Automation is becoming more and more important in intralogistics

Automated storage systems... always the best solution?

It increases the safety and efficiency of reproducible processes, and it frees employees from strenuous and monotonous tasks that often lead to errors. Moreover, it accelerates storage, retrieval, transport and packaging, and ensures that these processes run smoothly.

As a complete outfitter Bito equips companies with matching shelving systems. (Photo: Bito)

In addition to storage and retrieval units for automatic handling of packaged goods and pallets, companies often use shuttle systems to achieve higher throughputs and packing densities while keeping down costs. These systems are energy-efficient and highly flexible. The shuttles run automatically on guide rails without being connected to another carrier vehicle and transport the load carriers through the lanes. Shuttle systems for automatic container storage are particularly in demand at present. We supply the shelving technology for these systems as well as the slide rails for the shuttles. But in addition to shelving, containers too must be designed for greater automation. As a complete equipment provider Bito has no problem here and, for example, offers different types of base to meet the load requirements of the given storage concept.

Although customized automatic systems simplify the handling of goods in a warehouse, manual shelving or pallet racking systems are often more effective for logistics service providers. That’s because these companies increasingly have contracts with their customers that run for very short periods. With a three-year contract, for example, it may not be possible to write off the costs of an expensive automated solution. And since the service provider may not know whether the contract will be extended, manual solutions can provide much greater flexibility. They can be adapted to meet the requirements of new customers, and products can be stored economically in small quantities. Shelves can accommodate many different kinds of products, and there’s no wasting of expensive storage space by pallets that are half full. Moreover, shelves can be subdivided when the quantities are very small.

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Standard shelving is especially suitable for users who have a diverse range of products and must continually add new ones. In such cases an automatic small parts storage facility would be inefficient because it is tailored to a specific application and is not easy to convert. Thus standard shelving should be preferred when a high degree of flexibility is required. In combination with a centrally controlled conveyor system, standard shelving is used for efficient order-picking stores with high picking rates. The shelving can also be expanded to form space-saving multi-tier systems which allow users to store a wide variety of packaged goods and small parts. What’s important is to have a comprehensive range of accessories so that many different configurations can be implemented.

Storage specialists must be able to determine which solutions best suit the customer’s special needs and provide corresponding advice. Companies like Bito have an advantage with their broad product ranges and many years of experience.

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About BITO-Lagertechnik Bittmann

BITO with its head office in Meisenheim (Rheinland-Pfalz) specializes in storage and factory facilities and order-picking technology. The company provides shelving and shelving systems, storage and order picking systems, bins and containers, storage equipment and accessories for all branches of industry. Customers are provided with standard products, which are developed and manufactured in-house, and project-specific solutions from a single source. The medium-sized company has factories in Germany and a joint venture with production in India. The BITO Group includes 14 subsidiaries in Western and Eastern Europe and a subsidiary in Dubai. There are further sales subsidiaries throughout the world. 850 employees produced a turnover of 175 million Euro in 2012.

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