Compact, multi-deep three-dimensional (3D), Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS) are becoming more common, due to new technologies, lower investment costs, time efficiency and compact size. Decision-making research on these systems is still in its infancy. This paper studies a particular compact system with rotating conveyors for the depth movement and a Storage/Retrieval (S/R) machine for the horizontal and vertical movement of unit loads. The optimal storage zone boundaries are determined for this system with two product classes: high- and low-turnover, by minimizing the expected S/R machine travel time. We formulate a mixed-integer non-linear programming model to determine the zone boundaries. A decomposition algorithm and a one-dimensional search scheme are developed to solve the model. The algorithm is complex, but the results are appealing since most of them are in closed-form and easy to apply to optimally layout the 3D AS/RS rack. The results show that the S/R machine travel time is significantly influenced by the zone dimensions, zone sizes and ABC curve skewness (presenting turnover patterns of different products). The presented results are compared with those under random storage and it is shown that significant reductions of the machine travel time are obtainable by using class-based storage.

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ERIM Top-Core Articles
IIE Transactions
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Yu, Y., & de Koster, R. (2009). Optimal zone boundaries for two-class-based compact three-dimensional automated storage and retrieval systems. IIE Transactions, 41(3), 194–208. doi:10.1080/07408170802375778