Shuttle Systems for Improved Warehouse Performance

Fast and efficient, the shuttle system is a welcome addition to the modern warehouse. The innovative technology of the shuttle increases speed, accuracy and throughput in warehouses and distribution centers quite significantly.

Performance is ramped up using three decoupled systems operating on three axes, creating the 3D-Matrix Solution® concept. Conveyors distribute the load to a selected aisle. Lifts on one or both ends of each aisle or even distributed along the aisles for even higher performance, travel up and down to distribute the load to the required level while autonomous shuttles move horizontally up and down the aisle to put away, store and retrieve the products.

The throughput per aisle is further enhanced by increasing the number of shuttles operating in a single aisle. Some lifts are also designed to raise and lower more than one load at a time.

How much faster can it be? When compared with the automated storage and retrieval machines (ASRS) using cranes for storage and retrieval, each shuttle per-se, due to its lighter structure, already provides a significant increase in single machine performance. Different shuttle solutions (multi-level, single-level, multiple shuttles per level) in combination with the right lifting and conveyor arrangements allow for virtually unlimited performances. 

Shuttle systems are also extremely flexible. Different technologies allow for handling of pallets, layers, cartons, bins, trays and totes in variable sizes. Being modular, such systems can be easily scaled up to fit the customer’s requirements today and in the future.

Who can best benefit from these qualities? The shuttle systems are ideally suited for modern retail, where products are sold through a multitude of channels - from brick and mortar stores to mobile phones, websites and interactive TVs. In this Omni-channel world, manufacturers, retailers and distributors must react promptly to cyclical, seasonal and changing product ranges. More options for the consumer can only mean more SKUs for the DCs.

The complexity in order fulfilment is further compounded by how orders are placed. Order sizes are smaller as well as more frequent, with some shipped directly to individuals in ever shorter delivery windows.

With its ability to support large orders with a high degree of inventory accuracy, the shuttle system is an invaluable partner for modern retail.

SSI SCHAEFER Shuttle Family

SSI SCHAEFER has a portfolio of shuttle systems to accommodate pallets, trays, cartons or bins, on one or more levels - the Schäfer Lift&Run, a highly dynamic multi-level shuttle for pallets in a channel storage system; the Schaefer Tray System, a multi-level shuttle for pallet layers; the Navette, a multi-level shuttle for small load carriers in fully automatic warehouses; the Cuby, a single-level shuttle system designed to transport bins or cartons weighing up to 35 kgs., and the new product: SSI Flexi Shuttle, is a single-level shuttle designed to make the best possible use of available storage space.

Flexi Shuttle is the scalable single-level shuttle designed for use in highly dynamic automated miniload systems with dynamically adaptable storage location sized to store a wide variety of transport units. It can handle carriers and containers of many shapes and sizes up to 50kg – in conjunction with high throughput and exceptional flexibility. A unique feature is the system’s ability to support dynamic storage position dimensions.

Thanks to the universal load handling device with adjustable width, the Flexi Shuttle can adapt to single-, double-, and multiple-deep storage of a broad spectrum of loading units and dimensions, even in deep-freeze conditions. A unique feature is the rack conception with dynamically adjustable storage location sizes. Omitting permanently allocated x-storage positions, the rack conception facilitates space-optimized shelf occupancy with maximum storage density. This can even be achieved with a high diversity of loading units and a broad spectrum of transport dimensions.