Carousels are a technology used to store items for eventual picking or retrieval. There are two primary types of carousels and one related technology, all of which operate under some form of computer control. Since the late 1990s, carousels have been placed under the more general category of AS/RS. See also Horizontal Carousels , Vertical Carousels , Vertical Lift Modules and/or AS/RS .
2) Horizontal Carousels
As a storage device, a horizontal carousel consists of a fixed number of adjacent storage columns or bays that are mechanically linked to either an overhead or floor mounted drive mechanism to form a complete loop. Each column is divided into a fixed number of storage location or bins which in most applications are constructed of a welded wire frame. Loads consisting of containers or totes may be inserted and retrieved either manually or by an automatic inserter/extractor mechanism. However, rotation of the carousel, whereby a specific storage location is brought to the picking location, is almost always controlled automatically. See also Vertical Carousel , Vertical Lift Module , Rotary Rack , and/or AS/RS .
3) Rotary rack
A rotary rack is a special variation of a horizontal carousel. In this case each vertical level or storage location is mechanically independent of the location above or beneath it. Each level in turn is driven by a separate and independent drive. Therefore, simultaneous, independent rotation of each level is possible (in any direction). Although replenishment and picking can be accomplished manually, most rotary racks incorporate automatic load inserters and extractors. See also Horizontal Carousels and/or AS/RS .
4) Vertical Carousels
As a storage device, a vertical carousel provides for closed loop automatically controlled rotation of the basic storage unit, which in this case may be a shelf that can be subdivided into multiple bin locations. However, a shelf or a given vertical position need not be divided in order to handle large items such as a bolt of fabric or a roll of carpet. Because storage is vertical, such systems are popular when conserving floor space. Although automatic insertion and extraction of individual items or loads is possible, it is not as common as it is with horizontal carousel applications. See also Horizontal Carousels and/or AS/RS .