Alliance Entertainment (Alliance), a distributor and wholesaler of films, music and consumer electronics, has partnered with warehouse technology firm AutoStore and Swiss automation company Swisslog to introduce an automated solution to its 873,000ft² (81,104m²) Kentucky warehouse.
The two technology firms installed a cube-based warehouse automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS), which is now operational at the site.
The ASRS was designed to have a cubic layout to support increased storage capacity for warehouse floors. Robots navigate over a surface grid and pick the totes that contain products needed for order fulfilment and transport them to a picking station.
According to AutoStore, this enables the system to support operators to pick up to four orders simultaneously and cuts walking time for the process.
The Kentucky fulfilment centre is equipped with three picking mezzanines, with 220,000ft² (20,438m²) being covered by daily picking, sorting, packing and shipping operations.
Alliance claims the warehouse store 33 million pieces of inventory across more than 485,000 unique SKUs. The contract between the three firms covers a four-year lease of the ASRS.
Swisslog, a global provider of automated intralogistics technologies, has partnered with Alliance for the design and installation of the ASRS.
“With our incredible growth in Vinyl shipments at our Kentucky warehouse from 8.1 million units in 2019 to 16.3 million in 2021, we needed a system that could reduce the distance walked to pick product, to store in a more compact form and reduce the amount of labour needed to handle the product,” said Warwick Goldby, SVP of operations at Alliance Entertainment.
“We now have over 3 million units and 40,000 Vinyl Record titles in inventory, including both Alliance inventory and AMPED distributed titles.
“In combination with the growth of shipments, since the pandemic we recognised the need to shift toward larger scale automation as warehouses have had to adapt to the challenge of staffing and executing the workload with limited resources in ever-tightening delivery time frames.”
Alliance’s ASRS configuration includes AutoStore’s most recent model of B1 robots combined with more than 52,000 storage bins, each of which is configurable and can reportedly hold up to eight unique SKUs with weights of up to 66 lbs (30kg).