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Elements of choice
The logistics of a storage facility requires different systems for storage and the identification of the correct system to be put in place depends on an evaluating a large number of elements. Amongst the most important elements to be evaluated are the types of material to be stored (loading unit – LU), the quantity, characteristics and rotation of the LUs, the handling systems in use and the characteristics of the premises. Normally, materials are stored on pallets, stillages and the like.
The classification of storage systems can be briefly summarised as: static, dynamic, semi-automatic and automatic.
Static systems – include all fixed shelving and structures of different types and load bearing capacity intended for the simple storage of materials. Their major characteristic, drive-in systems excluded, is simplicity and low cost, with a limited capacity to intensively exploit the space available. They can be adapted for any type of LU, from pallets to small items.
Dynamic systems – these are not automatic storage systems, nor are they fixed, by virtue of their roller systems. A typical dynamic storage system is a gravity system in its various forms. What is important is the advantage of high levels of space usage and increased levels of operational practicality, especially in sloping versions (f.i.f.o storage), but the cost of these systems is often high. Normally, materials are stored on pallets, stillages and the like.
Semi-automatic systems – include a number of storage systems, which, thanks to motors, drivers and SW, handle LUs in different ways. The main types of semi-automatic storage systems are mobiles, vertical shifting vertical and horizontal carousels The handling of LUs has different goals, amongst which are the maximum exploitation of space (e.g. horizontal with mobiles, height with verticals) or the bringing of the materials to the individual (horizontal or vertical carousel). The main advantages are precisely the saving of space and reduction of times and service costs, whilst the cost is at an intermediate level. The LUs managed are both pallets as well as small ware.
Automatic systems – are storage systems that in addition to handling the LUs, eliminate the need for individuals to intervene throughout the entire storage facility loading/unloading operations. Automation therefore envisages the retrieval and delivery of LUs, offering high levels of safety, and is particularly suitable for large sized storage systems and elevated levels of LU handling per time unit. The high cost of this type of storage system is offset by the reduction of service costs. Normally, materials are stored on pallets, stillages and the like.