A horizontal carousel storage system is a system of bins that rotate on a track, delivering stored items automatically to an operator. Horizontal Carousel eliminates walk and search time, reducing labor requirements up to 2/3 when compared to traditional shelving.
As a storage device, a horizontal carousel consists of a fixed number of adjacent storage columns or bays that are mechanically linked to either an overhead or floor mounted drive mechanism to form a complete loop.
Each column is divided into a fixed number of storage location or bins which in most applications are constructed of a welded wire frame. Loads consisting of containers or totes may be inserted and retrieved either manually or by an automatic inserter/extractor mechanism.
However, rotation of the carousel, whereby a specific storage location is brought to the picking location, is almost always controlled automatically.
An automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS or AS/RS) consists of a variety of computer-controlled systems for automatically placing and retrieving loads from defined storage locations. AS/RS systems are designed for automated storage and retrieval of parts and items in manufacturing, distribution, retail, wholesale and institutions. They first originated in the 1960s, initially focusing on heavy pallet loads but with the evolution of the technology the handled loads have become smaller. The systems operate under computerized control, maintaining an inventory of stored items. Retrieval of items is accomplished by specifying the item type and quantity to be retrieved. The computer determines where in the storage area the item can be retrieved from and schedules the retrieval. It directs the proper automated storage and retrieval machine (SRM) to the location where the item is stored and directs the machine to deposit the item at a location where it is to be picked up.