Technology is the key element that is radically changing storing solutions in America. Software and robotics are quickly changing supply chain and warehousing systems across the country. One of the most recent trends is micro fulfillment centers, which use AI and automated storage and retrieval systems, such as vertical lift modules.
Vertical lift modules are efficient storage machines that are quickly improving the efficiency of many businesses. They use a vertical picking and storage system with easy-to-use software controls that integrate into your facility’s warehouse management system (WMS), making storing and retrieving items quick and easy.
What is a Vertical Lift Module?
A Vertical Lift Module (VLM) is a high-intensity automated storage and retrieval system that improves the efficiency of warehouses and other storage facilities. Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. has partnered with Modula, a leading manufacturer of automated warehouses, to create a premium vertical lift system that saves floor space and increases productivity.
Essentially, a VLM is a closed system that stores items vertically and uses a digital system and elevator to retrieve them. Goods are usually stored in the front and rear of the unit, and the elevator is located in the middle so that it can access both sides. At the bottom of the VLM, there’s an access window or entry point with controls where employees can push a button and retrieve the items.
The Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. VLM is designed for maximum storage density. The pickup window is designed to allow employees to easily and comfortably remove or place items on the trays. The size of the VLM can vary depending on your needs, and we can work with you and Modula to create a customized system for your business.
What are the Benefits of Using a Vertical Lift Module?
There are numerous benefits that businesses profit from when using a VLM. It helps to optimize the use of space, save time, and increase productivity.
One of the main benefits of using a VLM system is optimizing space in a warehouse or storage facility. Items are vertically stored inside the unit, freeing up floor space inside the facility. Because you don’t need additional picking equipment, such as forklifts, you eliminate the need for wide aisles. Compared to standard shelving, it allows you to save a lot more space. This can allow businesses to expand operations without a physical building expansion.
With the eCommerce boom, customers are demanding faster and cheaper delivery times. Businesses worldwide are improving their warehousing systems and supply chains to attract consumers with fast and efficient delivery of products. A VLM is an excellent system to save time in warehouses and distribution centers. They can be especially useful in micro fulfillment centers because of their optimized use of space and efficient technology.
With a VLM, the simple push of a button delivers the right item at the pickup window quickly. It reduces labor and increases the amount of work that can be done in a day- Because all the items are vertically stored, staff doesn’t need to walk around the warehouse or waste time looking for items. By simply pushing the button, the VLM system efficiently retrieves the item and brings it down to the window.
Enhanced Product Security and Traceability
Because the VLM digitally stores products, there is a lower risk of losing items or placing them in the wrong places. The machine is highly accurate and can reduce mistakes that often occur in warehouses. You place the items on the trays at the pickup window, which has a simple and ergonomic design allowing for easy movement.
One of the main characteristics of Modula’s systems is that they are very straightforward to use, helping save time and avoid problems. The Modula LIFT comes with an easy-to-use touch screen operator console and a user-friendly software interface. Thanks to the intuitive software, it requires very little training to start using the machine. The Modula VLM also comes with excellent safety features that maximize user safety, such as physical barriers and clearly marked safety rules.
Having more than three decades in the storage and warehousing systems industry, we understand every company can have its own specific goals and requirements. Modula’s innovative designs allow our team of specialists to customize your Modula system to meet your specifications and maximize the profit you get from your investment.
How Does the Vertical Lift Module Work?
VLMs have two columns of trays with a mechanical inserter and extractor in the center. The extractor travels up and down between the two columns, automatically picking or depositing trays as needed.
Controls and Software
Near the picking window, there’s a screen with an intuitive user interface to control the system. The VLM has a height sensor that measures the height of the items stored in each storage tray. The machine uses this data dynamically to maximize storage density. If a product is 5.3 inches tall, it’s stored in a space that’s 6 inches. And if the product that comes right after measures 3.5 inches, it will be stored in a 4-inch-location.
A standard VLM unit is roughly 5 to 15 feet wide by 7 to 10 feet deep. The trays that store inventory range from 4 to 13 feet wide by 2-3 feet deep. The maximum product height is about 28 inches. Variations for custom models are available, but these are some standard measurements for VLMs.
VLM systems start at 8-feet tall and can be installed up to 98-feet. It’s up to you to choose the height of the machine depending on what you want. You can reach ceiling height if you want to. Choosing a machine as high as possible isn’t necessarily great because it also reduces the system’s speed.
The trays of VLMs can handle up to 2,200 lbs. each. Models can be customized to carry heavier loads. When comparing vertical lift modules and vertical carousels, Vertical Lift Modules are better for businesses that need to store very heavy items. Lift-assist equipment can be added to VLMS for some extra power.
How Fast Are They?
VLMs are very fast, and you can achieve about 350 items per hour depending on the configuration of your specific model.
VLMs can be equipped with options such as pick-to-light to maximize the speed at which items are picked up. When items are placed in the retrieval window lights tell the operator where the required items are located. Thanks to this simple system, operators can quickly pick items from the window without wasting time.
Slotting is a critical aspect of achieving high speed with a VLM. Managers need to commit to reviewing inventory data such as seasonality, how often an item is picked or replenished, and what items are usually picked together. This information helps figure out the most effective way to place items inside the machine, increasing the overall efficiency of the VLM.
Contact Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. for More Information
At Shelving Rack Systems, Inc., we are committed to improving the efficiency of storage facilities with the latest technology and designs. We work closely with our clients to understand their specific needs and design the best possible storage system for their needs. For more information on our products and services, call us at (855) 573-6103.