Save Space with Automated Horizontal Carousels

horizontal carousel space savingsA horizontal carousel has many benefits, including space savings. If you’re planning to modernize, retrofit, or build new systems to maximize storage space, a horizontal carousel is a way to go.

Because operators can hit more than 450 lines per operator every hour, stacked horizontal carousels can include double or triple tiers that reach just under 40 feet. That helps companies maximize storage space and floor space by up 60% or more. If facilities have less than 15-foot ceilings, a horizontal carousel provides density and throughput.

This type of powered storage system helps facilities increase production while simultaneously saving space. That means companies can save on construction costs, security, taxes, and utilities because they’re building only in the amount of space the horizontal carousel requires. (See videos See videos)

Understanding Horizontal Storage and Retrieval Systems

A horizontal carousel feature an oval track that supports rotating bins and shelves. Outside of the oval track, there’s a motor powering the carriers around the track horizontally. The track stops at pre-determined access points for operators to store and retrieve products, materials, and other goods.

These storage and retrieval systems can range in height between around 20 and just under 160 feet long and just over seven feet high. Because operators access goods at the width dimension of these units, that means they’re long and narrow.

A horizontal carousel features designs that are beneficial for improving material handling efficiencies, including:

  • Increasing floor space by between 60 and 75%
  • Using up to 2/3 less labor
  • Improving pick accuracy by up to 99.9%
  • Increasing throughput
  • Allowing for an increase in inventory control

Why Facilities Should Embrace These Space Savings

Beyond that of reducing the time operators spend travel down aisles to pick items, there are several reasons why facilities should embrace the space savings of a horizontal carousel.asrs picking system horizontal carousel


Company owners can divide the system into different stations with the push of a button. That’s beneficial during high throughput during peak picking times without the need to add static shelving or storage.

Batch Picking

Operators can pick items paperlessly or opt to print delivery notes or other pertinent documentation. Operators can pick items with reduced drive cycles using a warehouse system with batch picking software that combines several orders into one batch.

Compact Design

These systems are compact, low-maintenance, and reliable. Consistent and long-term operational safety and 100% availability means that company owners can depend on these systems to work efficiently without taking up too much floor space.


Because a horizontal carousel delivers goods directly to the operator, there’s no longer the need for unproductive travel and search times. Using this type of powered storage means using the shortest path to the unit’s access opening.


Companies can store a wide variety of items featuring different sizes in a horizontal carousel. That includes bulky items requiring space encompassing the entire carrier’s height.

High Payloads

A horizontal carousel can handle a 55-ton maximum payload. The application determines the unit’s load-bearing capacity.

Maximizing Storage Capacities and Efficiencies with Powered Storage

It’s rare for a manufacturing facility to no suffer from space challenges and limitations. It isn’t uncommon for goods, inventory, materials, parts, or other works-in-process to exceed a facility’s current capacity. There are other instances where the facility’s current footprint prevents adding more storage without undergoing expensive construction.

Automated storage and retrieval systems are an excellent alternative to using traditional shelving to store non-palletized loads. These are self-contained systems that offer higher density storage within a compact footprint compared to traditional storage equipment. Company owners can further leverage space savings and efficiencies by storing more products within the original footprint.

A horizontal carousel allows items to store in a compact and confined space. That feature eliminates unproductive travel times and picking routes on the facility’s floor. So, the actual picking zone measures between 54 and 108 square feet.

The Space-Saving Features and Benefits of a Horizontal Carousel

horizontal carousel storage asrsOne of the most significant benefits of a horizontal carousel is its ability to optimize space. If companies waste aisle space, ceiling height, and shelf space, it increases operating costs. Using storage space efficiently increases productivity, creates more room for performing tasks, and reduces operating costs. Incorporating a horizontal carousel into a facility helps owners achieve those goals and maximize storage space. 

Space savings is a significant benefit of a horizontal carousel because material moves within the storage area’s footprint, reducing or eliminating the need for aisles. Here’s an example of how what these space savings could look like:

Say a company has a 7,000 square foot warehouse and a 1,600 square foot off-site storage area. A horizontal carousel enables that company to store goods on-site within 5,000 square feet. That equates to a 42% savings in storage space.

