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Carousels are dynamic shelving units. Their operation follows the “goods to man” principle. Despite looking for goods in a static shelving unit, the worker can have the goods automatically delivered to him. On TradeMachines you can find used Vertical Carousels up for auction
The structure of a carousel
Carousels have mobile shelves. These shelves are connected to various chains, which are powered by an electric motor, that move the shelves horizontally or vertically. With exception of the input and output areas, these machines are completely covered. The input point is where the shelves are loaded.
How does a carousel work
Vertical carousels have an electronic control system. The terminal delivers the desired product either from an inputted bar code, a search system or an article number. Then the shelves move, fully automatically, up until the shelf containing the required product reaches the operator. The product can then be taken easily.
The characteristics of a carousel
The main advantage of a carousel is how quickly it can deliver the required product to the operator. Carousels eliminate the need to laboriously look through static shelving units. The delivery of goods is additionally sped up through use of a distance-time system. This determines the shortest distance between the product and the operator. With particularly large carousels, this can significantly reduce the time required.
Carousels are machines for saving space. They can be very efficiently loaded. Unlike static shelves, carousels eliminate empty space. Carousels are very ergonomic. All products can be stored and taken from a very comfortable height. Bending over and stretching to reach for products is no longer necessary. Stairs and ladders are also no longer required. Carousels can be programmed with the “First in-first out (FIFO) accumulator”. First in-First out is particularly important for all perishable products. Carousels provide a good quality assurance for the food and pharmaceutical industries.
Carousels are completely enclosed and have additional safety features, which means that they are very safe to operate. Injuries from carousels can only happen intentionally or from highly negligent misuse. A limited access control system can be implemented to ensure that only authorised workers have access to certain shelves.
Use of a carousel can significantly reduce the need for industrial trucks. The “goods to man” principle also eliminates the need for lift trucks.
However, the “goods to man” principle can also be one of the disadvantages of carousels. Only one person can use the shelving system at a time. This can be a problem during peak times, when queues can cause interruptions to work flows. This problem can be solved by using several shelving units. However, this is a limited solution. Another disadvantage is that carousels have relatively high installation costs and require disciplined operators. They can easily be about 100 times more expensive than installing a regular shelving unit. However, these costs can also be calculated against the space saved by having this type of shelving unit.
Loading a carousel for the first time is a very demanding process, because every product needs to fit into a defined storage space. The discipline during the continuous use of a carousel is the deciding factor of how efficient and durable the machine will be. If goods are continuously being removed without confirmationthen the carousel will quickly loose its efficiency. In most situations this problem can be avoided through use of an efficient goods management system. If all products are equipped witha RFID-Chip, then the carousel can automatically log all changes to the goods stored. With all the right accessories, a carousel is a very valuable component for a modern goods management system.
Sizes and types of carousels
There are two types of carousels. Carousels that operate horizontally are called “carousel racks”, whereas carousels that operate vertically are often called “paternosters”. There is thus a wide range of designs available based on the two basic principles of the vertical paternosters and horizontal carousel storage units. The carrying capacity of a single shelf can be several hundred kilograms. Mid-sized, heavy and bulky goods can be just as well stored in vertical carousels as small and light goods. The industry has a range of different solutions. Nowadays, storage systems that can carry a thousand kilogrammes per shelf and 60 tonnes per system can be easily produced.
Working with a carousel
As was already mentioned, the disciplined logging of what products have been taken out and put into the carousel is the central deciding factor on how efficient the system will be in the longterm. There are several systems in place for informally loading a vertical carousel storage system. Depending on the complexity of the goods management system that is place, it is important to have special training when first loading the carousel.
Vertical carousels often collect a lot of dust and dirt. It is very important to regularly clean the shelves and components for health and safety, and hygiene reasons. Assistants, service providers or contract workers can be hired for this job. All vertical carousels have a function, which allowed the shelves (with exception of those that are locked) to be manually controlled. Before cleaning the shelves, assistants need to be trained on how to place the goods back onto the shelves.
The technical maintenance of a carousel vertical should only be undertaken by specially trained personnel. Reparation services should not be undertaken ad hoc, even if the machine breaks down, is defective or jams. The safety system of a vertical carousel is only suited for normal operations. If these safety systems are bypassed, then the carousel vertical could pose a significant risk to the life of workers.
Buying Used Vertical Carousels
There is currently a revolution happening in the field of vertical storage systems. Many companies are now replacing their long-used paternosters with lift systems. These are faster, more robust, simpler to maintain and more energy efficient than the old paternoster system. The main advantage of a lift system is that only one shelf moves at a time. When taking things in and out of a paternoster, the whole shelving system has to move. Most investment programmes include getting rid of these used vertical carousel storage systems. Paternosters are now out of date, which means they are available very cheaply on the used market. Most of these machines, which are from the 1980s, are no longer useful machines because they cannot be adjusted to fit modern management systems. However, they are still well suited to replace existing storage capacities.
Suppliers of carousels
The most recommended suppliers of vertical carousels are HÄNEL, KARDEX, RAIMANN, TITAN and LOCKWEILER. Vertical carousels for heavy loads are available from MEGAMAT and SCHWAB. Special systems for drums and coils are available from the companies VDIR, GIOVANELLI and VIDMAR. The companies DEXION, EWS and ITB provide horizontal carousels.