Warehouse automation KNAPP deliver 5000th shuttle from ground breaking OSR Shuttle range

Warehouse automation supplier KNAPP has delivered the 5000th shuttle from its ground-breaking OSR Shuttle range, which now boasts over 100 satisfied customers worldwide.

Although there are several similar products on the market today, the shuttle storage concept was invented by KNAPP when the OSR Shuttle made its market début back in 2002. KNAPP has continued to develop the system, adding new variations to the range since then, and is about to launch even more innovations for the OSR series.

2,000 more shuttles ordered

Customers in diverse industries around the world are reaping the benefits of the proven OSR Shuttle system and there are orders in the pipeline for another 2,000 shuttles. There are several large projects underway in the UK and Germany that feature OSR ShuttleTM solutions - some with rack heights of 18 metres and rack lengths of more than 100 metres.

A versatile solution

The OSR Shuttle is the foundation for KNAPP's low-complexity warehouse concept, which aims to reduce the number of technologies used around the warehouse. The OSR Shuttle system can be tailored to suit a wide range of customer requirements, with variations available from specialised dispatch systems to high-performance multi-deep warehouses. All OSR Shuttle solutions are modular, formed from the key components of racking, shuttles, lift system and control system. The OSR Shuttle covers all the key processes of the modern automated warehouse including storage, consolidation, sequencing, buffering, picking and handling of returns. What is more, the modular design allows system expansion to be carried out step-by-step, and the investment scaled accordingly, when customer needs change over time and create demands for increased performance or capacity.

One optimal application of the OSR Shuttle is the sequenced preparation of orders, a process which is gaining more attention in many sectors. Stacking articles in a roll container according to store layout or feeding goods to automated palletizing systems are flexible and highly dynamic techniques. The OSR Shuttle offers the advantage of being a system that can be used in various areas of a warehouse or that can unify all applications in one system. For example, one unit can function simultaneously as a production warehouse, goods-in buffer, picking buffer, consolidation and dispatch warehouse, and dispatch sorting system.

The OSR Shuttle can handle a large variety of containers, trays and cartons, as well as raw products such as film-wrapped CDs, DVDs and videogames. The intelligent control system supports RFID, allowing all the relevant product data to be saved in a chip that is integrated into the tote and making barcode scanning a thing of the past.

Energy-efficient and economical

Warehouse operators are increasingly concerned with achieving energy efficiency without compromising system performance and this probably represents the greatest challenge to logistics suppliers today. KNAPP has been addressing this problem for decades and is a leader in energy-efficient warehouse systems. For example, KNAPP implemented one of the world's first power management systems for stacker cranes at the UK site of shoe manufacturer Clarks in 2003. In addition to the standard energy recuperation from the braking process, a sophisticated software solution at the site reduces the necessary connected loads and ongoing power requirements, without loss in performance.

When it comes to the OSR Shuttle, energy efficiency involves a series of measures in a unified concept. The proven technology for energy recuperation is particularly suited to high-performance lifts. The low weight of the individual shuttles contributes significantly to overall energy efficiency. Then the finely tuned software controls all the components with millisecond precision, resulting in high accuracy and reliability, as well as extremely low energy consumption. To retrieve a container from the OSR Shuttle requires only some 5% of the energy needed for the equivalent performance in a stacker crane system.

Availability, maintenance and quality

A further advantage of the OSR Shuttle technology is the integral redundancy in the system through the use of numerous shuttles. Using special lift variations, the system can be configured with no single point of failure, which is the basis for maximum availability.

Easy access during ongoing operations for maintenance and service is also very important. With the OSR Shuttle, individual components - or even entire shuttles - can be serviced or replaced during operation without interrupting the rest of the system. The use of proven technology with fewer differing components minimises maintenance and service costs, while also keeping training costs for service technicians to a minimum.

Start-up with the OSR Shuttle is reduced compared to standard ASRS, since all components are tested fully in-house and are delivered to the customer in 'plug & play' condition. Along with hotline and support services, monitoring tools are available to allow proactive identification, communication and prevention of errors.

The heart of the OSR Shuttle is its intelligent software, which controls the individual components and is responsible for managing key data such as storage location and inventory. Lots can be traced at all times and expiry dates observed. Goods which have been returned can be treated separately and, if required, with priority. With standardised interfaces, connection to the customer's system at any time is simple, making rapid on-line diagnoses possible.

Five-star safety and ergonomics

Safety and ergonomics have the highest priority at KNAPP. All access points for the OSR Shuttle™ are secured with sensors and the entire system has been examined by TÜV Rheinland, a global leader in independent testing and assessment services, to confirm compliance with all norms and standards.

KNAPP's focus in ergonomic matters is firmly on the operator workstations, with projects regularly developed in co-operation with renowned research institutes. Ergonomic working environments are proven to result in increased performance, greater employee satisfaction and improved productivity. In the design of the workstation, KNAPP places great emphasis on the natural movements of the operator, on the selection of materials and on low-noise operation. The goods-to-person workstation used for the OSR Shuttle™ has also been evaluated by TÜV Rheinland and has gained certification for all applicable ergonomic standards.

Ergonomic design is also important for our service technicians. Hence all components in the OSR Shuttle™ system can be accessed easily for maintenance or replacement and the system elements feature lightweight construction.

New developments

KNAPP is working on a number of further innovative developments for the OSR Shuttle™ system, several of which will soon be launched. Says Roman Schnabl, Product Manager for Shuttle Systems, "A shuttle is now being worked on that can leave the aisle to supply work stations directly, for example, but without rails. Insight from KNAPP's KiSoft VISION technology is also influencing the technology of the shuttles."