Logistics providers are turning to automation for efficiency and flexibility. Swisslog Holding AG this week said it has completed 300 integration projects with AutoStore's technology in more than 26 countries, featuring a total of more than 7 million storage bins and using at least 10,000 robots.
“We are uniquely placed to help businesses transform their automated warehouse operations with everything from simple standalone AutoStore projects to some of the largest and most complex installations,” said Markus Kirchhoff, head of the AutoStore Europe business unit at Swisslog. “Demand for this technology is so strong that by June 2022, we expect to have increased our site base from 300 to 350 projects.”
Swisslog said it provides modular, data-driven logistics automation including robots and software. The Buchs, Switzerland-based unit of KUKA Group has more than 14,000 people working worldwide.
Swisslog delivers ROI within two years
Swisslog claimed that its customers typically achieve a return on investment (ROI) for AutoStore installations within as little as two years. They can process more orders using the same workforce, maintain higher levels of consistency and quality, and improve the throughput per employee, claimed the company. In addition, customers can improve working conditions and job satisfaction, it said.
Swisslog manages installations of AutoStore's automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) with its SynQ software. Swisslog's experts have designed the warehouse platform to maximize ASRS efficiency and fully integrate with more complex applications.
WMS SynQ can synchronize and optimize supply chain operations in the era of Industry 4.0, claimed Swisslog.
The company added that AutoStore uses robots and bins to quickly process small parts orders. It enables direct stacking of bins on top of one another and the storage of multiple SKUs in a single bin. The system can learn which products have a higher rotation, storing them on top layers to ensure faster picking times.
Not only can the AutoStore save space and labor, but it can also productivity, quality, and security, said Swisslog. In brownfield sites, the ASRS can future-proof businesses in dynamic markets, according to the company.
AutoStore micro-fulfillment centers prove value
Swisslog said its 300 AutoStore projects to date demonstrate its capabilities across micro-fulfillment centers (MFCs); standalone projects; and large, complex, fully integrated solutions.
Growing in popularity, micro-fulfillment centers typically repurpose existing facilities, such as retail stores. They can be turned around in as little as six months and offer an enhanced customer experience, said Swisslog. Recent MFC projects include installations for SKUtopia in Australia, as well as Peapod and H-E-B in the U.S.
SKUtopia is working with Swisslog to introduce an automated MFC in Sydney, Australia. It said its new fulfillment center enables up to 300 businesses to scale from one to 10,000 orders.
SKUtopia, which described itself as a “fourth-party logistics (4PL) operation,” provides home delivery and automated click-and-collect functionality with 24/7 availability, as well as managed inventory, orders, shipping, and warehousing.
Standalone, complex projects finished worldwide
Stand-alone AutoStore solutions completed by Swisslog include projects for TTV in Germany, Bio Partner in Switzerland, Stihl in Spain, and RoboStores in the United Arab Emirates. The company said its lean project setup enables such projects to be completed within six months for fast returns on investment (ROI). It provides a single contact for every phase of AutoStore projects, from evaluation to deployment.
Industrials seals and bearings specialist TTV (Technische Teile Vertrieb GmbH) is using AutoStore to use storage space more efficiently and to pick orders much faster than it was able to do with simple shelving racks and manual handling.
The new system also works reliably even under maximum load, said Swisslog. It has 15,000 bin locations and initially four AutoStore robots with two conveyor ports for goods receipt and order picking.
Complex and fully integrated AutoStore solutions have longer lead times and typically have a phased implementation. Among major brands leveraging Swisslog’s expertise on these large-scale implementations are ASDA in the U.K., Arvato in the Netherlands, Brack in Switzerland, Varner in Sweden, and Radwell in the U.S.
Swisslog quickly expanded the AutoStore system at Arvato Supply Chain Solutions for flexibility. Source: Swisslog
Arvato Supply Chain scales up with ASRS
Arvato Supply Chain Solutions chose AutoStore to future-proof e-commerce order processing for Rituals Cosmetics Enterprise using movable pick carts and a Swisslog Quick Move conveyor system.
The first phase was installed in 2019 with a grid of up to 36,000 bins, 36 robots, six picking stations, and two inbound stations. Swisslog helped roll out a second phase with 65 additional robots and six more picking stations was deploy due to soaring e-commerce demand during the pandemic.
Incoming orders are assigned to a put-to-light pick cart in the most logical order. The order picker walks the cart through the fast-mover lane, where triple-A orders and larger products are assigned to the correct order boxes.
Carts are then placed at the AutoStore picking stations where the orders are completed using the put-to-light principle. Some 80% of orders are handled automatically.
Email Sign Up
Get news, papers, media and research delivered
Stay up-to-date with news and resources you need to do your job.
Research industry trends, compare companies and get market intelligence every week with Robotics 24/7.
Subscribe to our robotics user email newsletter and we'll keep you informed and up-to-date.