6 Benefits of Mini-Load and Unit-Load AS/RS

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Automated Storage & Retrieval

| Written by: MarkSmith

Mini-load and unit-load AS/RS units are a specific type of automated used warehouse material handling equipment that are designed to move cases, trays, totes, cartons and other small containers that carry inventory or parts that usually weigh somewhere within a span of 100 to 1,000 pounds and up. Mini-load systems tend to be smaller systems (for the trays, totes and cartons) and therefore are sometimes referred to as tote stackers or other operator-intuitive names. These units have an average height of 50 to 80 feet, but can be shorter – or as high as around 130 feet. The applications are wide and varied, but typically have in common the desire for a cost-effective way to have a high-density and high-speed storage solution that is contained inside a minimal footprint.

If you are looking at either unit load or mini load automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) units, there are six key benefits that you will soon be able to take full advantage of:
  • Dramatically increases operator productivity. What’s more, there is a minimal learning curve so there is virtually no downtime.
  • Quickly delivers items (inventory or parts) to the operators to an ergonomically ideal position.
  • Noticeably reduces your work-in-process inventory and steeply cuts cycle time.
  • Offers precise real-time inventory control, complemented by easily accessible computer reports.
  • Enhances both product quality and just-in-time (JIT) inventory delivery.
  • Permits a shift to make-to-order production – rather than make-to-inventory production.

The mini-load and unit-load AS/RS typically operates in tandem with a crane, shuttle, or some other transfer device. An existing or new warehouse control system (WCS) can manage the operation of these machines, as well improve picking by tracking inventory quantity and location. In addition, an existing or new enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite can connect to the WCS to communicate tasks in real time.

This automation means fewer touches – sometimes even resulting in as few as two. Of course, fewer touches and increased automation translates into fewer opportunities for errors and a much higher efficiency rating.

If you would like to discuss mini-load, unit-load, or any other automated storage and retrieval system, simply contact the high-density used warehouse material handling equipment experts at Outsource Equipment Company today to talk about the storage solutions that are right for your operation.