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Micro-fulfillment automation technologies

From automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) to sophisticated warehouse automation equipment and robotics, micro-fulfillment centers (MFC) utilize the most advanced distribution and fulfillment technologies to emerge in the past decade. Honeywell Intelligrated is leveraging these advancements to help retailers prepare for the future of e-fulfillment with innovative micro-fulfillment solutions.

AS/RS goods-to-person (GTP) shuttle

This AS/RS shuttle system retrieves goods from one or more aisles of high-velocity inventory — such as dry goods and refrigerated items — and delivers items directly to an operator station for picking and order consolidation. The goal would be to stock most SKUs in the MFC and allow the remainder of inventory to be picked off the store shelves or other nearby pick locations, including those in a freezer.

In a typical food retail scenario, a bolt-on MFC would handle 600–2,500 totes per hour, depending on scale. Completed orders could be loaded for delivery to consumers or placed in a refrigerated locker for in-store pickup.

Flexible Automation Solutions

For a more automated GTP solution, High-density, cube-like storage structures combine the best of robotics AS/RS and technologies to reduce storage space by up to 85%. These state-of-the-art MFCs provide fast, accurate robotic retrieval to ergonomic workstations — and can achieve high throughput rates of up to 500 tote/bin presentations per hour at a single workstation.

Given the wide variability of business models and fulfillment scenarios, MFC flexibility is critical to our customers. High-density storage MFCs can be easily tailored — contracted or expanded — to accommodate virtually any facility size or footprint. Not only can they be configured to cover diverse fulfillment processes and requirements, they also enable GTP picking stations to be located anywhere on their perimeter. In addition, these cube-like profiles can be scaled vertically in proportion to your facility’s physical footprint and high-density storage demands.

Enhanced robotic integration

If you’re seeking a fully automated solution, advanced MFC systems aim to minimize reliance on manual labor and maximize fulfillment accuracy and productivity. Both AS/RS shuttle and high-density storage systems can be equipped with mobile robots in a goods-to-robot (GTR) configuration, and even have the potential to integrate robotic arm and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for picking.

With this approach, AS/RS shuttle or high-density storage systems are still responsible for storage and retrieval, while mobile robots are integrated into the decanting, consolidation and picking processes. Instead of manual labor, mobile robotics transport goods from the workstations on the floor — while robotic arms perform each picking at GTR workstations. These powerful robotic solutions are capable of processing high volumes of data for faster decision-making and offer the flexibility to adapt to a full spectrum of process workflows.

Regardless of your specific fulfillment requirements or facility constraints, Honeywell Intelligrated is ready to help you implement a robust micro-fulfillment strategy and prepare for the future of e-fulfillment. Our experts can design the best-fit solution for your business and help you achieve a first-mover advantage in your sector.

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For more information about Honeywell Intelligrated solutions and services, call 1.866.936.7300 to speak to a sales representative or click on the link.

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