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Last updated: December 21, 2020
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Horizontal Carousels for Improved Order Accuracy

horizontal carousels increase picking accuracyIncorporating a horizontal carousel into your existing floor plan or new building design has many benefits, including improving picking accuracy. If your goal is to improve accuracy, a horizontal carousel is an excellent way to go.

Horizontal carousels use light-directed picking software to improve accuracy. These technologies improve picking accuracies by up to 100%. The main reason is that these pick to light systems indicate what and how much operators need to pick. (See videos See videos)

A problem many companies face with manual pick processes is human error. Companies can avoid these costly mistakes and picking errors by integrating automated storage and retrieval systems into their floor plans.

Understanding a Horizontal Carousel

Horizontal carousels are powered storage and retrieval systems that use a series of bins and shelves rotating along an oval track. These powered storage systems are an ideal way of bringing items directly to an operator. It takes a significant amount of time to walk up and down aisles searching for items. And, if they're in the wrong place, that drives down picking accuracies.

Beyond increasing efficiency, a horizontal carousel also promises to improve accuracy. Companies from all industries benefit from incorporating pick-to-light and put-to-light software into their order fulfillment strategies.

Facilities can install software-controlled light towers between the horizontal carousels at each workstation. That software coordinates with incoming batch picking orders to ensure that the carousels automatically bring the appropriate carriers to operators. Order pickers can find the correct shelf because the light tower points them in the right direction. A display module on each shelf indicates the number of items they need to pick to fulfill an order.

A horizontal carousel features designs that are beneficial for improving accuracy for the following industries:

  • Automotive
  • Food and beverage
  • Manufacturing
  • Medical
  • Military
  • Retail

Why Facilities Should Improve Accuracy with a Horizontal Carousel

horizontal carousel pick accuracyA horizontal carousel requires between 50% and 70% less floor space than a conventional racking or shelving system holding similar products and volumes. Installing a pod of horizontal carousels is the best way to get the most out of these storage and retrieval systems. They take up less space, so your employees don't have to spend time and energy walking and searching for items across a large area.

With conventional shelving, companies could be using up to 10 workers to fan out and pick items from a conventional shelving system. After installing a horizontal carousel, you could reduce the number of workers to two operators who can quickly and accurately fulfill orders.

For example, an average worker can pick approximately 60 lines hourly. When facilities implement a horizontal carousel, they can improve productivity by up to 200 to 600 lines hourly. Facilities can increase productivity even further when incorporating batch picking software.

With that increase in productivity comes improvements to picking accuracies. Operators use the pick-to-light systems to facilitate where they must go, what they must pick, and how many items they must pick.

Using Powered Storage to Improve Accuracy and Efficiency

Using powered storage to improve accuracy starts when an operator scans the barcode on a bin that links to a specific order. Operators repeat this process for each order within a batch. Then, the horizontal carousel automatically positions itself for picking.

The light tower and pick-to-light technology direct operators to the carousel and shelf they must pick from, as well as the number of items they're retrieving. This process not only improves productivity but also eliminates virtually all errors.

Operators are responsible for picking items and placing them into the order's bins. They can use the same barcode technology to scan items before putting them into a bin to ensure they're the correct items. When all of the bins are full, they move out of the station, indicating that the batch is complete.

Each horizontal carousel pod is comfortable and safe for the operator thanks to its raised carpeted platform. If the operator steps off the platform for any reason, the carousel stops automatically. That way, they don't accidentally miss items they must pick and aren't injured from any moving parts throughout the carousel.

The Benefits and Features of a Horizontal Carousel for Accuracy

A stand-out feature of a horizontal carousel is its ability to improve accuracy. That's beneficial to companies that previously used static shelving and struggled with errors. Companies benefit from a horizontal carousel's design because it's easy to install, expand, and relocate.

