1) 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 .
2) 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 .
3) Fixed Aisle Storage & Retrieval
Fixed Aisle (F/A) Storage & Retrieval Systems consist of one or more long, narrow aisles framed on both sides by a steel (and sometime extruded aluminum) storage rack structure into and from which loads are automatically stored and retrieved under computer control. The storage/retrieval function in each aisle can be performed a variety of ways. However, the most common was is by a machine that consists of a floor running, traveling structural frame or vertical mast that guides and supports a hoisting carriage on which loads are carried. One or more shuttles or insertion/extraction devices on the hosted carriage manipulates loads into and out of adjacent or opposing storage rack positions. All three machine motions; horizontal (down aisle), vertical and shuttle action are independently and automatically controlled. See also Carousels , Unit Load AS/RS , Mini-Load AS/RS and/or Micro Load 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 .
5) Vertical lift module
A Vertical Lift Module, or VLM is a storage system that consists of two parallel columns each of which is divided into fixed shelf locations that can hold a single storage module such as a tray or tote. The shelving locations are single deep. A tray or tote is inserted, extracted and transported between storage levels and picking locations via an elevator-like device with an automatic shuttle that travels up and down within the space between the storage columns. See also Carousels and/or AS/RS .
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 .