• Swisslog Powerstore
    Swisslog Powerstore
  • Swisslog Powerstore
    Swisslog Powerstore
  • Swisslog Powerstore
    Swisslog Powerstore

This is a sponsored post by Swisslog. 

Automating and retrofitting brownfield sites mean operators with older warehouses do not have to live with the limitations of their current systems and processors. 

Robotic material handling systems, such as pallet shuttles and goods-to-person Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS), are proliferating because they are ideally suited to meet the needs of today’s warehouses. Offering exceptional storage density, high throughput, enhanced sustainability and improved accuracy and productivity, these systems are helping warehouse operators and supply chain managers deal with SKU growth, fluctuations in demand and changing customer expectations.

Some operators with older warehouses may feel left behind by this new wave of warehouse technology. They may believe they have no choice but to live with the limitations of their current processes and systems or may even be considering investing in a new build to address the challenges they face. Fortunately, there is a third alternative: adding automation to the existing facility.

Retrofitting brownfield warehouses with robotic automation

Unlike older mechanised approaches to warehouse automation, today’s robotic-based systems are adaptable to their environment. Their flexible configuration options allow them to work in a variety of building shapes and sizes and even around obstructions such as columns. They also feature a modular design that enables a phased approach to implementation that can allow the warehouse to continue to serve customers while automation is deployed.

There are still some challenges that may need to be addressed in older facilities, such as cracked or uneven floors. However, it’s much less expensive to repair or replace a cracked floor than to build a new facility. And lower capital costs are just one of the many benefits you can realise by adding automation to an existing warehouse.

Swisslog Powerstore
Swisslog’s PowerStore pallet shuttle can deliver up to 60 per cent more storage capacity than existing shelfing or pallet storage.

ASRS systems, such as Swisslog’s PowerStore pallet shuttle, can deliver up to 60 per cent more storage capacity than existing shelfing or pallet storage, expanding warehouse capacity and freeing up space for other processes. In each-picking applications, goods-to-person ASRS systems, such as AutoStore and CycloneCarrier, deliver productivity improvements of 200-300 per cent, with picking accuracy of 99 per cent or better.

Swisslog’s PowerStore system has been used in Australia by Linfox Bevchain to enhance safety and increase storage by around 60 per cent. This was a brownfield site, where the PowerStore solution had to be designed around the structure of BevChain’s existing building.

Automation can also reduce the environmental footprint of the facility by minimising interplant and intra-plant transportation requirements, and the automation software delivers better visibility into product inventory, enhanced performance reporting and synchronisation of manual and automated processes.

In short, you get the full benefits of today’s data-driven, robotic, and flexible automation technologies faster and at lower cost than you would by building a new automated warehouse.

Remote Commissioning

To further assist with challenges created by the pandemic, Swisslog has remotely commissioned several Australian projects, which meant they were able to be delivered on-time and on-budget, despite strict Covid regulations preventing on-site visitor access at times.

As soon as Covid hit, we knew our first responsibility was with our customers. We put them first and delivered on-time despite hugely challenging conditions. Collaboration with global teams, including Technology Centres and experts, helped in implementing the projects efficiently, and using global learnings to implement best practice locally.

Giving new life to older warehouses

If you’re dealing with SKU proliferation, experiencing deteriorating service levels, struggling to maintain efficiency and productivity goals, or having trouble recruiting and retaining labour, a warehouse automation project can solve your operating problems while extending the life and value of your warehouse.

For more information on automating existing warehouses, download Swisslog’s white paper, Implementing Warehouse Automation in Brownfield Sites.

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