Distribution centers are under increasing pressure to adopt material handling systems that offer greater flexibility to improve cycle time and throughput capacity in the transfer of unit loads in their high density storage areas. Autonomous Vehicles-based Storage and Retrieval Systems (AVS/RS), have been shown to hold significant promise in this context. In these systems, loads are transferred by autonomous vehicles. Vehicles support horizontal load movement along aisles and cross-aisles within a tier, and lifts support vertical movement between tiers. Existing research in AVS/RS, do not explicitly account for the potential blocking of vehicles and lifts while they are processing transactions. Blocking could occur when multiple vehicles use the same cross-aisle or aisle to process transactions. These blocking delays could significantly impact throughput capacity and cycle times. In this research, protocols are developed to address vehicle blocking and a simulation model is proposed to analyze system performance and quantify the effect of blocking.
Proceedings of the International Material Handling Research Colloquium
Krishnamurthy, Ananth; Heragu, Sunderesh; and Malmborg, Charles, "Blocking Effects on Performance of Warehouse Systems with Automonous Vehicles" (2010). 11th IMHRC Proceedings (Milwaukee, Wisconsin. USA – 2010). 17.