Additional benefits include:

  • Compact and modular designs allow for easy expansion, installation, and relocation.
  • There’s no need for a full mezzanine to stack carousels.
  • High throughput with increase picking times in a smaller footprint
  • Less storage space equates to a small staff and higher return on investments.

A horizontal carousel uses a series of rotating shelving units that move along a track to bring items directly to an operator. This automated storage and retrieval system require less storage space and help companies reduce inventories while simultaneously reducing picking errors. Most static shelving units don’t allow facilities to utilize their overhead storage and waste aisle space. A horizontal carousel offers high-density storage solutions within a small footprint.

Additional features include:

  • A horizontal carousel efficiently delivers goods to the operator, yielding lower floor space for retrieving, securing, or storing items.
  • The compact design helps companies save up to 75% of their floor space.
  • There are optional security doors and software that helps secure product storage.
  • There’s an emergency stop for operator safety.

The Benefits of Maximizing Storage Space in the Military

Military storage is at a premium in armories and on bases. A horizontal carousel isn’t only for manufacturing or large-scale facilities. These systems are also beneficial to the government, military, and private sectors where there’s a need to maximize storage space. Automated storage and retrieval systems help keep various items, including parts, tools, and weapons, in a centralized and compact storage area.

This type of powered storage solution helps maximize storage space while simultaneously reducing the need for high storage capacities. Automated storage and retrieval systems for the government, military, and private sectors include:

  • A horizontal carousel for parts storagespace saving automated horizontal carousel
  • Automated storage and retrieval systems for automotive department parts
  • A horizontal carousel for ammunition and weapons storage
  • Automated storage and retrieval systems for gun weapon storage

Comparing the Technical Features and Design

A horizontal carousel is an ideal solution for companies with low overhead space compared to a vertical carousel. Utilizing better material handling solutions means companies must look at how a system performs and how much space it utilizes.

General Technical Specifications:

  • Unit dimensions range between 5.2′ to 14.4′ wide x 7.6′ to 14′ deep x 8.4′ to 98.6′ high
  • Load payloads can range up to 264,550 pounds.
  • The average tray payload is up to 1,598 pounds.

Space Savings Within Facilities

Companies can increase the density of each carrier within the horizontal carousel by adjusting shelves in 1.5 increments. That allows the system to store a wide variety of items of varying sizes. Because these systems can be as small as 54 square feet, that means they take up far less space than setting up a series of static shelving units. For example, here are examples of conventional shelf storage and how it compares to a horizontal carousel:

Steel Shelving with Heavy-Duty Reinforced Shelves: #SMS-39-HCS361884-5HG

  • Shelf Dimensions: 3′ Wide x 1’6″ Deep x 7′ High
  • Type: High Capacity Reinforced Bolted Shelving with five shelves
  • Capacity: Holds 2,800 pounds per Shelf (even distributed)
  • Overall Weight: 141 pounds

Horizontal Carousels

  • 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

It isn’t uncommon for companies of all sizes to turn to in-house engineering teams for information about space savings and incorporate automated storage and retrieval systems. Architects and designers provide information about maximizing storage space to the athletic, educational, legal, medical, military, and technical industry and more.

With expert designers on staff, companies can integrate automated storage and retrieval systems into their existing footprint. Incorporating a horizontal carousel into an existing business involves several architectural and design phases.

Architectural and design phases:

  1. A thorough site evaluation to determine how to maximize storage space
  2. CAD drawings depicting space savings and storage solutions
  3. Presentation of plans
  4. Integration of a horizontal carousel into an existing footprint
  5. Installation of the horizontal carousel

Horizontal Storage for Space Savings and Efficiency

Southwest Solutions is an innovative leader regarding the design and installation of automated storage and retrieval systems. Contact one of our expert designers today by email or call us at 1-800-803-1083. They’ll walk you through the best horizontal carousel solution to help maximize storage space within your facility.