Pallet Shuttle

Pallet Shuttle

Semi-automatic system uses an electric shuttle to load and unload the pallets inside compact racks quickly and accurately.

Request information and/or a quote

The Product

The Pallet Shuttle is a high-density storage system where a shuttle, powered by an electric motor, runs along rails inside a storage channel. By replacing forklifts, this radio shuttle solution considerably reduces operating times and enables SKUs to be grouped by channels rather than by entire lanes.

The shuttle follows orders sent by an operator through a WiFi connected tablet. It deposits its load in the first free location in the channel, while compacting the pallets as much as possible. Not having forklift traffic inside the lanes increases storage capacity in terms of depth and decreases the risk of accidents. Damage to the shuttle racks is then negligible, operator movements are optimized and warehouse operations modernized and made more flexible.

An ideal solution for companies handling high volumes of single-SKU pallets, as well as intense loading and unloading activities.

Features

  • Greater diversification since each channel houses a different item.
  • High productivity through increased inflows and outflows of goods.
  • Greater capacity, i.e. deep store pallets in up to 131 ft lanes.
  • Highly cost-effective, thanks to reduced operating costs.
  • Decreased incidents and maintenance costs.
  • Multiple advanced funtionalities easily controlled from a single tablet.
Top

Advantages

Technology applied at top operating speeds

Save space

  • Store more pallets deep, since channels can stand more than 131 ft high. The maximum verticality is determined by the handling equipment used.
  • The system works with minimal clearances between levels, which permits high-density storage.
  • Built-in sensors on the shuttles help position loads intelligently, eliminating empty spaces in the storage lanes. As a result, the effective capacity of the warehouse (which considers goods flowing in and out of the warehouse) reflects its physical capacity.

Save time

  • Loading and unloading times are reduced, since the operator does not have to move around inside the lanes.
  • The shuttle can travel at speeds of 295 ft/min when empty, or 148 ft/min when loaded.
  • Load lifting cycle of just 2 seconds.
  • With just a single command, the shuttle can progressively fill or empty a whole lane.

Increased productivity

  • More goods flowing in and out of the warehouse.
  • Unlike standard drive-in systems, items can be grouped by channels, rather than requiring a full lane. Greater product diversification is the result.
  • Optimization of operator movements through the product-to-person system, i.e., the load that moves to the operator.
  • While the Pallet Shuttle carries out a command, the operator collects another pallet, achieving continuous workflows.
  • Depending on temperature and load conditions, the shuttle can operate up to 10 hours, working at full performance.
  • The easy-access lithium batteries have fast connections, makeing them cable-free. So, battery units can be changed quickly without interrupting the operational cycle.
  • Elimination of errors.
  • The shuttle rack system is easy to use and maintain.
  • A single tablet can control up to 18 shuttles.
  • Inventory function means the shuttle counts how many pallets are stored in a channel.

Cost savings

These benefits, combined with its efficient energy use, lead to immediate cost savings, making the Pallet Shuttle one of the most cost-effective compact storage systems around.

Versatility

  • The shuttle has built-in sensors that enable different types of pallets to be detected and handled.
  • The 4048 and 4840 Pallet Shuttle models work with different pallet sizes and widths. For example, the 4048 model can handle 40 inch deep pallets (and around 48 inch front ways). The 4840 model can handle 48 inch deep GMA pallets.
  • All shuttles can operate in LIFO or FIFO mode. The operator simply selects the mode they wish to work with from the tablet.
  • The shuttle platform is designed to carry pallets that have a 1 inch max. buckling limit.
  • Any type of forklift can be used to handle the shuttle.
  • Handle up to 3,307 lbs per pallet.
  • Install the Easy WMS Interlake Mecalux Warehouse Management System Easy WMS on any compatible operator tablet.
  • As a scalable system, it is easy to increase the number of shuttles in operation to match increasing productivity needs.
  • Versatility

Safety

  • Thanks to the way that the structure is built, and given that forklifts do not need to drive into the shuttle racks, the risk of accidents is practically non-existent. The metallic bays are not damaged, thus maintenance is kept to a minimum.
  • A user management feature prevents unauthorized personnel from operating the shuttles.
  • Both the racking and the shuttles have built-in safety features specifically designed to ensure the Pallet Shuttle system operates correctly: rail end stops, pallet centralizers, position sensors, etc.

Interlake Mecalux Guarantee

Interlake Mecalux designs and manufactures all the individual components of the compact Pallet Shuttle storage system, including the special shuttle rack structure to ensure streamlined shuttle movements. We also manufacture our own shuttles.

This guarantees flawless operationsand a perfect fit of all the system's different components, as well as their quality and compliance with the safety regulations in force in each country.

