German storage system manufacturer KASTO, which is also a well-known producer of sawing machines, has introduced a pick-by-light option for its computer-controlled industrial warehouses, which are available in the UK and Ireland through the multinational company’s Milton Keynes subsidiary.
With the new function, a beam of light is projected onto an item in a cassette or on a pallet of material that has been called up to an output station, allowing the operator to identify it quickly. In this way, a significant amount of time can be saved and picking errors avoided. Pick-by-light is particularly helpful in storage systems that have cassettes or pallets subdivided into multiple compartments.
The function is integrated into the KASTO control, which identifies the article that needs to be retrieved (or stored) for a particular job. After the load carrier arrives at the station, a light dot is projected onto the relevant area of the pallet or cassette. The operator recognises the correct compartment and location at a glance and is able to reliably pick (or place) the item without error.
Pick-by-light is available on various types of KASTO storage system. The first to be equipped, due to its popularity and ease of display at exhibitions, is the UNITOWER. It is offered in two variants either for long stock or for sheet material and containers. The single or double tower systems, which can be either freestanding inside or installed outside in an adjacent weatherproof building, are of modular design and can be customised easily.
Input and output stations may be flexibly positioned at the front or side of the tower and at different levels, depending on the customer’s preferences. Each storage space can carry a load weighing up to five tonnes, according to the system design.
The base version of the UNITOWER has a usable width between 600 and 1,240 mm, enabling the storage system to be matched to the available space. Bar or tube from 3,400 to 14,600 mm long is accepted, allowing users to access different standard material lengths as well as production-optimised special stock.
UNITOWER B for storing sheet metal and flat products enables material between 2,000 and 8,000 mm to be accommodated. Usable width is between 1,000 and 2,000 mm. The loading height and the number of storage locations can be freely determined, enabling pallets, boxes and other containers to be stored as well as sheet.
Tower heights up to 20 metres are routinely built in both variants. They provide much higher storage density and therefore use floor space much more economically than conventional floor and cantilever arm storage arrangements.
UNITOWER storage systems are also characterised by a high level of efficiency, as the load carriers are handled by a storage and retrieval machine with a central crossbeam. Compared with paternoster systems, for example, this has the advantage that it is not necessary to move the entire stock, but only the relevant cassette. Efficient drives ensure fast access times and save energy.
KASTO’s advanced conveyor systems, as well as machine tools, can be connected to the storage and retrieval stations, ensuring automatic and efficient material flow in production environments. UNITOWER storage systems are controlled by KASTO’s own ProControl with its intuitive, touch-screen graphical user interface.