AutoStore: Warehouse Space Redefined and Efficiency Maximised
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Karl Johan Lier, President & CEO
The idea of AutoStore took birth in 1996 when Ingvar Hognaland, the technical director of the largest distributor of electronic components in Northern Europe, set out to reinvent the traditional warehouse storage systems. Hognaland’s mission was to eliminate the need for employees to walk long distances in the warehouse to collect any product. His vision was to replace empty air-filled spaces with storage bins designed as Rubik’s cube. With the clarion call of ‘stop airhousing and start warehousing,’ he and his team started developing a customizable ultra-density robotic storage solution that provides four times the capacity compared to manual storage. The solution was later marketed under the new company, Autostore, which has struck the right chord with firms ever since its inception. “Our automated storage solution is up to 75 percent more space-efficient than other solutions, and can be set up quickly,” states Karl Johan Lier, President and CEO of AutoStore. “We provide comprehensive space utilization by stacking as many bins as possible in an aluminium grid-like structure to improve storage density.” AutoStore has partnered with some of the major players like Swisslog and Dematic in the automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) arena to expand its network globally. “Till date, we have accomplished 360 installations across 29 countries.”
AutoStore’s reliable and versatile flagship solution, Red Line, consists of conveyor port, carousel port, and swing ports and R series warehouse robots, which are ideal for handling mid-level fulfillment needs in terms of warehouse bin stacking.
Our automated storage solution is up to 75 percent more space-efficient than other solutions, and can be set up quickly
The robots lower their gripper plates into the stack, grab the bins, and lift the plate to the grid surface to collect any goods.For better performance, team AutoStore developed the fifth generation of R series robots, R5—a reliable machine that delivers round the clock.
With continuous research, team AutoStore developed a new line of offerings—Black Line, which handles clients’ high throughput requirements. “Our modular system can address high throughput needs up to 650 bins per hour with no-single-point-of-failure,” adds Lier. For the Black Line, AutoStore innovated a new generation of robots (B1), which is near half the size and weight compared to R5. B1 is ideal for systems with numerous robotic clusters and taller bin stacks. A top storage layer for sorting and digging allows better driving patterns and aids in achieving higher speeds. B1 has a patented battery pack technology that automatically replaces the batteries of the robot when required. “For the instant resolution of any technical issue, our robots continuously self-diagnose and report to an intelligent notification system,” mentions Lier. Due to its simple, modular design, AutoStore is easy to install in existing buildings, including irregularly shaped buildings or those with low ceilings.
AutoStore has been catering to companies from a wide range of industries, including grocery, mobile accessories, 3PL, and sports apparel. PUMA—one of the world’s leading sports brands—approached AutoStore for goods-to-person automation in its new distribution centre in Torrance, California. With AutoStore, products are now placed in bins, which are then carried by radio operated robots to respective locations. AutoStore’s installation in Torrance features 171,000 bins, 170 robots, and 23 carousel ports. Since July 2016, this distribution centre has achieved an order fulfillment rate of around 175 units per operator hour for e-commerce, and 650 for wholesale units, a remarkable improvement compared to the previous situation.
AutoStore plans to add new functionalities for more streamlined cube storage. With an eye on micro-fulfillment, the company focuses on territorial expansions in larger markets, including the US and Japan