Over the past couple of years, there has been an increase in e-commerce and online shopping. This growth has increased the demand for warehouses and storage space, which has in turn led to a greater demand for sensors that aid in the production, manufacturing, and storing of products in dense arrangements.

Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS) are used in warehousing and production manufacturing to store products in a way that maximizes the available real estate. ASRS systems need sensors to indicate the location to accomplish this.

ASRS are becoming commonplace in the field of intralogistics, which involves optimizing, integrating, automating, and managing the logistical flow of material goods within a fulfillment or distribution center. ASRS shuttles are typically implemented for handling pallets of bulk products in warehouses or inventory containers in distribution centers.

In the image above, the system includes a shuttle within a shuttle. One shuttle moves along the long aisle and the other shuttle is nested inside and moves out either left or right along each row. Dimetix laser distance sensors are used to monitor shuttle position along a row to accurately load or unload pallets. The laser sensors shoot under the pallets and measure the distance to a fixed target at the far end of the row.

Safety Concerns and Efficiency with ASRS Systems

With the recent growth in e-commerce and the demand for warehouse space, we’ve also seen an increased demand for safety and reliability when operating equipment involved in the storage and distribution process. To optimize the available space, pallets need to be positioned closely together. This requires a high level of accuracy when placing each into its storage position.

In situations where the shuttles are nested, lasers can be used to provide absolute shuttle positioning. When placed incorrectly, pallet collisions can cause a tip-over situation which could result in product loss and produce a safety concern. When placing pallets too far apart, valuable storage space can be wasted.

Designers and manufacturers of ASRS shuttles also face the challenge of moving materials efficiently with speed, accuracy, and without damage to the goods being transported. Lasers are preferred over encoders because they eliminate errors due to wheel slippage or wheel out-of-round conditions.

Non-Contact Positioning Solution for ASRS Systems

Dimetix D-series laser distance sensors are the ideal choice for ASRS shuttle positioning. Their long-range, measuring abilities, small spot size, and multiple industrial outputs commonly used on ASRS shuttles offer efficient positioning solutions.

The Dimetix D-series laser distance series from Laser-View Technologies provides the best position sensors to achieve this because they achieve the following key characteristics:

    • Long measuring range for large warehouses: Dimetix provides lasers that measure from 0.05 m to 500 m – Up to 100 m without a special reflective target!
    • Ability to measure the distance to a target under pallets: Dimetix lasers provide an exceptionally small spot size that only grows to just 30mm at a 100 m distance.
    • Absolute position accuracy with high repeatability: Dimetix D-series laser sensors offer either 3mm or 1 mm absolute accuracy with 0.3mm repeatability. There is no loss of encoding due to wheel slippage, as with traditional wheel encoders. Dimetix lasers do not need to be re-zeroed.
    • Low-temperature operation in freezer warehouses: Dimetix offers lasers with extended temperature ranges, spanning -40 to +60 deg C.
    • Output protocols to match typical ASRS control systems: Dimetix D-series laser sensors provide a host of output protocols as standard equipment
      • RS232 / RS422 / RS485 serial
      • SSI (Serial Synchronous Interface) for simple wheel encoder replacement
      • Analog
    • Optional interfaces:
      • Ethernet IP
      • Profinet
      • EtherCAT

Laser-View Technologies offers its industry expertise with the integration of Dimetix laser sensors into ASRS shuttles and cranes. Their high accuracy and repeatability make positioning pallets or totes tight against each other simpler for denser storage.

Dimetix Laser Sensors Measuring Range

  • Choose between 1 mm or 3 mm absolute accuracy over 500 meters with our target material; 0.1 mm resolutions
  • 100 meters to natural targets (no special reflector needed!)
  • Measure as close as 2”

Dimetix laser spot can shine under the pallet, helping for densely populated pallet storage warehouses without the fear of banging pallets together and toppling material. Their small spot size, approx 0.15” spot size close to laser, grows to only about 2” size at 100 meters (much smaller than competitors)! This means that you shoot the laser under pallets without a problem.

Dimetix lasers are absolute and never need re-zeroing like wheel encoders that slip. View the full list of their unique characteristics here.

Interested in learning more about the Dimetix long-range laser distance series? Click here to contact Laser-View Technologies.