An automated storage/retrieval system (AS/RS) is defined by the Materials Handling Institute as, “A combination of equipment and controls which handles, stores and retrieves materials with precision, accuracy and speed under a defined degree of automation”. AS/R systems are custom-planned for each individual application, and they range in complexity from relatively small mechanized systems that are controlled manually to very large computer-controlled systems that are fully integrated with factory and warehouse operations.
The AS/RS consists of a series of storage aisles that are serviced by one or more storage/retrieval (S/R) machines, usually one S/R machine per aisle. The aisles have storage racks for holding the materials to be stored. The S/R machines are used to deliver materials to the storage racks and to retrieve materials from the racks. The AS/RS has one or more input stations where materials are delivered for entry into storage and where materials are picked up from the system. The input/output stations are often referred to as pickup and deposit (P&D) stations in the terminology of AS/RS systems. The P&D stations can be manually operated or interfaced to some form of automated handling system, such as a conveyor system or AGVS.
Types of AS/RS
Several important categories of automated storage/retrieval systems can be distinguished. These include:
Basic Components of an AS/RS
All automated storage/retrieval systems consist of certain basic building blocks. These components are:
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