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Automatic Storage & Retrieval Systems

PITCH - Servo belt driven

LIFT – Servo rack & pinion

Overview Atlas Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS) are the perfect solution for many stamping operations where growth is exceeding available pressroom floor space. Just-In-Time requirements have created the need to keep a large number of die sets ready and waiting on the pressroom floor. For contract stampers that have acquired a larger customer list or OEM’s that have increased their product offering, more “active” die sets are crowding operations and decreasing productivity. By utilizing otherwise unused vertical space, the need to invest in plant expansion and additional capital equipment is alleviated along with the benefit of increasing press uptime by slashing die change times by as much as two-thirds. Slow changeover and floor space problems can create a vicious cycle for stamping plants that are focused on short production runs. Consider the scenario of searching for a die set, maneuvering other items out of the way to retrieve it, utilizing several production workers to hook the die to a crane, perform the die change and then begin production. For short batch runs, half of the available production time is lost. If batch time is increased beyond JIT requirements, then storage of the parts/blanks becomes an issue and therefore, more floor space is lost. The more space that is lost, the higher the risk to damage dies and parts.

The Benefits To gain needed capacity and efficiency many plants are exploring options other than increasing plant size. Storage and retrieval systems can be used in many applications to help alleviate the problems associated with growth. They provide space and storage while helping to increase press use, providing expanded production capabilities without investing in additional presses and peripheral automation. An AS/RS accomplishes this by vertically stacking dies, parts or coils in storage bays while maintaining fast and controlled access to them. Average time of retrieval with an Atlas system is less than 5 minutes and may be accomplished while the press is in operation Fully automatic retrieval with the elevating cart is accomplished with a touch screen user interface. Stored items are fully accounted for with die or part tracking controls. All retrieved items are presented to a common location at the desired time and may be prestaged on die tables for pick-up via fork truck, crane or die cart. The retrieval system is fully guarded which controls access to the system and protects plant personnel from potential injury. AS/RS solutions are fully customizable in that storage bays may vary in size by vertical row. Systems may range in size from 10 bays up to 1000 bays and may be installed in phases to accommodate future needs.

The Atlas Retrieval Cart Atlas is the only AS/RS manufacturer in the marketplace with wire rope technology for virtually unlimited weights. Our standard heavy duty design is capable of safely transporting and lifting 60 tons of material per load with ease. Atlas carts travel at much higher speeds too‌ up to 100 feet per minute unloaded and 80 feet per minute with full loads. The advantage of choosing a wire rope retrieval cart over a standard ball screw configuration: Machining time for a ball screw of this length is measured in terms of weeks of downtime. In contrast, wire rope needs no machining and is immediately available. The cost of purchasing (4) extra ball screws to assure quick replacement is expensive as well as difficult to store. In contrast, wire rope is inexpensive and easy to store. The steel for long ball screws is not readily available and would require larger purchased quantities than (4) , in contrast wire rope is readily available. Ball screws are more susceptible to damage in both emergency stop and crash conditions occurring from operator error. Replacing ball screws is difficult and expensive. In contrast, wire rope systems have some elasticity so that sudden stops do not result in such high loads on the rest of the system, and they are inexpensive and relatively simple to replace. Wear due to misalignment, lack of lubrication or excessive loads on a ball screw will result in potential failure with no warning. In contrast, wire rope systems will give a warning of future failure. There is very little wear on the drums on a wire rope system so only the rope needs occasional replacement.

The Objectives Our customers have based their equipment acquisition on the following three objectives: First: Increase stamping capacity within existing floor space. This provides more effective use of existing presses and means that the space for an AS/RS will be at a premium and must be minimized. Another portion of this goal is to reduce inventory on the plant floor by making smaller part runs more effective. Second: Reduce material handling requirements. This involves eliminating the use of fork trucks and overhead cranes for the movement of dies. Ultimately, the crane should be utilized for moving coil stock and fork trucks should be used for moving finished parts and the removal of scrap. Third: Ensure consistent part/blank quality by protecting dies from damage. Reducing the handling of dies, especially by fork truck greatly reduces the likelihood of dropping and harming them. Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems accomplish all of these goals and increase throughput at the same time.

