's structure and the way of product management can lead to a vicious circle. For example, the difficulty of inventory management, increased processing time, and inventory costs.

The automated storage and retrieval system is an integrated warehouse technology, which can make warehouse management on lean control. The system can track incoming/outgoing history, plus it is easy to load the locations of goods and arrange the same type of products in one area. The process of storing and retrieving has become easier and more time-saving.


3.	Product management


4. Waste management

A typical warehouse usually requires material holders and production technicians to confirm each other's receipt/return information. Moreover, due to the limited number of lift-up tracks or bridge cranes, sometimes production technicians have to wait for the materials to come out from the warehouse so they can pick them up. The action of confirmation and the wait waste time.

The automated storage and retrieval system is operated by machinery, which is fast and reliable. With a well-planned production line, the production technicians are no longer needed to collect materials. This pick-up process is eliminated. Therefore, no more waiting time for technicians so that productions can start on time.


product management







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The Benefits of the AS/RS

    • It can be designed as high-density storage: the height of the warehouse can be up to at least four-floor height, which means more density and capability for a warehouse.

    • Fast and reliable automated operation: use automatic trolleys and computer systems to pick up and receive goods, and the processes are efficient and stable.

    • Effective use of a warehouse's spaces: All warehouses can effectively classify various products, and the computer records the entry and exit history without confusion.

    • Improve the work efficiency of warehouse keepers: with the computer system to record all the history of entry and exit, there is a basis for retrospective problems.

    • Reduce pollution: automatic trolley pick-up and delivery have no air pollution from lift-up tracks, and engine noise generated by stackers.

    • Reduce the cycle time of handling: The automatic handling speed is fast, which reduces the processing time compared with manual handling.

    • Reduce the possibility of safety accidents: The warehouse keepers can manage the goods without entering the warehouse. This could greatly reduce the occurrence of industrial safety incidents of falling items.


The Considerations for Using an AS/RS


  • Choose a decent automatic storage system. A high-quality and good reputation automatic storage system can reduce the difficulty of the following maintenance in the long term.
  • Maintain the principle of first-in-first-out goods. This can avoid potential problems such as materials and products that have been stored for too long and expired.
  • Integrate the automatic warehousing system and the company's ERP system. Synchronizing logistics management and financial management is beneficial to the smooth operation of multiple units.
  • Establish standard operating procedures: All procedures using the automated warehousing system must be made into standardized documents to provide subsequent references and learning for recruits.
  • Train staff before they start. The procedures of how to use AR/RS must make standardized documents to provide subsequent reference and learning resources for trainees.



The Types of the Automatic Storage and Retrieval System

The automatic storage and retrieval system is divided into the following types, each type can be customized design –

      1. Unit load Automated Storage & Retrieval System (Unit load AS/RS)
        This system uses pallets as carriers that are suitable for storing large items and can be operated with only one or more access hosts. Unit load AS/RS can also have two different types of capacity - single depth or double depth. Single-depth means two-dimensional access, and the storage cell has only a single-depth pallet storage space; double-depth access is three-dimensional access, and the storage cell has multiple cell-depth storage spaces. Usually, double-deep pallets have more capacity to store more items.
      2. High-density Multi-deep Automated Storage and Retrieval SystemThe depth of the storage compartment arrangement is deepened based on the palletized automatic storage system. The high-density multi-deep AS/RS is suitable for industries with a small number of products but a large quantity such as the beverage industry.
      3. Mini load Automated Storage and Retrieval System (Mini load AS/RS)
        This system uses material boxes as carriers and is suitable for storing small items. The characteristics of the mini-load AS/RS are using small batches of products to complete order picking. However, the machinery will automatically fill the stock into the material boxes in order to continue the order-picking without stopping. It is necessary to connect the follow-up inspection system to complete the process of large orders. This type of system is suitable for logistics centers, retail, frozen food, health care, textile industries, etc.





Because Layana is a manufacturing factory, at the beginning of the construction stage, AR/RS was already considered when building this headquarter in Lukang, Taiwan. The factory chose the unit load AS/RS with a single depth and two access hosts, which met the company's needs. This system has helped warehouse keepers effectively manage all raw materials, semi-finished products, finished products, and tooling. The warehouse is 4 floors height and has 840 storage spaces in total. Each of the pallets can carry one ton of weight.


Mini load AS/RS

material boxes  Mini load Automated Storage and Retrieval System



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