Thanks to the resources invested in R&D&I, Mecalux’s Pallet Shuttle includes the latest technological innovations, offering optimal performance at a very competitive price. It has innovative features, including remote tablet control, a positioning camera and safety scanner. As one of the fastest systems on the market, it can be adapted to the specific needs of any warehouse, making it even more efficient.

Interlake Mecalux provides a five-year warrantyfor the Pallet Shuttle rack structure, a one-year warranty on the shuttle's operations, and six months on the batteries.

Top

About

For quick, repeatitive in and out pallet transfers

By definition, a shuttle is a fast means of transport that travels between two fixed points at frequent intervals. Mecalux’s Pallet Shuttle fits this description precisely. However, its journey starts at the front of the racks up to the first available space in the storage channel, and back again (vice versa operation to unload).

Eventually, the evolution of compact storage systems raised important questions. Such as, why not use a motorized shuttle to handle pallets, instead of a forklift that drives into the storage channel? Why not use technology to increase loading and unloading speeds and optimize the effective capacity of a warehouse?

The smart choice was the Pallet Shuttle. Adapted rack structures mean an electric run shuttle can move inside storage lanes along a track, following the commands given by the operator using a WiFi control tablet.

The forklift simply leaves the load on the tracks, and the Pallet Shuttle picks it up and moves it autonomously. Pallets are kept as compact as possible, while each pallet is slotted in its location. Since forklifts do not need to drive into the lanes, handling times are lower, storage capacity is higher and deeper. Additionally, damage to the metal shelves is negligible, operator movements are streamlined and in-warehouse operations moderized.

In other words, the Pallet Shuttle system offers a compact storage solution that reduces operating costs and improves supply chain performance. Intelligent warehousing at its best.

Example of a compact warehouse with Pallet Shuttle
Top

In Action

Compact semi-automated warehouse with Pallet Shuttle

In semi-automated installations, operators only run the forklifts that carry the pallets and also activate the motorized shuttle. Otherwise, the movement of the shuttles inside the racking is automated.

  • Step 1

    A forklift places the Pallet Shuttle into the channel where work is to be done.

  • Step 2

    Next, the forklift is used to position pallets one by one in the channel entrance, resting them on the load-bearing beams.

  • Step 3

    Using the tablet, the operator sends a command to the shuttle to start the loading operation. Once the pallet's location has been identified, the Radio Shuttle lifts the pallet slightly upward. It then moves horizontally until it reaches the first available location, where it deposits the pallet. Different sensors accurately control the movement of the load being stored.

  • Step 4

    The Pallet Shuttle returns to the front of the lane to repeat the operation with the next pallet, and so on, as many times as needed until the channel is full. Before the front position is filled, the shuttle is removed from the lane and the sequence repeated in the next channel where work is required.

Top

Components

Safety and control: a solid foundation

In addition to the control tablet that transmits orders to the shuttle via WiFi, the system consists of two basic components:

Structural components

  • Uprights

    Vertical beam components that can be adapted to a wide range of load requirements.

  • Beams

    Horizontal, robust racking components on which loads are deposited.

  • Rails

    The Pallet Shuttle runs on rails inside the storage channels. Their design facilitates centered pallet and shuttle loading.

  • External rail supports

    Used to fix and anchor the rails on each load level to the frame's entry/exit upright.

  • Inner rail supports

    Used to fix the rails to the beams, except at the channel's entry/exit point.

  • Rail-end stops

    L-shaped 0.20- to 0.31-inch thick folded steel components detected by the shuttle, signaling it to slow and stop under normal working conditions.

  • Pallet centralizers

    Fitted to the entry/exit points in the storage channels, these aid unit load slotting in the channel and ensure the load is centered.

Shuttle components

  • Wheels

    The shuttle runs smoothly along the inner lane thanks to these wheels. As such, it can shift the palletized goods properly.

  • Contrast wheels

    Guide the radio shuttle in a lengthwise direction.

  • Shuttle stops

    Prevent possible collisions or incidents resulting from improper operations. resulting from improper use.

  • Antenna

    Receives orders transmitted from a control tablet via WiFi .

  • Safety bumper

    Used to prevent potential jams or collisions.

  • Safety scanner (optional)

    Installed on either side of the Pallet Shuttle for safer control over channel access while the shuttle is in operation.

  • Lifting platform

    The system lifts pallets through the platform, facilitating pallet movements.

  • Battery compartment

    Batteries are slotted into the shuttle and power the shuttle's movements.

  • Malfunction indicator

    A flashing light which warns if a problem occurs with the shuttle.

  • Battery status indicator

    Indicates the battery level to show when they need recharging.

  • On/off switch

    Shows if the device is on or off.

