Frequently Asked Questions

Controller

What are the various software programs provided with AutoStore?

Xhandler, Router, etc.

Can we use our existing software (ERP, Warehouse) with AutoStore?

Yes. AutoStore offers different standard interfaces (APIs) for the communication between AutoStore and the WMS (picking, goods in, and port operations).

As a software integrator, I would like to make an Interface to AutoStore?

Our standard AutoStore interface is open for each interested WMS supplier. An NDA agreement between the parties is required before each interested party can develop their interface to AutoStore.

Currently, we interface with SAP, Red Prairie, etc.

Does AutoStore log all information in case failures? And how is this organized?

Yes, all activity among other failures is logged and is traceable. The WMS can trace all bins via Log Publisher. The customer WMS needs to maintain the bin contents and should have a regular back-up schedule to save all critical data.

What is the mean time to between failures?

AutoStore is operating with greater than/equal to 98% system availability. Statistics from hundreds of installations show a 99.6% availability, on average, in 2019. For an AutoStore installation with 50 Robots and 12-16-hour shifts, we expect a failure rate of1-2 short stops per working day.

If there are any deviations in the system:

  • First, the system will first try to fix them automatically. We call this functionality Xhandler.
  • Second, the system can have a “delayed stop”.

This means only the module will stop and wait for assistance, the system will not stop entirely. A skilled super user will use approximately 3 minutes to recover a system.

We continuously try to find better ways to secure high uptime.

What is the mean time to repair/recovery?

Typically, a stop could implicate a fast stop/start procedure of the system and last for approximately 3 minutes. It is important to know that in most of the normal possible failure situations only parts of the entire system will go down.

Does the system need to shutdown if a robot jams on the grid?

No. In most situations the system will continue running. The AutoStore software module, Xhandler, will take over the failed robot and work to fix the error situation without stopping the system. Only in situations which can't be handled through automation or will create a risk for robot collisions will the system stop.

Is it possible to do night preparation?

Night preparation is a strategy where the Customer knows all, or maybe only a certain number of bins needed to fulfill the orders the next day.

The orders are already in the system the evening before and the Customer could benefit from pre-digging them up at night. The more bins known the better the night preparation and the new bin distribution will be.

This strategy is possible as long as the Robots get enough charging during the night. It might be necessary to have a superuser on-site if something goes wrong during the night.

Is it possible to do forecasting?

Forecasting is a strategy used by the Customer to predict the usage of bins for the next day based on data from the past (statistically from previous days or years).

The idea is to prepare a certain number of SKUs (Bins) at night so when the picking activity starts the next day, we can get a good match between the real orders and these forecasted bins. Only with a very high hit rate of the forecast will be the usage of the forecasting strategy beneficial.

Is it possible to change the picking list?

Yes, changes of tasks or task groups already transferred to AutoStore are possible. But each change may have a negative influence on the speed and efficiency of the system later on as the system may already have used Robot resources to prepare that Bin.

 

What is the range covered by each access point?

2.4 GHz: Up to 30 robots (Max 50)/standard range circle 25m radius per AP (max up to 50m).

Old installations in Europe: 433 MHZ: Up to 30 robots/standard range circle 25m radius per AP (max up to 50 m).

Old installations in US: 915 MHz: Up to 30 robots (Max 50)/standard range circle 25 m radius per AP (max up to 50 m).

If my warehouse has pillars, do I need access points between all the pillars?

This need is decided case-by-case. A minimum setup for each installation is 2AP. In special cases, you will need extra AP to avoid black spots due to building constructions.

What is Router?

Router is the latest evolution in the AutoStore system software designed to increase the movement of Robots and reduce the amount of advanced planning needed.

Like an air traffic controller, Router utilizes sophisticated computer algorithms to continuously calculate and recalculate in real time the most efficient path for AutoStore robots to move and deliver orders ensuring the best possible traffic flow. It is able to anticipate robot movements and adjust pathfinding to avoid traffic jams. This dynamic mapping means the system can adapt to changes such as cancellations, new prioritization of tasks, or unexpected order intake.

When adding robots to a system, eventually a limit will be reached based on the number of robots operating on a grid and increased traffic. Router expands the potential for additional robots and their threshold, benefiting all users, from small back-of-store systems to massive distribution centers.


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