As global e-commerce sales continue to grow, finding the most efficient way to pick, pack and ship goods directly to consumers is fast becoming the Holy Grail of modern distribution. Cimcorp’s 3D Shuttle™ provides an innovative and highly cost-effective solution to the challenges posed by e-commerce.

Technology director Jyrki Anttonen:

Software is playing an increasingly prominent role in automation systems, and more in-depth expertise is required in product development. When this software know-how is combined with Cimcorp’s extensive expertise in system development, we are able to deliver solutions to customers on a turnkey principle, from a single location.

In most distribution centers, order picking is the most labor-intensive – and hence the most expensive – activity. The shift to low-volume orders – and therefore essentially single-piece picking – has put additional cost pressure on the warehouse. It is in the picking operation, therefore, that the potential for savings through the use of automation to improve speed and accuracy can be most easily realized. Cimcorp’s solution for e-commerce distribution – 3D Shuttle™ – offers superb efficiency in goods-to-man order picking, with an attractive return on investment.

Handling goods that can be stored in plastic crates or totes – which form, for many retailers, the major part of the product range – Cimcorp 3D Shuttle™ can operate as an ‘island’ of automation for these goods, with non-tote-based products either being handled manually or through other picking techniques. Cimcorp 3D Shuttle™ can take care of warehouse processes from receiving, through storage and picking, to packing and shipping.

“Over the years, we have supplied our customers with a wide range of automation solutions for various industries, for handling and transporting a variety of products. Our experience naturally provides us with a solid base for developing new products. Product development projects are led by people who have strong knowhow within the particular sector concerned,” states Jyrki Anttonen.

The elements of a typical e-commerce fulfillment solution

  • Tote-filling stations with height-adjustable floor for decanting of pallet loads of incoming goods
  • Conveyor system to transport totes between the storage area, picking stations and packing stations
  • Tote warehouse for product totes and empty totes operated by Cimcorp 3D Shuttle™ robots
  • Picking stations with height-adjustable floor for slow- and medium-movers
  • Market Square pick-from-pallet area for fast-movers
  • Packing stations with height-adjustable floor
  • Value-added services (VAS) station for tote management, inventory consolidation, checking and quality control
  • Return management station

The benefits

Unrivalled efficiency – the stack-handling capability of the high-speed robots, combined with the ingenious shuttle concept, makes Cimcorp 3D Shuttle™ extremely efficient. In fact, order picking is six times more efficient than in a manual solution and the system becomes unrivalled as the number of SKUs and size of storage increase.

High flexibility – the system adapts easily to inventory and volume increases, seasonal fluctuations and order structure changes, giving a high degree of operational flexibility.

Scalable solution – a variable number of robots serving the storage area and the ability to add further storage modules to the system means that Cimcorp 3D Shuttle™ can be designed to suit the throughput, with additional capacity added when required.

Low investment – the modular system offers an excellent cost/storage capacity ratio through the reduced amount of equipment – as no racking or sprinklers are needed – and the high storage density achieved by avoiding the need for space-wasting aisles.

Text: Totti Toiskallio Photo: Arto Helin Illustration: Timo Kyyrö

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