Additional benefits include:

  • High throughput with accurate picking rates up to 600 lines or more hourlyhorizontal carousel order picking software
  • Integrated control systems eliminate almost all errors and improve accuracy.
  • Reduced labor hours because items accurately deliver to the operator, eliminating the need to walk and search for items
  • Flexible design that allows you to increase or reduce the size of the horizontal carousel.
  • Improved and efficient storage logistics for quicker reaction times, high throughput, and shortening delivery periods
  • Reduced operating costs due to fewer errors, increased accuracy, and a smaller workforce

Horizontal carousels feature a series of bins and shelves that rotate around an oval track. Each of these bins rotates bi-directionally to ensure they're traveling the shortest path to each operator. As inventories change, the shelves on the horizontal carousel adjust easily. Companies can use the bins to handle various items, including cans, drums, guns, hanging garments, tooling, and more.

The Benefits of Improving Accuracy for the Military

 A horizontal carousel isn't only for improving accuracy on a manufacturing floor or in a warehouse. These powered storage systems are also beneficial to the government, military, and private sectors where there's a need to improve accuracy and reduce operating costs. Automated storage and retrieval systems help keep various items, including parts, tools, and weapons, in one centralized location for accurate storage and retrieval.

This type of powered storage solution helps the military maximize storage space while simultaneously reducing operating costs and improving accuracy. Automated storage and retrieval systems for the government, military, and private sectors are beneficial for the following reasons:

  • 100% accessibility and accountability for all storage items
  • Saves up to 65% floor space
  • Eliminates the need to walk and search for items
  • Theft reduction because operators station directly in front of the system
  • Integrated software enables batch picking, barcoding, lockouts, security tracking, and more
  • Reduce operating costs with a 33% reduction in labor

Comparing Technical Features and Design

A horizontal carousel is an ideal solution for improving accuracy and reducing operating costs. Implementing better material handling solutions means that companies must analyze a system's performance and improve picking accuracy.

General Technical Specifications:

  • Carrier size: 24.5, 32.5, or 37 inches wide by 18, 22, or 24 inches deep
  • Dimensions: Seven to 13.5 feet tall
  • Weight capacity: Can handle up to 2,000 pounds per carrier

Improve Accuracy Within Facilities

With up to 100% picking accuracy, companies can increase their efficiency and productivity by incorporating a horizontal carousel into their floor plan. Not only does that improve logistics, but it also means companies can reduce operating costs compared to conventional shelving systems. Here's how conventional shelving compares with a horizontal carousel:

increase order picking accuracyWarehouse Sloping Racking Units: #SMS-81-SRJ1F-EE750402

  • Unit Dimensions: 3' Wide x 2' Deep x 6'3" High
  • Post's Construction: 14-gauge steel
  • Sloped Shelf Construction: 20-gauge steel
  • Weight: 129 Lbs.

A Horizontal Carousel:

  • Carrier Dimensions: 24.5" Wide x 18" Deep x 6' high
  • Carrier Payload: between 600 and 1,500 pounds
  • Number of Carriers: 16 to 120
  • Rotational Speed: 85 feet per minute

Companies of all sizes face issues when trying to improve accuracy and often turn to in-house engineering teams for advice and solutions. Architects and designers can provide information about how powered storage and retrieval systems are beneficial in many ways, including improving picking accuracy.

When companies have expert designers on-staff, they can integrate powered storage solutions into their existing footprint. Incorporating a horizontal carousel into a company's existing floor plan involves several architectural and design phases.

Architectural and design phases:

  1. A thorough site evaluation to determine how to improve accuracy
  2. CAD drawings depicting how a horizontal carousel can improve picking accuracies
  3. Presentation of plans
  4. Integration of a horizontal carousel into the business's existing floor plan
  5. Installation of the horizontal carousel

Improve Accuracy with a Horizontal Carousel

Southwest Solutions features innovative solutions for companies that want to improve accuracy, reduce operating costs, and enhance logistics. Contact one of our design experts by calling us at 1-800-803-1083 or contact us on the web today. They'll walk you through how to pick the best horizontal carousel to improve your facility's accuracy.

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