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Updated AS/RS offers fresh start for Dole

Proprietary system revamped from one end of aisle to the other.
By Josh Bond, Senior Editor
October 22, 2011

The Dole Fresh Vegetables location in Marina, Calif., has a nine-aisle unit-load automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS). Due to the age of the installation and original equipment, elements of the system were outdated, unreliable and causing downtime. Despite a largely proprietary system, the company was able to find a supplier that could update the
AS/RS—reducing costs and errors while increasing uptime and performance.

Before the upgrade, the company faced widespread problems. As the once advanced system aged, proprietary controls were becoming more difficult to maintain and caused severe limitations on future system capability. Maintenance groups were spending too much time and money troubleshooting equipment problems like maintaining the DC motors and obsolete DC drives. Potential upgrades were complicated, required operational interruptions, and only limited vendors had the ability to perform them.

New hardware and software including end-of-aisle units and wireless tablet PCs supplemented new motors, drives and laser positioning systems. The supplier offered current, off-the-shelf technology that is non-proprietary, proven and reliable, making future modifications and upgrade requirements easier and less costly to implement.

Maintenance costs were reduced, while improving Dole’s ability to maintain the AS/RS independently. The system reliability increased and uptime improved due to the elimination of positioning errors that were occurring in the old control system, the removal of the obsolete components, and the ability to monitor the system on-line in real time. Improved flexibility and positioning accuracy gave Dole the ability to fine-tune individual storage locations. In addition, the serviceable life of the equipment, components and overall system was extended.


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About the Author

Josh Bond
Senior Editor

Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

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