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TIS THE SEASON FOR AUTOMATION

By: Eastern Lift Truck Co., Inc. November 24, 2021

For consumers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are popular opportunities to find a great deal. For those involved in manufacturing, these special sales are the culmination of months of planning and preparation for increased demand. Likewise, for those in warehousing and distribution, the holiday season is a multi-month sprint to keep products moving from their loading dock to your door. 

This season has always been a challenge, but this year, with labor shortages being even more extreme, companies have turned towards new technologies to help supplement their reduced workforce.

Automated Horizontal Transport

In order to become more efficient inside any operation, whether it's moving pallets from dock to stock or moving finished goods to storage, or even bringing primary and secondary packages to a packaging line, Automated Mobile Robots (AMRs) are being implemented to reduce touches and keep skilled labor in other key positions, working smarter and not harder. 

AMRs help... 

  • Keep your lift truck operators in their designated work aisles, instead of wasting valuable time, driving halfway across your large facility just to deliver a load.
  • Connect islands of automation bringing your products from the end-of-line to your pallet wrappers, and then from the wrappers to your dock.
  • Automate your “milk runs” by bringing components from the storehouse to your manufacturing cells.

Automated Pallet Storage

A traditional AS/RS system that utilizes a crane is often built with the warehouse from the ground up. These designs utilize tall ceilings and are an example of purpose-built warehouse design. They are often not an option for a facility that was not designed for their usage. However, there are new options that allow facilities to be retrofitted for fully automated storage and retrieval systems. 

Shuttle Systems can now be designed to operate fully autonomously by traveling all six directions: north, south, east, west, up, and down. Using traditional racking materials, a 4D shuttle system can be built in nearly any facility no matter how old it is. 

4D Shuttle Systems can... 

Picking Efficiency

In any fulfillment center, you'll have a vast team of associates picking orders and this will require the use of temporary hires to accommodate seasonal surge. One of the larger inefficiencies faced by these facilities is when an order has been completed or is ready to move to a new zone, and an Associate must walk a long distance to transfer the incomplete order or bring it to a pack station. 

Eliminate unnecessary moves and travel time while keeping associates in local zones and process more orders by utilizing robotic picking platforms. These platforms remove the travel times while also assisting associates in their picking. They can also guide associates to the next pick and then move on once it's completed. Using visual cues and precise mapping, Associates will no longer need to read bill of materials which in turn increase picking accuracy. 

Fulfillment Robots can... 

  • Reduce travel times and increase picking efficiency
  • Increase picking accuracy
  • Can be flexed for seasonal demand
  • Increase operational throughput 

These are just a few of the many solutions ELT Systems Group can provide your operation to increase its efficiency, throughput, and storage capacity. Contact ELT Systems Group today for a free consultation call to discuss the latest technology and how it's helping companies like your across the world. 

Contact the systems group or Jason Dodge directly for further information and to get started on your project today.

Jason Dodge Automation Manager | Systems Division Eastern Lift Truck Co., Inc. Cell: (609) 605-1043 Email: jdodge@easternlifttruck.com

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