If your warehouse is bursting with inventory and you are running out of space you face a big operational problem. You could add major overhead costs by leasing or building out a new warehouse. Or you could use the space you already have and increase the efficiency of your workers by building upward.
Vertical storage systems take up much less space than racking and shelving because they don’t require aisles. They also increase worker safety and efficiency by bringing the item directly to the operator rather than having workers reaching and lifting to pick items from low and high shelving.
By utilizing ceiling height in a warehouse or distribution center, 9,050 square feet of traditional storage space can be condensed into 150 feet of vertical storage. And because the picking of items is automated, picking and pulling rates are up to five times that of traditional storage.
Walking up and down and aisle to pick and store items is time consuming and fatiguing. Research shows that the average warehouse worker spends 60% of their time simply walking from one part of the warehouse to another. With a carousel system, the worker remains in place simply picks the item as the carousel spins. Carousels can be stacked to create two picking zones, one on the first floor and the other on the second floor or mezzanine. With little down time, a typical pick rate can reach 250-350 lines picked per hour, compared with traditional shelving rates of 45-60 lines picked per hour.
Vertical storage carousels are typically used to sore rolled products such as carpet, vinyl and textiles as well as spooled products like wire and cable. A vertical storage carousel can be customized for almost any product, however, and have been used for tires, clothing and even paint.
Storage carousels are often combined with warehouse management software and pick-to-light technology. With a pick-to-light system, a light indicates where the next item needs to be picked and signals the number of items that need to be picked. The system allows items to be picked with greater speed and accuracy and exchanges the information with warehouse management software that keeps track of inventories.
A typical warehouse where items are stacked on shelves and where workers must climb ladders to reach items one at a time is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. With a vertical storage carousel and other such automation, distribution is faster, more accurate and less tiring for the worker.