How is the ASRS technology going to impact the cold chain industry in 2022?

How is the ASRS technology going to impact the cold chain industry in 2022?

December 27, 2022 .

A set of tools and controls known as an automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) work together to handle, store, and retrieve materials quickly, accurately, and precisely as needed. Discover the potential impact of Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) technology on the cold chain industry in this insightful blog post. Learn about the benefits of ASRS, including improved efficiency, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness, and how it can help streamline cold chain operations.

What makes ASRS technologies so vital for cold storage and how will it make a difference in the sector of cold storage?

Smaller building footprint with optimized usage of the storage cube.

High bay ASRS effectively uses the available footprint in a distribution center (DC). With aisles in an ASRS also typically requiring up to less than a third of the space compared to those in conventional pallet storage systems, ASRS significantly reduce the total floorspace required to store a comparable number of pallets, typically by 25 percent or more, depending on the height of the system.

-Significant on-going energy savings

With ASRS enabling more pallets to be stored in a smaller cubic area, they reduce on-going refrigeration energy operating costs as required for high volume space in conventional storage systems. The smaller surface area of ASRS cold stores also reduces the impact of thermal transfer through the walls and roof area, further reducing energy consumption. There is also limited lighting requirements within ASRS, and no need for large doors to be constantly opening and closing for forklift access, further reducing energy consumption. When evaluating the cost-effectiveness of ASRS in cold stores or freezers, it is important to factor in the continuing rise of energy costs over the system’s anticipated operational lifespan.

-No need to work in harsh environments

Employee turnover in cold store and freezer environments is typically higher than in conventional warehousing. With all pallet handling within ASRS cold stores and freezers handled automatically, and the use of integrated infeed/outfeed pallet conveyors, operational staff are not required to work in harsh cold store or freezer environments, with stock put-away and retrieval, order fulfilment, load consolidation and shipping taking place in ambient temperatures. Staff working in freezers are also required to take regular breaks from working in sub-zero conditions, reducing productivity and increasing operating costs.

-Reduced on-going product and equipment damage

By eliminating the need for manually operated forklifts, accidental damage to products, racks, freezer doors and other equipment is eliminated.

-Occupational health and safety benefits

With no operational staff permitted within the ASRS warehouse, safety issues associated with the use of manually operated forklifts and pallet trucks are eliminated.

-Guaranteed inventory location accuracy and inventory security

Accurate, real-time computer control of inventory locations in ASRS cold stores and freezers eliminates stock put-away errors that can occur in manual operations. Furthermore, guaranteed inventory accuracy is a desirable selling feature for third party logistics (3PL) cold storage providers[S11] .[S12]  With ASRS providing a fully automated operation, another benefit is significantly improved inventory security, which greatly reduces the potential for stock pilferage/shrinkage.

-Error-free order picking and FIFO stock rotation

Manually staffed cold storage DCs can experience several picking errors every day. Accurate inventory location management in ASRS and FIFO (first-in, first-out) inventory rotation ensures order accuracy and product freshness by eliminating the potential for costly picking errors.

-Control of “quarantined” products

With ASRS, inventory that is quarantined for whatever reason is electronically locked-in and not available for picking.

-Enhanced product quality

Within ASRS, pallets in cold stores and freezers are optimally spaced, allowing chilled air to circulate adequately to ensure product quality is maintained at all times.

Customer service excellence

Customers expect accurate orders and even the occasional error can badly damage the cold storage provider’s reputation and relationship with their customers[S13] .

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (also referred to as ASRS systems) are most commonly used in manufacturing and distribution facilities. They typically replace large areas of shelving to save floor space, improve safety and increase productivity. With varying technologies and applications, it can be a bit overwhelming to research ASRS systems for the first time. Have no fear. We’ve put together a one-stop “Intro to Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems” for you complete with definitions, technology differences, primary benefits, common applications, and signs it’s time to start considering ASRS. Class is in session!

Here are some reasons why Gubba opted for ASRS technologies.

Replenishment Overload – If workers are spending just as much time replenishing as they are picking you’re wasting time.

Extensive Travel Time – If workers are wasting time traveling several miles during a shift to access inventory.

Excessive Search Time – If, upon arrival at a picking destination, workers must spend time visually searching for the correct item and matching up part numbers.

Rising Picking Errors – If picking errors are on the rise, wasting money and risking your company’s reputation.

Struggling Throughput – If you’re struggling to keep up with order cut-off time, or hiring seasonal workers to keep up with demand.

Damaged Items – If a valuable inventory is often found damaged and unusable.

Misplaced Inventory – If an inventory is frequently misplaced or temporarily lost.

Pilfered Product – If an inventory is often unexplainably missing .

The facility at Max Capacity – If your building is bursting at the seams and there’s no room for growth.

Risk of Operator Injury – If workers are at risk of injury.

An ASRS is a computer-controlled system for automatically depositing, inventorying, and retrieving loads from defined storage locations. It allows inventory to be moved quickly, safely, and precisely in a warehouse environment. When applied to a sub-zero warehouse, ASRS produces dramatic results, effectively making the cold storage facility as efficient as an automated non-freezer warehouse.

There is another major benefit for a company making the switch from a manual to an ASRS cold storage facility – high-bay accessibility. In a typical cold storage warehouse where forklifts are used, the lift’s maximum reach is around 20 feet, allowing about four vertical pallet positions for a maximum 20-foot rack height. With an ASRS facility, it is common to have as many as 12 vertical pallet positions on 80-foot racks and higher. In a non-freezer warehouse, this is an important efficiency factor in footprint consolidation. In a cold storage warehouse, footprint reduction becomes an absolutely critical factor in energy savings since much of the heat gain occurs in the roof.

 [S11]. Furthermore, guaranteed inventory accuracy is a desirable selling feature for clients in storage & logistics operations

 [S12]Inventory accuracy is requried for all clients

 [S13]While Customers expect accurate orders/batch products in storage & retrival of their products. So, even the occasional error can badly damage the cold storage provider’s reputation and relationship with their customers

About the author

Gubba Group:

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