Automated Cold Storage
Automating picking and packing at source and stopover cold warehouses have revolutionized supply chain management. Robotic, wirelessly tracked lifters, rollers, and conveyor belts can now store, retrieve, and replace numbered goods pallets or boxes as they feed into the system without any human input.
QR pallet codes, GPS tags, and scan point database entries log every transaction made, the nature of the goods stored, and its internal and external (if applicable) destinations.
Automated software can track and monitor all deposits without the need for individualized, expensive sensor arrays or time-intensive, repetitive manual stock indexing.
Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) also eliminate the need for human workers to enter mass fridges or freezers except for maintenance and routine checks. Limiting cold exposure to robotic loaders increases worker safety and job satisfaction.
What's one other huge advantage of using AS/RS? The systems are far less prone to critical errors. The average automatic control system holds to a benchmark of c.1-2 mistakes per month against a human-sort rate of c.12-15.
Removing the risk of human error reduces payouts on costly order corrective fees (c. $100-500 per order), helps limit system downtime, and generally boosts the company's reputation for delivery.
Footprint reduction is another big boon, too. By installing tighter vertical stacks than a typical human would need to access goods alongside automatically controlled transfer arms, warehouses are made safer, faster, and far more voluminous.
Closer automated packing alongside fast machine access and turnaround times can reduce energy usage costs by as much as c. 50 percent against traditional, human-controlled warehouses. Mobile, computer-controlled rolling racking extends these advantages further still for space-strapped buildings.
Limited, simple automation improves the quality and efficiency of refrigerated space alongside centralized automation, too. Rapid transfer airlocks, timer switches, and auto-closing vehicle doors provide better insulation, saving energy by containing ambient heat outside.