ASRS 101: An Overview of Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems

The MHI Industry Group, Automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), consists of the Industry’s leading suppliers of automated storage/retrieval systems. They supply systems worldwide and in virtually every major manufacturing and distribution sector. To help you better understand Automated storage and retrieval systems and the benefits associated with them, ASRS recently released the document, ASRS 101: An Overview of Automated Storage and Retrieval SystemsThis document explores the uses and benefits of ASRS including a complete list of the 23 ASRS member companies. View the report the preview below and download the full document to learn more.


What is an ASRS?

Automated storage and retrieval systems, sometimes known as ASRS or AS/RS, are made of a variation of computer-controlled systems that automatically place and retrieve loads from set storage locations in a facility with precision, accuracy and speed. 

An Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) is a combination of equipment and controls that handle, store and retrieve materials as needed with precision, accuracy and speed under a defined degree of automation. Systems vary from relatively simple, manually controlled order-picking machines operating in small storage structures to extremely large, computer-controlled storage/retrieval systems totally integrated into a manufacturing and distribution process. 

Generically speaking, AS/RS refers to a variety of computer-controlled methods for automatically depositing and retrieving loads to and from defined storage locations. Within an AS/RS environment one would find one or more of the following technologies: Horizontal Carousels, Vertical Carousels, Vertical Lift Modules, and/or Fixed Aisle (F/A) Storage and Retrieval Systems, the latter utilizing special storage and retrieval machines to do the work needed to insert, extract and deliver loads to designated input/output locations within the aisles being served. 

The right application of AS/RS provides a long list of user benefits! It has been demonstrated time and time again that Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems are proven technologies capable of effectively and reliably handling and buffering raw materials, work-in-process inventories and finished goods of all kinds, making it possible to totally integrate material handling storage, however temporary, into the total process being served. 

What are the uses of ASRS?

Automated storage and retrieval systems are used in a variety of areas to support processing and picking throughout a facility: 

ORDER PICKING: : Retrieving and presenting required inventory to pickers
STORAGE: Providing dense long-term buffering for small or large items that are slow- to medium-movers
KITTING: Providing an area to group component parts for assembly
CONSOLIDATION: Providing a dynamic area to hold parts and items until all pieces of an order can be merged ready for shipment. Often used for consumer, B2B and store orders.
ASSEMBLY: Storing work piece components for later production
PRODUCTION: Storing tooling and component parts for manufacturing processes
REPLENISHMENT: Storing excess inventory for restocking of ancillary picking systems
SECURITY: Providing an enclosed storage environment with software access controls
RETAIL: Providing a large quantity of parts and items at a customer service desk. Keeps workers in front of customers instead of walking and searching in back rooms. 

What are the benefits of ASRS?

-Increases throughput capabilities
– Increases accuracy levels to 99.99%+
– Increases ergonomics by delivering items to the operator at a convenient height, eliminating time lost to walking, searching, lifting, bending and twisting activities
– Provides highest possible storage density
– Saves up to 85%+ of otherwise wasted floor space
– Increases labor productivity up to 85%
– Enhances product security
– Provides real-time inventory control 

Download the full document to learn more.