Swisslog, the world’s leading integrator of AutoStore has passed 300 projects worldwide. Applications range from micro-fulfilment centres to stand-alone projects and larger, fully integrated solutions. Transformational benefits include faster operation, higher throughput and improved working conditions. Customer return on investment is typically within two years.
2022 is a landmark year for Swisslog, a leading global provider of automated intralogistics technologies and the world’s leading integrator of AutoStore. The company now has 300 AutoStore projects in over 26 countries worldwide, featuring a total of more than 7 million storage bins and using no less than 10,000 robots.
“We are uniquely placed to help businesses transform their automated warehouse operations with everything from simple standalone AutoStore projects to some of the largest and most complex installations. Demand for this technology is so strong that by June 2022, we expect to have increased our site base from 300 to 350 projects”, says Marcus Kirchhoff, Head of Business Unit AutoStore Europe at Swisslog.
ROI within two years
Swisslog customers typically achieve a return on investment (ROI) for AutoStore installations within as little as two years. In addition, they quickly accrue numerous benefits including the ability to achieve more using the same workforce, consistently higher quality standards and faster, higher throughput per employee, as well as improving working conditions and job satisfaction.
Demonstrating Swisslog’s breadth of capabilities, the 300 AutoStore projects to date range across three main categories: micro-fulfilment centres (MFC), stand-alone projects and large, complex, fully integrated solutions.
Creating micro-fulfilment centres inside six months
Growing in popularity, micro-fulfilment centres typically repurpose existing facilities, such as a retail store. They offer an enhanced customer experience and can normally be turned around in as little as six months. Recent Swisslog micro-fulfilment centre projects include installations for SKUtopia, Australia; Peapod, USA; and HEB, USA.
SKUtopia is working with Swisslog to introduce an automated Micro-Fulfilment Centre (MFC) in Sydney, Australia. The new MFC enables up to 300 entrepreneurial businesses to scale from one to 10,000 orders. As their Fourth-Party Logistics (4PL) operation, SKUtopia provides home delivery and automated click and collect functionality with 24/7 availability as well as managed inventory, orders, shipping and warehousing.
Among stand-alone AutoStore solutions completed by Swisslog are projects for TTV, Germany; Bio Partner, Switzerland; Stihl, Spain; and RoboStores, UAE. Leveraging Swisslog’s very lean project set up means stand-alone projects are very often completed within six months for fast implementation and faster ROI. Swisslog AutoStore customers enjoy a single, dedicated contact who takes overall responsibility for every aspect of the project, assisting from first enquiry to project completion and beyond.
Industrials seals and bearings specialist TTV (Technische Teile Vertrieb GmbH) is using AutoStore to optimize its small parts handling. AutoStore has enabled it to organize storage and order picking much faster and more space-efficiently than it was ever able to achieve using simple shelving racks and manual handling. The new system also works reliably even under maximum load. It has 15,000 bin locations and initially four AutoStore robots with two conveyor ports for goods receipt and order picking.
Easily integrated into complex warehouse applications
Complex and fully integrated AutoStore solutions have longer lead times and typically have a phased implementation. Among major brands leveraging Swisslog’s expertise on these large-scale implementations are ASDA, Great Britain; Arvato, Netherlands; Brack, Switzerland; Varner, Sweden and Radwell, USA.
Arvato Supply Chain Solutions chose AutoStore to future-proof the e-commerce order processing for Rituals Cosmetics Enterprise using movable pick carts and a Swisslog Quick Move conveyor system.
The first phase was installed in 2019 with a grid of up to 36,000 bins, 36 robots, six picking stations and two inbound stations. A second phase with 65 additional robots and six more picking stations was brought forward due to soaring e-commerce demand during the pandemic.
Incoming orders are assigned to a put-to-light pick cart in the most logical order. The order picker walks the cart through the fast mover lane, where triple A orders and larger products are assigned to the correct order box. Carts are then placed at the AutoStore picking stations where the orders are completed using the put-to-light principle. Some 80 percent of orders are handled automatically.
Swisslog AutoStore installations are managed and controlled using the company’s SynQ modular software platform for warehouse management. The SynQ AutoStore module has been specifically designed by Swisslog’s in-house software experts to maximize the efficiency of AutoStore and to fully integrate with more complex warehouse applications. It embeds intelligence in the operation and synchronizes the performance of automated warehouse equipment in the best possible way.
Using robots and bins to quickly process small parts orders, AutoStore provides better use of available space than any other automated system. Its unique design enables direct stacking of bins on top of each other and the storage of multiple SKUs in a single bin. The system naturally learns which products have a higher rotation, storing them on top layers to ensure faster picking times.
As well as being space and labour-saving, AutoStore improves productivity, quality and security. On brownfield sites, it can accommodate changes in business profile, ensuring enterprises remain future fit in dynamic business environments.