Modeling, Analysis, and Design Insights for Shuttle-based Compact Systems

E (Elena) Tappia, Debjit Roy, Rene de Koster, M Melacini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


Shuttle-based compact systems are new automated multi-deep unit-load storage systems with lifts that promise both low operational cost and large volume flexibility. In this paper, we develop novel queuing network models to estimate the performance of both single-tier and multi-tier shuttle-based compact systems. Each tier is modeled as a multi-class semiopen queuing network, whereas the vertical transfer is modeled using an open queue. For a multi-tier system, the models corresponding to tiers and vertical transfer are linked together using the first and second moment information of the queue departure processes. The models can handle both specialized and generic shuttles, and both continuous and discrete lifts. The accuracy of the models is validated through both simulation and a real case. Errors are acceptable for conceptualizing initial designs. Numerical studies provide new design insights. Results show that the best way to minimize expected throughput time in single-tier systems is to have a depth/width ratio around 1.25. Moreover, specialized shuttles are recommended for multi-tier systems because the higher cost of generic shuttles is not balanced by savings in reduced throughput time and equipment needs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-304
Number of pages36
JournalTransportation Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2016

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