Some often decide to stay with or turn to static solutions as they seem to be easier to be implemented in their facility. What type of products fits into a Vertical Lift system?
In today’s world of automated storage systems, the Modula Vertical Lift Module is one of the most advanced dynamic and flexible solutions available. Today’s technology allows for a wide range of product sizes and weights to be stored in this type of unit. It is actually much more flexible than any static solution could ever be.
The unit utilizes a height detection system that measures the tallest item on the tray every time it stores a tray in the system allowing for the densest storage location to be determined in real time. The dynamic nature of the system allows for shelves to be stored and optimized on 1” centers providing the best cubic utilization possible. With static solutions, you are restricted with fixed shelf centers which either waste space or become restrictive for taller products. The Modula VLM unit is also constantly monitoring the weight of each tray to make sure they are properly loaded.
Will a Vertical lift system installation require clients to shut down their operation? Does it take several time to be completed?
These systems require sometime to be installed but the time is not much different than that of a static solution and is actually less intrusive. Static solutions need much more space so the area that is disrupted during the install is much larger causing more headaches. The time to install is about 5 days per unit so it depends on how many units are being installed and how many crews are used to accomplish the work. Then the owner must load the system with their parts. This operation is actually much faster with the Modula Lift solution because it is done at the delivery window of the unit with tray levels being brought to the operator. In the static solution, the operator needs to walk up and down aisles to stock all of the parts into the shelves or drawers.
Will the Vertical lift system software be compatible with the client`s existing inventory management software?
We offer a full suite of software solutions that will provide the right solutions for any customer whether it is a standalone system utilizing our inventory management WMS software or a fully interfaced version to the customer’s Host management system. Interfacing can be done through shared SQL tables or even through SAP iDocs if required. It is our goal to keep the interfaces as simple and seamless as possible so that all inventory information flows easily through the system. Our software only enhances the existing information by handling all picking activity at the machine level and communicating information back to the Host system for real-time updates.
Are Vertical lift systems more expensive than traditional static/manual solutions? How long does it take to secure ROI? Are these solutions economical only in large installations?
I think that most customers would be surprised by how affordable this level of automation really is to them. In most cases when people think about Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems) they think about big rack supported mini and unit load type cranes. These systems can be a much larger investment in money and time but this is not the case with VLM. We see ROI’s anywhere from 6 to 18 months depending on the overall size of the project. Although the overall investment for a static solution might be less the time it would take to implement would be just as long and would not provide the amount of benefits that the automated solutions brings in the end: space savings, productivity increase, accuracy improvements and better ergonomics etc.
What will be the impact on the workforce? Will employees need special training which will take too much of their time from production?
There is no negative impact on the labor force. There is a learning process to go through but no more that the learning process it would take for a new employee to understand where products are located on a bunch of shelves or in a bunch of drawers. In the case of VLM automation, the operators need to learn how to use the user-friendly operator interface. In the case of the Modula VLM, we use a touchscreen controller that makes picking from the unit very simple and fast. The increased safety is also worth noting. We find that employee retention is much greater because they are not forced to walk up and down aisles or climb up and down stairs or ladders all day. Finally, when the operator is fully trained you will find that you can get more picking per operator per hour.
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