You may think of pallet flow racking and ASRS systems as mutually exclusive solutions for high volume, dense pallet storage… well this project may have you thinking differently. Leave it to the Mallard engineers to develop an efficient, yet cost-saving way to handle pallet offloading for an ASRS module without relying on additional automation in the staging area.
The Solution… An integrated ASRS Pallet Flow Design
The automation begins in reserve storage as pallets are pulled and inducted into the ASRS crane system to be shuffled and staged for order fulfillment. Because the ASRS system can offload the pallets quicker than workers can extract and load trucks, the customer needed a means to store the accumulated pallets prior to shipping. Here’s where gravity-fed pallet flow comes in – the ASRS crane pushes the pallet onto one of 7 pallet flow lanes running along the ASRS module. Gravity (vs. automation) carries the pallets down the pallet flow lane toward the dock staging area to await extraction.
The customer planned to use motorized pallet jacks vs. forklifts for pallet handling in the staging area. This could have posed a problem, however Mallard’s pallet jack access ramps added at the end of the pallet flow lanes allowed for quick/easy pallet access and extraction with the pallet jacks.
Note: The ramps designed for this system are a bit longer than our traditional pallet jack access ramps. In this case, the longer and more subtle grade of the ramp was needed to prevent powered pallet jacks from getting hung up on the ramp. The floor mounted pallet supports beneath the pallet flow lanes are customized to accommodate a comfortable advancing pallet speed and still match up with the ASRS lanes within the system.
Advantages of the Pallet Jack Access Ramp:
• Reduce the number of forklifts and operators vs. bulk stacking
• Reduce travel time to staging lanes vs. storage rack
• Maintain proper (FIFO) inventory rotation for dated goods
• Eliminate congestion by separating truck staging and put-away
• Provide quick, easy access to flow lanes for use with pallet jacks vs forklifts
By integrating deep-lane pallet flow with access ramps into their ASRS module, the customer saved substantial upfront automation and equipment costs. They also realized considerable efficiency improvements by reducing the travel time travel required from module to staging area.
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