Yale's warehouse simulator is an extremely accurate software program designed to provide operators of large warehouses with a sophisticated consultancy solution.
Yale's consultative approach is provided free of charge by the company's warehouse equipment specialists in determining the optimum warehouse design and equipment specification. The program uses the same simulation 'engine' used by major European airports, leading rail infrastructure companies and other blue-chip organisations. It uses intelligent algorithms to write the specialist code bespoke for each end user application, down to the finest level of detail.
The input interface breaks down the sections of the largest warehouse into atomic parts including marshalling, parking and staging areas, the exact type of racking, storage and the fleet to be used. VDI data including speeds and energy consumption, goods flow and order picking and replenishment regimes data can all be input into the program.
The simulation software was recently used to help determine the optimum design and equipment required for one of the largest warehouses in the Middle East, a 375,000 sq ft facility at Jabel Ali South, Dubai, operated by Clarion Integrated Logistics Solutions.
Yale was involved with the development from the earliest planning stages with SSI Schaefer, when Clarion needed to know the maximum number of pallets that could be stored and moved within the available space. To illustrate the potential capacity of the facility the simulation software was used to show how the maximum efficiency could be achieved.
Using six Yale Very Narrow Aisle high level order pickers (MTC) trucks, combined with six counter balance trucks on a wire guided system, the software showed that just under 192 pallet movements per hour could be achieved. Within three hours the simulation identified a congestion issue in the picking operations. This helped provide Clarion with a clear picture of their requirements and gave them the reassurance that Yale was a company with the knowledge, expertise and product range to be able to supply the materials handling equipment for their showpiece warehouse.
The simulator's presentation is unique in that it shows a realistic picture of the warehouse using images of the equipment being proposed and the customer's current or planned assets in situ. In addition, it builds in order picking paradigms and other important details of day to day operations including details of the equipment being specified, speed, braking, lifting and lowering and other performance criteria. The simulation also accounts for power usage and the impact of battery changing and charging on shift performance.
Yale's VNA and warehouse systems manager, Ron Farr, comments: "We can build in accurate break times and interfacing operations as well as congestion within the aisles. All of the data is input and then the simulator itself writes the specialist coding. This enables clients to make easily informed decisions when they can see the full story of what will happen in their warehouse when all the equipment has been commissioned and the warehouse is fully operational.
"The shift pattern system is intelligent enough to handle contract details such as service intervals and can even account for user licences."
As well as calculating hourly usage rates and or KPIs for service agreements, the number of pallet movements and even the number of lorries that are backed up during a period can be seen.
The algorithms can handle seasonal fluctuations, flexible layouts, mixed fleets and additional stand-by trucks to provide a vivid and colourful 3D and 2D representation of the warehouse.
Yale warehouse equipment is provided through Briggs Equipment UK Ltd the exclusive Yale dealer in Great Britain. As one of the leading materials handling specialists, Briggs Equipment has the ability to provide customers with a complete warehouse solution, from assisting in the planning of a new warehouse to the efficient management of the materials handling fleet once the warehouse is operational.
Mark Murfet, VNA and warehouse product manager for Briggs Equipment comments "We understand the importance of getting the most out of any warehouse assets and storage space, as well as ensuring that the facility operates with maximum efficiency. Briggs, in partnership with Yale, offers a consultancy solution as part of our business ethos. The Warehouse Simulator from Yale gives us the ability to analyse data to offer the best solution that is tailored to that exact need of even the most complex warehouse scenarios."