AS/RS Systems, Automated storage and retrieval systems, are computer controlled systems for storing and retrieving products in a warehouse or distribution centre. AS/RS Systems require virtually no manual labour and are engineered to be completely automated.
Mini-Load systems are smaller systems and typically allow selection of items in totes, trays or cartons. AS/RS systems are configured with pallet rack laid out with narrow aisles between. Sometimes there is a raised metal rail down the centre and a tall mast travels through the aisle along the rail. When the mast reaches the storage location, an AS/RS carriage travels up the mast to the picking spot. An automatic mechanism then reaches into the storage location to retrieve or return the load.
The miniload system can be configured many different ways, but typically a smaller system will employ extractors that grasp handles on metal trays with robotic arms or vacuums.
Storage and Retrieval Machines pick up or drop off loads to the rest of the supporting transportation system at specific stations, where inbound and outbound loads are precisely positioned for proper handling.