Warehouse Carousel Systems: Everything You Need to Know
When it comes to warehouse automation, you’ve got a lot of choices of potential technologies that could give your facility the extra efficiency and productivity you need. Your team is most likely looking for solutions that can decrease costs and help build a more profitable business. Installing a warehouse carousel system is a great way to hit all these marks while providing a wide range of applications.
Read on to learn more about warehouse carousel systems, your options and why investing in a warehouse carousel is a great choice for many different storage environments.
Understanding the Different Types of Carousel Order Picking Systems
Warehouse carousel systems are a great way to organize your warehouse and create an efficient method to collect and pick products. Automated storage systems like carousels usually consist of a series of shelving units that rotate to bring products to the operator. These goods-to-person systems are fast and efficient and can turn your warehouse into a fine-tuned and organized machine.
When looking at carousel systems, you’ll most likely run into both vertical and horizontal configurations. Each plays a special role in a warehouse setting. Knowing which one you will need for your facility is always the first step.
Keep in mind that your facility may need one, the other or even both types. Automated industrial carousels can be a significant part of a robust and blended automation system that gets your team the products they need on time and with a cut to labor costs.
If you’re searching for an efficient way to move warehouse items throughout your facility in a quick and automated fashion, a horizontal carousel can make a great addition to your overall system. These carousels consist of an oval track and bins. These bins are easily adjustable, meaning fitting for different products is painless.
You can even remove the bins to fit specific products, such as:
- Hanging garments
Additionally, you may find different types of horizontal carousels. Each type of carousel can match specific operational purposes and requirements. Depending on your warehouse environment and the items you intend to store, you might leverage any of these horizontal carousel types:
- Standard horizontal carousel. This is the type of carousel we described earlier. Standard carousels are typically grouped together in pods or workstations. The number of required carousels is going to depend on factors like the desired throughput.
- Robotic horizontal carousel. As you may have guessed, this is an automated system that utilizes a fully robotic picking arm — meaning you won’t need human hands for operation.
- Put horizontal carousel. Similar in operation to a put wall, these carousels are great for returns or consolidation within your facility.
Common Uses for Horizontal Carousels
Horizontal carousels are easily configurable for many different warehouse environments and needs. Often, you’ll find horizontal carousels in operation helping with fulfillment, buffering and consolidation. Let’s take a look at how a horizontal carousel can help with consolidation.
Consolidating orders can take up quite a bit of floor space, your team’s time and, most importantly, your budget. With horizontal carousel systems, workers can easily pick items and send them down to the carousel and order consolidation. Here, the automation software sorts product bins into the carousel.
A worker can then batch pick products for orders without needing to walk and find items. This can save your team precious time and dramatically improve overall productivity.
Maximizing storage space doesn’t mean you have to cut down on picking and packing efficiency. Vertical carousels, also known as vertical lift modules (VLMs), are automated warehouse and supply chain systems that can provide a quick and accurate way to access and store various products.
Vertical warehouse carousel storage systems consist of enclosed automated shelving. These shelves rotate according to operator instruction on the main control panel. Implementing a warehouse vertical carousel storage system means your team can avoid the tedious task of walking and searching through storage areas as vertical carousels consolidate products.
This cuts out a lot of work that wastes time or causes other stress on your team and your facility, including:
- Bending and lifting items that could cause injury
- Climbing ladders for product picking
- The process of moving boxes to access specific products
A big factor that makes vertical carousels so popular is how they reduce physical stress on your team. Safety should always be your main concern, and vertical carousels can help you check a few boxes on your warehouse safety checklist.
Compared to static shelving, vertical carousels offer a much more consolidated footprint and provide increased storage capacity. With static shelving, you’ll need to factor in extra space for aisles and everyday operational traffic. Moreover, some shelving systems are not optimized for storing items that come in different shapes and sizes. On the other hand, warehouse vertical carousels are incredibly versatile and can store light to heavy parts efficiently.
Common Uses for Vertical Carousels
Vertical carousels can easily integrate into existing warehouse management systems and match your facility’s workflow without much need for setup. Workers can enter items and quantities into the system’s control panel, and the software will automatically track the location of items.
When a worker requests an item, the shelving will rotate into the correct position for the worker to easily collect the product. Usually, this happens at an ergonomic level for the worker, meaning you can take the pain out of your warehouse operations. The entire process only takes a few short moments.
You can easily customize the shelving to meet your needs, as well. From uniform bins to custom storage on each carousel level, whatever your needs, a vertical carousel system can meet them.
Vertical carousels also find use in many different applications, including:
- Order fulfillment
- Order consolidation
- Work in progress
- Batch picking
- Much more
If you’re stuck trying to determine which warehouse carousel system your team needs, make sure to reach out to our storage experts here at East Coast Storage Equipment. While we’re known for our quality used storage equipment, we also offer great services to help you develop the best solution for your facility. This includes facility design and even consultation and project management.
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Benefits of Using Warehouse Carousel Storage Systems
Warehouse carousel storage systems can automate your facility’s workflow and reduce overall costs. While vertical and horizontal carousel systems are quite different, they both still provide some similar benefits. Your facility may require both systems to fully improve operational efficiency and workforce reduction.
Regardless of which carousel system you choose, you can expect great ROI. Look, we know the upfront costs can seem daunting, but when you break down every daily operation your team uses to pick, sort and consolidate products, it becomes a no-brainer. Think about how many team members you need to find a product in your facility and prepare it for an order.
Horizontal carousels allow for your workers to easily load warehouse items in an incredibly efficient system. This reduces the need for extra workers on the schedule and means team members aren’t wasting time walking around, searching for and picking products.
The same goes for vertical carousels. With these systems, workers can easily punch the item they need into the control panel and receive the product in seconds. Over time, these cost savings add up quite a bit.
Save on Space
In warehouses, space is always at a premium. In fact, most of the time, when we are talking to clients, it’s all about how we can get the most out of their square footage. Carousels do exactly that. They are incredibly efficient, save space and can easily manage a large number of SKUs and products.
We can easily customize horizontal carousel installations, too. This means moving through otherwise wasted space is quite easy. Carousels can encompass building obstacles like support columns and turn even the most difficult section of your facility into prime warehouse space.
Vertical carousels somewhat speak for themselves. The super-efficient shelving storage system builds up, not out. With a minimal footprint, you can store thousands of different items with high organizational optimization.
Where to Find Quality Used Warehouse Carousel Systems
Here at East Coast Storage Equipment, we know it can be a big decision to implement a warehouse carousel system in your facility. While the ROI opportunities are high, that doesn’t necessarily make the cost of a brand new system any less painful. If you need a quality carousel system but are looking for cost-savings, you can have the best of both worlds by working with our qualified team of storage professionals and buying used. Make sure to reach out today to start planning your next installation.