Published by: SI Systems

Horizontal Carousels for Order Picking Provides Fast ROI

Horizontal Carousels – Spin Profitability

horizontal carousel
Horizontal Carousel

Horizontal Carousels Goods-to-Person systems provide one of the most cost-effective order fulfillment technologies available today. They are perfect for optimizing slow to medium moving inventory with up to 550 lines per hour/operator.

When you compare horizontal carousel systems to manual material order fulfillment systems such as pick modules, high bay picking, pick to light flow rack, voice and RF picking you will find the increased efficiencies compelling.

Compare automated systems to the horizontal carousel system such as mini-loads, shuttle technologies, floor robots, robotics and others and you will find an acquisition cost and return on investment that will warm the heart of any organizations CFO and investors.

Horizontal Carousel Benefits Include:

  • Up to 550 lines/hour/operator
  • Low acquisition cost
  • Saves 2/3 of your labor
  • Storage density reduces floor space requirements by 2/3
  • Tremendous up time and reliability

Flexibility to change inventory heights, weights, the systems location and length quickly and easily

Horizontal Carousel Applications Include:

  • E-commerce/Omni-channel fulfillment
  • Spare parts handling
  • Kitting
  • Order consolidation
  • Returns
  • Buffer and sequencing

Horizontal Carousel Systems Right for You?

If you answer yes to any of these questions than horizontal carousels should be investigated:

  1. Have you researched floor robots and shuttle technologies and found the acquisition and maintenance costs to be prohibitive?
  2. Do you use manual rack and voice and have too much labor?
  3. Are your accuracy levels are below 99.9% levels?
  4. Do you have over 21 order pickers in your operations?
  5. You think you need to increase the length of your recirculation conveyor because of congestion?
  6. You need to save up to 2/3 of your existing floor space and improve efficiencies?
  7. You would like to have dozens or hundreds of open orders at any given time to help balance your consolidation and shipping without the cost and space of conveyor?

Horizontal Carousels Picking

The secret sauce to horizontal carousel picking is batch picking and having the right items in the right quantity in the best location to assure fast and accurate picking.

A horizontal carousel is a long oval track that has bins with shelves rotating on it. Not such a different concept than your local dry cleaner (the genesis of horizontal carousels, and another story).

Two to four carousels (called a pod) of carousels operate as workstation. As one carousels is positioning to be picked the others are spinning and getting ready to be picked. This Goods-to-Person operation creates incredibly efficient operations. The moment a carousel stops, a pick light in the integrated “Lightree” indicates the carousel, shelf, item and quantity to be picked. The operator picks the quantity and turns around to batch station which has totes with lights for each order.

A single operator in one pod of horizontal carousels can batch pick six to 20 orders simultaneously without ever leaving a 20’ x 6’ area… all light directed and confirmed. With this type of operation, it’s easy to see how picking can often improve up to 600% over existing operations with an associated reduction in 2/3 the labor.

Replenishment for the carousels is done in bulk, even more efficient than the picking process, but in reverse.

How do you find out if a horizontal carousel system is right for your organization?

Call us at  800-523-9464 or email SI Systems today at for a free data and return on investment analysis and see how to turn your warehouse operations into a profit center.

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