The ideal partner for individual storage and materials handling solutions

Kardex automated storage & retrieval - A smart alternative

Investing in Automated storage instead of conventional shelving..



Automated Storage and Retrieval – A Smart Alternative


Material handling in a typical machining or

manufacturing operation can account for a large percentage of production time.

With a focus on leaner efficiency it’s worth

looking at more efficient storing, handling and retrieval of your



Automated storage and

retrieval systems are a smart alternative to traditional shelving and rack

systems. Vertical carousels and Lift systems solve many of the problems

associated with poor utilisation of floor space, throughput restrictions,

centralised stockrooms, information and inventory management, lean

manufacturing and quick response/JIT disciplines. In the process, they can

significantly reduce operating costs.

Vertical storage and retrieval systems consist

of two primary devices. One is called a vertical carousel that uses rotating

carriers, or shelves, that move on a track (like a Ferris wheel) in response to

operator commands. The other vertical device is a VLM (Vertical Lift Module).

VLMs consist of a series of trays that are mounted on both sides of an

inserter/extractor device. With both the vertical carousel and VLM, items are

automatically delivered to the operator at an ergonomically positioned work

counter, eliminating walking, searching, bending and stooping. 

These systems come in a wide range of capacities

and configurations and can be used for a number of storage and retrieval

requirements. There are vertical systems that can easily handle tools, dies and

pallets with each carrier able to accommodate up to 11,025 pounds. Some of

these units are available with up to 210 shelf levels for a total unit capacity

of 2,315,250 pounds. Other vertical storage and retrieval systems are designed

specifically to store small tooling and consumable safety items. “Standard”

vertical storage and retrieval systems can hold items as large as heavy tooling

and sub-assemblies and as small as screws and other fasteners. 


When looking at increasing

productivity and leaner manufacturing options you need to consider the




Nature of the

load to be stored







Defining control



Conventional static storage

systems like shelving require employees to spend up to 70 percent of their time

searching for items. On average, in typical industrial applications,

productivity throughput can increase by more than 2.5 times.

One of the primary reasons for considering a

vertical system is the improved space utilisation they offer. Depending on

useable building interior heights, a significant percentage of a conventional

storage system’s occupied floor space can be recovered. The small unit

footprint makes vertical systems especially valuable for point-of-use storage

and JIT manufacturing applications. Recovered floor space can be re-allocated

from cost-associated functions of inventory to value-increasing production

operations. Improved space utilisation can also extend the useful life of

existing facilities, eliminating the need for expensive brick and mortar

expansion to meet growth requirements.

Redundant or non-essential handling can be

reduced with vertical systems, especially in applications frequent reuse of

tools and dies. The time saved results in less operating costs and improved

customer service. Labour costs are reduced due to the system’s quick retrieval

times and the capability to meet varying throughput requirements while not

being bound by thresholds imposed by limited-access systems. Typically, an

operator’s walk and search time is reversed from that of conventional systems

to 70 percent picking and only 30 percent dwell time.


There are a number of

important factors to consider when planning the installation of a vertical

storage and retrieval system. A properly applied approach to planning and

specifying can substantially enhance the benefits these systems offer. To learn

more contact Kardex Remstar at




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