3D Automated Pallet Shuttle

3D Automated Pallet Shuttle

High-density pallet storage system employing autonomous, multi-directional shuttle cars to maximise warehouse capacity, productivity and flexibility.

The product

The ultimate automation solution for maximising high-density storage, productivity and flexibility in an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) for pallets

The 3D Automated Pallet Shuttle is a high-density storage solution featuring an innovative multi-directional electric shuttle. This autonomous shuttle car stores and retrieves pallets from racking with unparalleled efficiency and precision. Notably, these shuttles navigate the aisles and channels within the racking structure independently, eliminating the need for additional material handling vehicles (e.g., stacker cranes or transfer cars). To move between storage levels, the shuttles employ a series of lifts.

Mecalux’s 3D Automated Pallet Shuttle is a cutting-edge AS/RS at the forefront of warehouse automation. In addition to increasing warehouse productivity and optimising space utilisation to boost storage capacity, it provides extraordinary versatility. This flexibility allows businesses to meet the requirements of dynamic scenarios, such as demand peaks and high-priority tasks. Moreover, its completely modular design enables rapid scalability to tailor the AS/RS’s capacity and throughput to business growth.

The 3D Pallet Shuttle optimises space and expands capacity

Advantages of the 3D Automated Pallet Shuttle

  • High productivity: the rapid navigation speed and operational versatility of the multi-directional 3D shuttles significantly enhance warehouse performance.
  • Maximum flexibility: the shuttle cars move between levels and aisles. Additionally, several shuttles can operate in a single aisle simultaneously. This allows managers to adjust the system’s throughput to changing scenarios, including the execution of priority tasks and the occurrence of demand peaks.
  • Greater capacity and diversification: compact storage optimises the use of space to increase warehouse capacity. Moreover, each channel can house more than one SKU and pallet size.
  • Autonomous, smart operation: the shuttles move through the aisles and channels without assistance from other material handling vehicles. Mecalux’s fleet management software controls shuttle traffic in the racking structure. This ensures continuous and fluid vehicle circulation, prevents jams and avoids collisions between shuttle cars.
  • Operational efficiency and agility: a series of sensors ensure safety and effectiveness in detecting, handling and positioning pallets. Moreover, the design of the wheels and rails enables the shuttle vehicles to run smoothly and change direction with ease and stability.
  • Scalability: the AS/RS’s modular design facilitates future expansion tailored to business growth. To increase productivity, new shuttles can be added. Likewise, new aisles and levels can be created to expand capacity.
  • Wide temperature range: the shuttles’ ability to operate at low temperatures makes them suitable for cold-storage and freezer warehouses. The implementation of high-density solutions in such facilities provides considerable savings in energy costs.
  • Comprehensive solution: Mecalux designs, manufactures, installs and commissions all AS/RS components. These include the shuttles, lifts, racking, conveyors, fleet management software and warehouse management system (WMS).

Applications of the 3D Automated Pallet Shuttle

High-density automated storage and maximum productivity

The 3D Automated Pallet Shuttle is the AS/RS solution best suited to scenarios with intensive loading and unloading cycles or high variability in demand. Its compact design leverages available space, while its versatility makes it adaptable to the requirements of companies in multiple sectors.

The 3D APS speeds up load management in high-turnover warehouses

Warehouses with high product turnover

This AS/RS is perfect for considerably streamlining the management of facilities with large daily volumes of incoming and outgoing palletised loads.

The 3D Pallet Shuttle is ideal for businesses that require mass-scale pallet storage

Facilities with large-scale storage

It is the ideal solution for companies with large quantities of pallets per SKU. Its high-density storage expands warehouse capacity, while the operational speed of the shuttle ensures maximum performance.

The 3D Automated Pallet Shuttle reduces energy costs in cold-storage and freezer warehouses

Cold-storage and freezer warehouses

The 3D shuttle’s wide range of thermal resistance allows for its implementation in cold stores. In these spaces, high-density storage reduces the space to be cooled, lowering costs and freeing operators from working in low temperatures.

How does the 3D Automated Pallet Shuttle work?

The multi-directional movement of the 3D shuttle cars through the racking block greatly enhances the system’s flexibility. This streamlined operation significantly facilitates pallet loading and unloading, making this AS/RS adaptable to various demands.

3D Automated Pallet Shuttle components

In the 3D Automated Pallet Shuttle system, the shuttles and lifts control all pallet movements within the racking structure. This significantly simplifies its design and implementation compared to other high-density AS/RS solutions, as there is no need for additional handling equipment such as stacker cranes or transfer cars.

With its compact design, ample autonomy and high load capacity, the 3D shuttle is the system’s operational powerhouse. Its 12 translation wheels enable its multi-directional navigation as well as agile, stable movements.

The 3D system’s racking consists of compact and robust high-density structures. They stand out for their extensive rail circuit designed to facilitate the multi-directional movement of the shuttles.

Lifting platform

Lifting platform

Located on the top of the shuttle, this component slightly raises the pallet, enabling it to move through the channels. There are two configurations. The first is compatible with pallets measuring 800 x 1200 mm and 1000 x 1200 mm. The second accommodates pallets with dimensions of 1200 x 1200 mm in addition to the aforementioned sizes.

Sensors

Sensors

The shuttle car incorporates several sensors to enhance its operational effectiveness. They fulfil different functions, such as verifying the correct positioning of the pallet on the shuttle, detecting the last pallet deposited in the channel and calculating the distance to another shuttle in front of it.

Channel running wheels

Channel running wheels

Set of 8 translation wheels (4 driving and 4 non-driving) that sit on the base of the storage channel rails to enable the shuttle to move inside it.

Channel guide wheels

Channel guide wheels

Group of 6 wheels that reinforce the longitudinal guidance of the shuttle as it moves within the channels.

Aisle running wheels

Aisle running wheels

Set of 4 translation wheels (2 driving and 2 non-driving) that rest on the aisle rails, allowing the shuttle to move along the aisle.

Aisle guide wheels

Aisle guide wheels

Group of 4 wheels that guide the shuttle as it navigates the aisles, ensuring stable movement.

Battery

Battery

Shuttle cars use batteries with very fast charging cycles, making these vehicles highly autonomous. Battery charge levels are constantly monitored; thus, shuttles are automatically moved to a charging station when necessary.

Antenna

Antenna

Device through which the shuttle car receives instructions (via Wi-Fi) from the WMS and fleet management software.

Frames and beams

Frames and beams

Vertical and horizontal profiles. Together with the rails, they form the racking framework where 3D shuttles navigate through aisles and storage channels to store and retrieve pallets.

Rails

Rails

Horizontal profiles along which the 3D shuttle vehicles travel. Rails are located on the different levels of the main aisle and inside each storage channel. The channel rails also serve as the support surface on which the pallets are deposited.

Lifts

Lifts

High-performance load-raising devices used to connect the different levels. A minimum of two lifts are installed (one inbound and one outbound). However, the number can be extended to increase the operational capacity of the AS/RS.

Safety mesh

Safety mesh

Safety element consisting of metal mesh that prevents loads from falling. It is fitted along the full height of racking blocks adjacent to passageways.

Safety partitioning

Safety partitioning

Perimeter metal fencing that delineates the block of racking, the operating area of the 3D shuttles and lifts, and the conveyor located at the front of the AS/RS.

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