How it Works‌ Atlas Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems are most effective when used in conjunction with Atlas die change systems. This provides for both the movement of the dies or parts into and out of the storage system and into and out of the press in a fully automated and integrated manner. Floor space limitations are overcome with a series of multi-tier storage rack units with individual compartments for dies or parts. Each compartment is accessed by the elevating retrieval cart. The retrieval cart is used exclusively for accessing or storing dies or parts, while the die change equipment is used exclusively for loading and unloading the presses. This allows the AS/RS to retrieve the up coming die set while the press is in operation. All dies are equipped with permanently attached, standardized subplates for uniform handling within the system. Each slot in the rack is equipped with rollers to facilitate load and unload. Mechanically actuated retainers in the rack slots help to ensure safe retention of the dies. Additionally, the retrieval cart lift platform is equipped with safety latches that prevent accidental or unintended lifting or lowering of the platforms and also ensures the platform is lined up correctly with the rack slot before die removal begins. Once the die is retrieved, it is placed onto a die table where it is pre-staged and waiting for the next die change sequence. The die cart (non-elevating) that services the press would remove the out going die, transport it to an empty die rack and deposit it for pick-up by the storage and retrieval cart. The die cart would then move to the rack with the incoming die, pull it onto the cart and transport it to the press for insertion. A full die change sequence can occur within less than 3 minutes.

Reasons to Install an AS/RS Better use of floor space is the main reason for installing a multi-level AS/RS. Other reasons include: 1.

Improved part quality. The AS/RS that works in conjunction with dedicated die change equipment allows the operator to move dies or parts in a controlled manner that virtually eliminates die damage from handling. Dies that stay in top condition translate into consistently higher quality parts due to maintaining their original tolerances.


Reduced die repair costs. Because dies are handled in a safe and controlled manner, the need for repair and replacement decreases.


Improved safety. Because the die movement is controlled, the possibility of dropping a die or putting an operator in a dangerous situation is greatly reduced.


Increased production. This derives from two factors. First, when changeover time is reduced, press uptime increases and more parts are produced. Second, the quality of the “first off� parts allow the stamper to run more parts per batch without the downtime that is associated with quality problems.


More effective production control. With an AS/RS it is easier to schedule production runs because the retrieval of the next required die set is completely controlled. In emergency batch run situations, such as an unscheduled part that needs to be run immediately, the process of changeover is efficient and not dependent on the availability of general plant material handling personnel and the equipment required to move the die such as fork trucks and cranes.

Economic Justification Points to keep in mind when considering an AS/RS system and planning the economic justification of the equipment should include the following: 1.

The costs to add more plant space to continue the current storage methods


The costs of the current material handling equipment, maintenance and labor


The time that is lost due to part quality problems


The cost of die repair and replacements because of the current handling methods


The cost of safety issues (insurance, lost work time, etc)


Profits that are lost because of press downtime, such as unnecessary over time and reduced production


Inventory costs from running large lot sizes instead of being able to run Just-In-Time

Specifications & Options Controlled Transfer Variable Speed:

Loaded Up to 80 fpm Unloaded Up to 100 fpm

Lift Speed:

Loaded Up to 50 fpm Unloaded Up to 100 fpm

Simultaneous lift and travel functions Storage Bays:

10 to 1000

Storage Size:

Customer specified

Maximum Weight:


Options: Automatic load weighing Managed die tracking Automatic press loading/unloading of the die to/from the system Ball screw or wire rope lift design PC based remote access diagnostics via modem Front office control package

Die Handling Automation • Robotic Integration • Sheet Metal Handling • Tri-Axis Transfers System Integration • AS/RS • Washer & Oiler Systems • Automation Tooling

Why Atlas? Our Promise….Atlas listens to you, the customer. We embrace your vision and understand your motivation. It’s our culture of total commitment that allows us to conceptualize solutions tailor made to fit your specific applications…creating world class material handling systems that will exceed your expectations.

3100 Copper Avenue Fenton, Michigan 48430 USA Phone: +1 810.629.6663 Fax: +1 810.629.8145

Atlas Technologies Automatic Storage & Retrieval Systems  

Atlas Technologies Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems have the highest weight capacity on the market, up to 60,000 pounds per storage c...