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Grid solution + robots = safer warehousing

Robots create more secure, efficient and reliable warehouses and leave staff to spend their time on more challenging tasks than driving forklifts and moving goods. Norwegian company AutoStore is a world-leader in digitalised storage systems. RISE is the partner responsible for ensuring that these systems meet requirements on markets around the world.

AutoStore’s business concept is based on the relative inefficiency of traditional warehouse operations, which are often conducted in premises where half of the available floorspace is set aside for forklift access between rows of shelving.

Instead of this model, the Norwegians use a technique that stacks bins next to and on top of one another to form one gigantic cube. These 70 x 50 x 50 cm bins can hold up to 30 kilos.

Roof-mounted robots move the bins

In place of forklifts, the computerised system sends orders to a number of mobile robots that run along the top of the grid and handle all goods movements. A single system may consist of 60,000 bins.

“In order to expedite deliveries, the most seasonal goods are stored at the top of the system,” explains RISE test engineer Joakim Franzon.

As there is no need for aisles between rows of shelving, the company can double its storage space. In addition to faster, more reliable stock movements, the system also provides a safer work environment.

Certified by RISE

In 2010, finding itself on the verge of an international breakthrough, AutoStore approached RISE in Borås for assistance in product certification.

“Here in Borås, we tested electrical safety and electromagnetic compatibility, or EMC. EMC is an important parameter for ensuring that the system isn’t disrupted by other equipment; for example, robots must not run amok whenever a mobile phone rings,” says Joakim Franzon.

Other RISE units have conducted fire testing and structural integrity calculations on behalf of AutoStore.

“They have always been very thorough in terms of fulfilling regulatory requirements placed on their products and systems, irrespective of which country or continent their customer operates in,” says Joakim Franzon.

One element of RISE’s assignment has therefore been to obtain an overview of the requirements for each individual market.

“From the very first tests, we have included a margin of error to allow for requirements in different countries. Developing a basis for certification and approval is generally a time-critical activity, given that the customer wants to get their product onto the market quickly.”

A world-leader in their industry

RISE’s collaboration with AutoStore is continuously developing - and expanding. They have become world-leaders in their industry and work constantly to increase the system’s capacity and speed.

“AutoStore has developed into an important customer for us. At the same time, we are well aware that they are satisfied with the work we do. The fact that we are their principle provider of this type of service is proof of this,” says Joakim Franzon.

Published: 2019-01-04