Design and Control of Shuttle-Based Storage and Retrieval Systems Using a Simulation Approach


In recent years, Shuttle-based Storage and Retrieval Systems (SBS/RSs) have been widely applied in distribution centers and production sites to meet the increasing demand for rapid and flexible large-scale warehousing activities. Recognizing the complex service dynamics due to the use of different types of S/R devices, both the configuration design problem and the operational control problem need to be studied in order to improve the efficient, sustainable, and robust performance of the system.

Simulation model

The operations in the SBS/RS, including device movements, acceleration, and loads/unloads, as well as the dynamics in task, tote, and SKU information, etc., were simulated precisely using a hybrid simulation methodology based on DES and ABS techniques. Different technology options, including tier-captive/tier-to-tier configurations, multi-capacity tote lifts, and multi-deep racks, as well as design options for encompassing systems, are implemented. 3D animations and various output statistics were developed and used to facilitate the analysis of the systems’ dynamics as well as the verification of the control approaches.

SBS/RS-based warehouse system simulation model built with AnyLogic
SBS/RS-based warehouse system simulation model built with AnyLogic


An animated, data-driven, and data-generated simulation model was developed to support the development of both the design and configuration methodology and operational control strategy of SBS/RS-based warehouse systems. The model enabled detailed analysis of different system configurations and technology options including tier-captive and tier-to-tier, multi-deep rack designs, multi-capacity lifts, etc., and provided visualized tracking of accurately simulated service processes of the S/R devices and performance evaluation under configurable demand scenarios.