Fulfillment methods in manufacturing can vary within the organization, even within the four walls depending on which processes are involved. Raw materials fulfillment may involve unit handling processes such as moving pallets and bulk containers. These unit loads of raw materials are used to support the manufacturing of the product and could occur at any step of the process.
There also may be a fulfillment requirement to move work-in-process (WIP) between manufacturing processes. Finally, there is the packaging and storage of finished product until it is ready for shipment to the customer. Depending on the product being manufactured, these processes could be relatively manual or highly automated. Each of these fulfillment processes may require different equipment types and systemic tracking tools. The DesignBuild team at AHS LLC can determine the optimal methods and equipment requirements to handle the fulfillment of product through all stages of the manufacturing process.
Manual Process for Manufacturing
A manual process is recommended with businesses just entering the marketplace, daily activity levels are low, acquiring capital dollars is difficult, picking is mainly at the bulk level, or there is uncertainty regarding future activity levels.
- Carton Flow Rack
- Autonomous Mobile Robots
Semi-Automated Process for Manufacturing
A semi-automated process is the next step in the progression from a manual process. As daily activity levels increase, more efficient methods are required to handle the increased throughput and service level requirements. The transition from manual to semi-automated involves the introduction of conveyors, packaging equipment, and a more advanced warehouse control system.
- Robots/Autonomous Mobile Robots
- Pick/Put to Light
- Pick Modules
Automated Process for Manufacturing
Automated processes are employed in fulfillment centers that have high daily volume demands consistently. They utilize many of the components of a semi-automated system but replace labor-intensive operations (such as picking) with highly efficient machines. Using goods-to-person technologies such as shuttles and autonomous robots; reduces order cycle times even further than a semi-automated solution but at a higher capital cost.
Depending on the need(s), one or more of these technologies may be used in a manufacturing solution.
Learn more about the technologies utilized and our partners involved during the entire process from conception to completion.
Exotec is an order picking solution based on fleets of robots evolving in the three dimensions with the ability to move 4x faster and 5x higher than the industry standard.
Autonomous Mobile Robot
AMRs use sensors, cameras, barcodes and/or lasers to find their way through a warehouse environment to retrieve materials as needed with precision, accuracy, and speed.
Crossbelt, bomb bay, and tilt tray sorters operate under related principles, and each type of sorter has the same base: a looped track with individual carriages riding on the track. Each sorter is pre-programmed with the target destination of each product and can trigger the sortation mechanism when the goods arrive at its designed divert point.
With the ability to rapidly transport product and both sort and track progress throughout a facility, conveyor systems remain one of the most popular material handling technologies.
These systems and conveyors are designed and manufactured for use in specialized facilities that conduct unique processes. Some examples include spiral, telescopic, flexible, and drive-out conveyors.
Carton Flow Rack
Also known as “flow racks”, the carton flow rack storage method uses rollers or wheels as well as gravity to transfer cases from one end of the shelving or rack module to the other.