  • Emergency stop button

    Ensures the Pallet Shuttle stops for preventive maintenance tasks.

  • End-of-track sensor

    Detects the position of the Pallet Shuttle at the channel's ends.

  • Positioning camera (optional)

    Helps the operator center the shuttle between the lateral rails.

  • Pallet detector

    Detects the position of pallet loaded on the Pallet Shuttle, or those that were deposited in the lane.

  • Locking system

    Fastens the shuttle onto the forklift's lifting blades, preventing it from moving around when moved.

Top

FIFO / LIFO

Load management systems

The semi-automated system allows for two types of operation:

  • LIFO (Last In, First Out)

    Where the last pallet loaded is the first to be unloaded. Loading and unloading is carried out from the same aisle. It is the most commonly used solution with the Pallet Shuttle system.

  • FIFO (First In, First Out)

    Where the first pallet loaded is the first to be unloaded. Two access aisles are needed, i.e. one to load the goods and another to unload them. As a FIFO or a storage by batch system, it is recommended for completely loading or unloading a level.

Top

Functionalities

Main features

The forklift operator sends the storage and retrieval orders to the shuttle through a WiFi linked tablet. Operation it is very simple and user-friendly, not requiring any special training. Exceptional control functions include:

  • Pallet selector
    Pallet selector

    Select the type of pallet to be handled.

  • LIFO/FIFO configuration
    LIFO/FIFO configuration

    Select the load management strategy.

  • Change work aisle
    Change work aisle

    Select which side of the structure you want to work on (i.e. FIFO mode).

  • Locking system
    Locking system

    Activate the additional locking system, which increases contact between the Pallet Shuttle and the forklift's forks.

  • Space savings
    Space savings

    Group pallets at the beginning (LIFO) or end (FIFO) of the channel.

  • Continuous loading/unloading
    Continuous loading/unloading

    Loads or unloads a channel without stopping.

  • Partial unloading
    Partial unloading

    Select the number of pallets to be extracted.

  • Inventory
    Inventory

    Count the number of pallets stored in the channel.

  • Location signal
    Location signal

    Activate the acoustic and light signals to identify the selected shuttle's location.

  • User management
    User management

    Manage shuttle user permissions for authorized personnel.

  • Operating mode selector
    Operating mode selector

    Automatic or manual (for maintenance tasks).

  • Shuttle indicator
    Shuttle indicator

    Shows the number of shuttles in operation and their statuses.

  • Tiltmeter
    Tiltmeter

    Detect if the shuttle is incorrectly positioned in a channel.

  • Rescue
    Rescue

    Recover a damaged shuttle from inside the channel.

  • Position camera (optional)
    Position camera (optional)

    Facilitate the Pallet Shuttle's insertion on the rails.

Top

Applications

Automation is within reach

In general, the Pallet Shuttle noticeably increases warehouse productivity when working with incoming and outgoing goods with many pallets per item.

So, it is a top pick for:

  • Companies with few items and a large number of pallets..
  • Companies with massive loading and unloading activity.
  • Cold storage systems are highly-suited to warehouses where products need low temperatures, since storage volumes are fully used and handling times reduced. Installing an AS/RS makes the system even more efficient, through stacker cranes and shuttles.
  • Buffers for picked orders or temporary storage.
  • Seasonal product warehouses, where inflows and outflows depend on the season. So, goods accumulate over a period until a deadline when all must be released en masse, for example, ice cream or toys.
  • rehouses that already use a compact system and need access to a greater number of SKUs, to store ore pallets deep or increase the number of incoming and outgoing movements, tall to increase productivity.
Pallet Shuttle moving inside of a storage channel
Top

Gallery

Pallet Shuttle in motion carrying out unloading The WiFi control tablet has a very intuitive user interface The structure incorporates rail end stops to increase safety An operator handling a Pallet Shuttle with a reach truck Front view of the Pallet Shuttle The shuttle travels at 148 ft/min when loaded The batteries are easily accessible through fast connections making it cable-free Storage channels reach up to 131 feet in depth The unloaded shuttle travels at 295 ft/min Optimization of loading and unloading operations The Pallet Shuttle is placed on the level where work is to be done A forklift places pallets one by one at the entrance to the level Pallet Shuttle slides the pallets horizontally to the nearest available space Once the pallet has been stored, it returns to the beginning of the channel to repeat the cycle Shuttle components with WiFi control The shuttle has numerous built-in safety features Fall-prevention device on the base of the shuttle The Pallet Shuttle system allows for references to be grouped by channel Different structural components specifically for the Pallet Shuttle system The contrast wheels guide the shuttle’s movements along the rails

Ask an expert 1-877-216-0612

Request information or get a quote