Distribution
Article
Efficient distribution is a key factor when competing in the fields of retail, wholesale and e-commerce. As customers require fast and accurate delivery, the start of the ordered items’ journey has to meet the same requirements

As the leading supplier of gantry robot handling systems for the food and beverage, tire manufacturing and mail processing industries, Cimcorp has now developed a full-scale robotic storage and retrieval solution for totes – the Cimcorp 3D Shuttle™.

“When compared to any existing solution in distribution centers, the Shuttle is extremely competitive and becomes unbeatable as the number of SKUs and the size of storage increases,” says Kai Tuomisaari, Sales Director at Cimcorp. The Cimcorp 3D Shuttle™ solution uses proven gantry robot technology, combined with an innovative shuttle device to store and retrieve totes required for order fulfillment.

“It is perfect for applications where large numbers of SKUs are handled, such as goodsto- person order picking stations. The system can make order fulfillments six times more efficient than a manual solution.”

The efficiency of the Cimcorp 3D Shuttle™ comes down to innovative technology, but at the same time the basics of its operation cycle are quite simple: As rainbow stacks are created on entry to the storage area, the system first collects the stacks and deposits them inside the robot’s working envelope. When a particular SKU is required to fulfill an order, the nearest corresponding tote is retrieved and deposited on the shuttle device. The shuttle travels along the gantry and transfers the tote to the outfeed conveyor, which then transports it to a conveyor line that feeds the picking stations. Once picking from the tote is complete, it is conveyed back to the entry point of the storage area.

“The high-speed shuttle can retrieve up to 1,000 totes per hour from the storage area. On the other hand, infeed capacities can exceed 5,000 totes per hour, meaning that some 80 percent of system time is used for the primary task of feeding totes to the picking area.”

Perfect fit

Being modular in design, the 3D Shuttle™ solution meets the precise throughput needs of each application: the floor area of the system and the number of gantry robots can be tailored for each customer. The system can take care of a distribution center’s entire operations or, alternatively, it may operate as an ‘island of automation’ within a manual facility.

In addition to unequalled efficiency, the 3D Shuttle™ also provides for higher storage density: with goods accessed from above, there is no need for space-wasting aisles and massive conveyor sequencers.

“Optimum space utilization is achieved through the use of floor-based storage. As well as other benefits the shuttle can provide, this is a clear advantage for retail, wholesale and e-commerce distribution centers.”

With each gantry robot able to store an extensive number of totes on the storage area floor, and the need for only a minimal amount of equipment both contribute to the costefficiency of operations. While the excellent cost/storage capacity ratio leads to lower invest- ment costs, the lack of the need for racking further adds to cost savings. According to Tuomisaari, the modular design and scalability of the system guarantee investment protection.

"As the robots are easily programmable, the solution offers unrivalled dynamism to meet changing flows of goods."

Cimcorp 3D Shuttle™ – Unrivalled efficiency 

  • 80% of system time is used for the primary task – feeding totes to the picking area
  • Independently operating gantry shuttles for the retrieval of required totes allows the robots to return to storage tasks sooner, boosting efficiency even further
  • High speed: up to 1,000 totes/hour retrieved from the storage area
  • The innovative shuttle and the reduced amount of equipment enable 100% sequencing of totes

 

TEXT: TOTTI TOISKALLIO PHOTOS: TIMO KYYRÖ, CIMCORP

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