Carousel Systems are a high density storage rack system that uses special inventory management software to bring stored items or materials to the operator rather than the operator going to retrieve the stock or materials.
Materials are stored in plastic bins or on shelves, and the bins or shelves revolve around on a track until "called" by the operator. This material handling storage system is called an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (otherwise known as ASRS or AS/RS) and can be run both manually or automated using ASRS controls and ASRS software.
By using an ASRS carousel system, increased production and efficiency create an effective supply chain management system by making the most of the storage area available.
Horizontal Carousel Systems vs. Vertical Carousel Storage Systems
Carousels come in two main systems designs - vertical carousels and horizontal carousels.
Vertical carousel retrieval units are an Automated Storage & Retrieval System (ASRS) that consists of a series of plastic bins mounted on a heavy duty oval track that rotates vertically to deliver parts or inventory. Vertical carousels use a computer system to control where parts or inventory is stored and can deliver parts or inventory to the operator on command. Vertical carousels provide one of the most efficient and productive means of warehouse storage retrieval on the market today.
Horizontal carousel retrieval units rotate around horizontally on a track, where vertical carousel retrieval units rotate vertically. They offer a flexible integrated inventory management systems design that provides a high density storage solution in a distribution center or warehouse environment. Horizontal carousels are composed of a frame with horizontally rotating carriage of bins that are controlled by a computer system. It provides a high density storage and retrieval solution. Items or parts can be retrieved and delivered to the operator.
Vertical carousels take full advantage of overhead space and can save you up to 70% more floor space when compared to conventional static storage. Operator productivity is increased by up to two-thirds by eliminating the old "walk, search, stock, store" method of material handling.
Vertical carousels bring items to the picker via the shortest route possible and provide a well-lit work areas, reducing worker fatigue and error. Items are kept out of sight and stored within the carousel, adding security and safety. Workers won't have to climb, stretch or bend to retrieve items because vertical carousels deliver items conveniently to the carousel's pick station, providing one of the most efficient and productive means of storage retrieval on the market today.
Not all vertical carousels are open, however. If you've been to a home improvement store recently, you'll know that they have installed carousels to hold carpets, vinyl rolls and other large rolled goods. This type of unit is called a spool or carpet carousel.
How a Vertical Carousel Works
Watch this guide on the features & benefits of vertical carousels. Learn how you can save over 70% of floor space over traditional static storage solutions. Find out how a vertical carousel can help your business.
A horizontal carousel is simply a rotating carriage of bins. Each bin has shelves (usually 4 or 5). Products can be stored directly on shelves themselves or in totes stored on the shelves.
The operator of the carousel simply stands in front of the carousel and has the products come to him for retrieval. Horizontal carousels save a tremendous amount of time and energy when compared to traditional methods of rack or shelving type storage.
How a Horizontal Carousel Works
Example of a horizontal carousel pod consisting of three White horizontal carousels, light trees, bins, scissor lift & surrounding wire cage.
Vertical Lift Modules
Similar to vertical carousels, Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs) are designed with space savings in mind. Like vertical carousels, these units use vertical space instead of spreading loads out on the warehouse floor and can achieve a total space savings of up to 80%.
VLMs differ from vertical carousels in that they do not have a continuously rotating series of trays, but instead rely on a shuttle that traverses the height of the unit and picks entire shelves from their set locations. It then brings these shelves to the operator at the bottom of the unit where items can be picked or stored at a safe working height.
Unlike vertical carousels, vertical lift modules also allow for loads of different heights to be stored in the same unit. The unit's software knows how much room it has in any particular storage space and, when needed, can reshuffle the shelves to create the right amount of room for almost any item's height. Some VLMs even have two shuttles so a continuous pick or put cycle can be maintained with little or no interruption. These units are also very secure and simple to use.
How a Vertical Lift Module Works
Vertical Lift Modules or VLMs for short are designed with space savings in mind. These units use vertical space instead of spreading loads out on the warehouse floor and can achieve a total space savings of up to 80%.
Carousels can be controlled in a variety of different ways, from basic hand or foot controls to more complex computer controlled systems. SJF's Genesys division has developed an innovative carousel controls suite that can be used with ANY brand, make or model of carousel and can be easily and fully integrated into any existing systems you have.