Mini Load AS/RS Systems

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A mini load AS/RS system, or automated storage and retrieval system, is an automated carton or tote storage solution that stores, tracks, picks and delivers cartons or totes without human interaction other than dropping off and picking up. A mini load system is a crane-based system.

If you’re looking for an AS/RS system for pallet storage and retrieval, visit our unit load system page. For companies that handle both pallets and cartons, a combination of a unit load AS/RS system and a mini load AS/RS system is a viable option.

How It Works

In most cases, cartons are transported to and from the system by a forklift. The forklift either drops the case off at the required aisle (meaning multiple possible drop off points) or at an automated induction system (meaning one drop off point for all cartons), which then takes the carton to the correct aisle.

Here are the steps taken in this system:

  1. The carton gets scanned to verify it’s the correct weight, size, and not leaning or falling apart.
  2. The carton is brought to the correct aisle via either a forklift truck or an automated induction system.
  3. The carton is placed on a conveyor located on the ground level. The crane then retrieves the carton from the conveyor, transports it to the correct level of the system, and places it into the correct position.
  4. Unloading work the same way: the crane retrieves the carton from the system and transports it to the ground level at the receiving location. The carton is picked up by either a forklift or an automated induction system and transported to the needed location.

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mini load AS_RS system
mini load system

Is It Right For Your Operation?

A mini load AS/RS system is ideal for a large array of operational features. Some of these include:

mini load as_rs system is ideal for high number of skus and low number of cartons per sku

High number of SKUs, low number of cartons per SKU: A system can accommodate up to 3 pallets deep. Since each lane should be designated to one SKU, generally a low number of pallets of each SKU works best with a crane-based system.

mini load as_rs system is ideal for ability to store higher than 30 ft

Availability to store higher than 30 ft.: since a standard forklift’s reach is about 30 ft., this often limits the height of a traditional rack system, resulting in wasted storage space. An AS/RS system will be able to utilize the entire available height of your DC.

mini load as_rs system is ideal for storing products that require date code management or scan verification

Stores products that require date code management or scan verification: This is often found with pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and food distributors.

mini load as_rs system is ideal for storing heavy loads

Stores heavy loads: mini load systems are able to handle very heavy loads, up to 6,000 lbs. This can be an ideal solution vs. having forklift equipment or other types of equipment placing and retrieving heavy loads within the system.

mini load as_rs system is ideal for freezer storage

Freezer storage: AS/RS systems allow for the entire area of a freezer to be utilized, which is expensive real estate.

mini load as_rs system is ideal for consolidating multiple distribution centers

Have multiple DCs that could benefit from being consolidated into one: if you’re considering consolidating your DCs into one, an AS/RS system may be right for you. Consolidating DCs will cut down on costs overtime, since you’re not paying for extra real estate, employees, etc. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But, there are challenges that many DCs face when considering this.

Many companies don’t feel they can consolidate since it will mean higher throughput requirements for the one DC vs. multiple. A mini load system will allow for the higher throughput needed.

mini load as_rs system is ideal for lack of availability of consistent warehouse labor

Lack of availability of consistent warehouse labor: one benefit of implementing a mini load system is it can cut down on labor costs. Less manpower is needed, since the system does much of the work. If you find yourself consistently taking time to hire and train new warehouse staff, a mini load AS/RS system may be an ideal alternative.

Mini Load AS/RS System Advantages

Labor reduction: less manpower is needed in an AS/RS system. Employees are no longer needed to travel great distances to store and load cartons. Cartons can be shipped just in time resulting in faster turnaround times. Additionally, systems can be placed right in front of dock doors for quick unloading and loading of trucks. These systems can also replenish picking areas.

Increased pick accuracy: systems can reach 99.95% pick accuracy or greater.

Utilizing full building height: since a standard forklift’s reach is about 30 ft., this often limits the height of a traditional pallet rack system. This results in wasted storage space. A mini load system will be able to utilize the entire available height of your DC.

Ability to handle higher storage and throughput counts: if you want to achieve higher throughput, a mini load AS/RS system is ideal. This ability to handle higher storage and throughput counts is another reason that this type of system allows companies to consolidate products in multiple DCs into one.

Reduces damage to products and the system: an AS/RS system eliminates product-to-product contact, which reduces the likelihood of product damage. Additionally, since a forklift operator does not have to retrieve pallets from within the system, damage to the storage structure is eliminated.

Your Next Step for a Mini Load System

There are a number of mini load AS/RS system providers out there. Whether your next step is to gather more information or request a quote, consider REB Storage Systems. REB is a highly experienced systems integrator, in business since 1962. REB has 17 in-house project managers and engineers, all highly experienced in the material handling industry. These people know this industry inside and out.

REB is highly knowledgeable and experienced in designing, engineering, and installing automation and racking solutions. We will make sure your system is the best fit for your SKU profiles and space. We work with you to provide a turnkey system. From engineering, design, products procurement, subcontractor management, install, and permitting support, REB handles it all for you.

We’d appreciate the opportunity to help you further, whether that be more information or a quote. Fill in the contact form or call 800-252-5955 to get in touch with a REB representative.


Brian Dubin

All Products Automotive, Inc.

“We have been a customer for over 15 years. REB offers a good selection of products at great prices. They are an excellent source of materials along with suggestions and information on a variety of storage issues."

Bruce Moulton

Harrington Industrial Plastics

“REB is by far my favorite vendor, the customer service and dedication to making sure every order is complete and on time. Fantastic communication, and an absolute pleasure to work with.”

Gary Rothschild

Epko Industries

“First time customer and REB provided excellent service and competitive pricing. Would use them again.”

Elliot Sneen

Cabernet Corporation

“Great customer service with an accurate storage system!”

Richard Steed

Pacific Storage Company

“We have used REB Storage Systems for a number of years and will continue to do so in the years to come. Their entire staff are wonderful to work with and provide a seamless installation from beginning to end. Their focus to detail and quality installation has been a valuable resource to our company.”

Tom Beckermann

Felling Trailers Inc.

“REB Storage Systems provides a high quality product with the best customer service in the industry, no matter the volume of products we buy.”


If you need a complete AS/RS system, we can help.