Automating the warehouse is a fundamental step in optimizing various logistics operations. Automation brings with it numerous advantages; it reduces human errors, optimizes space utilization and accelerates picking times, thus helping to improve overall inventory management and meet growing customer expectations in an increasingly competitive and evolving market.
By adopting advanced technologies, such as automated storage systems and robotics, it is also possible to achieve high levels of efficiency, accuracy and speed that would otherwise be difficult to achieve. Among the various technologies best known and used in today’s market are miniload systems.
In this article we will find out what they are, what function they provide and their main advantages.
Miniload warehouse: what it is and how it works
The miniload warehouse represents an advanced logistics solution for the timely management and organization of company stocks. Specifically, it refers to an automated storage and retrieval system designed to manage the efficient storage and retrieval of small items.
Also called box stacker cranes, they can reach heights of over 20 metres. This system employs a machine that moves along vertical shelves retrieving the required products quickly and accurately.
The implementation of miniload warehouses requires careful planning and design tailored to the company’s specific needs. It is essential to evaluate:
- the volume of goods to be handled: these systems are suitable for handling light loads (up to 150kg);
- the picking frequency: optimizing the layout reduces handling times, as well as increasing the overall speed of the system;
- the rotation rate of goods: inventory management is in fact essential to avoid overstocking and understocking.
To carry out operations correctly, these machines must be integrated with specific software that allows customization of their movements. This guarantees precise optimization and a long-term return on investment.
Implementation areas of miniload warehouses
These systems find their application in various industrial and commercial sectors. Among the most common ones are:
- E-commerce: in the warehouses of e-commerce companies, miniload systems make it possible to handle large volumes of goods, improving the speed of order picking and dispatch. This helps to meet customer expectations in terms of fast and accurate deliveries.
- Manufacturing industry: in this sector they can be used to manage the components and materials needed for the production process. This optimises the supply chain and reduces production times.
- Chemical-pharmaceutical industry: in this case, miniload warehouses allow medicines and healthcare products to be managed accurately and in compliance with regulations. Automation also helps to ensure the traceability and security of items.
- Logistics: for distribution companies, miniload warehouses can speed up order picking and shipping, optimising the flow of goods through the supply chain.
This list, however, doesn’t represent a rigid classification, as miniload systems can be adapted to different sectors according to specific needs.
The advantages of the miniload warehouse
The implementation of a miniload warehouse leads to significant improvements in terms of:
- Reduction of errors due to manual handling
- Faster picking times
- Space optimization
- Intensive picking activities
- Increased safety in the working environment
- Increased operational efficiency with reduced picking times and costs
- Constant control and improved inventory management
- Automation of input and output operations
- Maximum convenience and easy access to stored boxes
- Continuity of operations, enabling 24/7 operation
- Greater adaptability to changing market needs
- Speeding up order preparation
Despite its many advantages, it must be emphasized that the miniload warehouse is only suitable for certain types of warehouses and implies a significant investment with a medium to long term return.
Overall, however, we can say that these systems represent a step forward in the evolution of industrial logistics, enabling companies to achieve higher levels of efficiency, precision and flexibility.
LCS Group’s miniload solutions
LCS Group, which has been operating since 1989 in the fields of internal logistics and industrial automation, designs and manufactures automated warehouses with miniloads or stacker cranes that can be customised on request. These machines represent the heart of the system that makes up the automated warehouse, which is why it is essential to carefully choose the most suitable type based on the loading capacity, the size of the goods and the type of height to be reached for storage.
LCS Group can help you along the path of choice: from the analysis of requirements, to the design of the layout and the implementation of the system.
For more information, please contact us by following the link.