Shuttle small parts warehouse High-performance logistics for containers and cartons

What’s special about a shuttle ASPW?

Shuttles are used within small parts warehouses to pick up and deliver containers and/or cartons. The shuttles take over the horizontal transport on the various axes of the storage cube. Vertical transport is carried out using lifts. Narrower aisles allow for increasing storage density compared to "classic" small parts warehouses.

In addition, the parallelisation of processes and the many vehicles (shuttles) provide the prerequisites for increased performance. A shuttle ASPW can also be fondly compared to a well-organised anthill in which the individual shuttles perform a wide variety of tasks (storage/retrieval).

Shuttle ASPWs are also characterised by a high degree of redundancy because if one vehicle fails, all the other vehicles still continue to work. The system is therefore also suitable for fast-growing companies or companies with a broad and/or frequently changing product range, as the application shuttle vehicles can be scaled flexibly.


How do things work with the shuttle ASPW?

Shuttle technology has been continuously developed and today offers numerous possibilities for material flow organisation and control. The design varies depending on the mechanics manufacturer (e.g. one-level shuttle or multi-level shuttle).

In the "basic version", each storage level is served by a shuttle vehicle that picks up containers with a telescopic gripper. The telescopic gripper automatically adapts to the stored goods.

Next comes the onward transport to lifts or vertical conveyors, which are connected to the front side of the ASPW. These take over – also with WMS control – the distribution to the racking levels and, in the reverse case (or on request), the provision at the delivery spur. The onward transfer to the order-picking workstations is usually done in a conventional manner using container conveyor technology. Some manufacturers also offer a variant in which the shuttles can travel directly to the picking station

What types of shuttle warehouses are there?

Essentially, a distinction is made between one-level and multi-level shuttle ASPWs. A one-level solution is designed so that all levels of a racking system are equipped with a shuttle vehicle. With a multi-level variant, on the other hand, it is also possible to move in parallel in neighbouring levels and to serve these. In addition, there are system concepts based on vertical roaming, in which shuttles change levels via lifting systems or lifts.

Comparatively new are combined system solutions with driverless transport systems (DTS) or autonomous transport robots, which feed containers to order picking or other destinations in the warehouse. 


Which variant is suitable for whom?

You’ve guessed it: The most suitable variant for each case is an individualised decision. In addition to the necessary investments, the operating costs must be weighed up. Furthermore, the availability derived from the required throughput is decisive.

In principle, a shuttle ASPW for fully automated small parts handling can always pay off when, for example, in the e-commerce sector, multi- or omnichannel concepts with high product rotation are planned and/or companies are expanding rapidly. In these cases, a shuttle ASPW enables a large number of jobs to be processed in parallel. In addition, the system is flexibly scalable, as the number of vehicles can be increased along with the order volume.

Advantages in a nutshell

  • Fully automatic handling of broad and changing product ranges
  • Maximum flexibility and scalability
  • Fast access and high handling rates
  • Maximum storage density thanks to narrow aisles
  • High redundancy also ensures process reliability
  • Modular and energy-efficient design

  • Can be used as a picking or buffer storage
  • Material flow optimised control via SAP EWM/MFS (SAP Extended Warehouse Management/SAP Material Flow System)
  • Hence, no subsystems (material flow computers) is required
  • Suitable for distribution logistics and production supply


  • Many years of experience as an SAP EWM general contractor
  • IGZ offers all forms and extension stages of shuttle small parts warehouses
  • Manufacturer-neutral selection consulting and implementation
  • Giving you the best value for money
  • Individually tailored, efficient and future-proof automation solutions (without any dependence on a particular manufacturer and technology)
  • Engineering expertise for all phases of a project – from strategy consulting and SAP software implementation to SAP technology integration
  • Everything from a single source – one contact for cross-discipline availability and sustainability
  • Proven best practices for accelerated implementation with guaranteed success

Do you have further questions? Contact us!

Speak with our logistics consultants about your logistical tasks, needs and expectations. Benefit from our extensive expertise in project planning, implementation and the direct SAP connection of warehouse technology and production facilities, regardless of type and supplier. 

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