What is a Vertical Lift Module (VLM)? A VLM is a goods to person or goods to man automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS). The VLM consists of a series of trays stored in the front and back of a column with an inserter and extractor device running down the center delivering the stored trays to an ergonomically positioned work counter.
Trays are automatically scanned and stored down to one inch increments within the unit. The controls allows users to use different storage schemes to best fit your application’s needs. A unit can have trays stored close or far from to the pick window based on tray usage. You can also set trays to allow a maximum height on a tray to maximize storage density. Likewise, the shuffle feature will automatically scan every tray and store back in the unit in the least amount of space creating additional capacity.
VLMs are used independently or in pods or work stations. Integrated software, pick to light, weigh scales, conveyor, ergonomic assiste equipment, bar code scanners and printers are just some of the ancillary products used in a dynamic storage and retrieval system work station.
Using Vertical Lift Modules for Batch Picking Operations
Needless to say, having one operator by each VLM waiting for the inventory to be delivered isn’t going to achieve the highest throughput rates. Instead one person should operate several VLMs. As each tray is delivered the operator picks the inventory and hits the task complete button. That unit begins to store and retrieve the next tray while the next unit’s tray pre-positions and waits to be picked.
The operator simply follows the integrated pick to light system from the waiting unit and tray. A batch station of some form is used in conjunction with the VLMs. The batch station often consists of conveyor with mounted pick and put light displays and a PC. Each light position on the batch station holds a tote or box. The tote can be one order or can be divided into multiple cells depending on the SKUs size, physical characteristics and quantity on hand.
Often VLM order picking systems can hit up to 375 lines per hour per operator. The tremendous amount of space savings, the labor savings and item protection offered by a Vertical Lift Module order picking system can match many applications and facility requirements.
Likewise, a VLM can be integrated into a pod of other equipment such as horizontal carousels, pick to light flow rack, shelving, etc. which is called a universal work station. This configuration focusees on eliminating labor and utilizing the best technology for each SKUs requirements. Fastest movers go into the pick to light flow rack, medium and fast movers into horizontal carousels and the slow and medium overs go into the VLM. The beauty of this is that it’s one work station operated by one order picker.
Vertical Lift Module Benefits
First and foremost VLMs can save 85% of your otherwise wasted floor space and often up to 90%+ in facilities with 35 foot plus ceiling height. The integrated software and pick to light system provides accuracy levels in the 99.99%+ levels while saving up to 2/3 the labor required to picking from shelving and cabinet systems. The VLMs eliminate wasted walking, searching, bending and reaching operations providing increased throughput and productivity. The VLMs modularity and ability to change heights and automatically store variable height items makes it easy to manage and train.
Popular VLM Brands and Trademarks (ISD owns none of these trademarks):
Just a Few VLM Applications: