Response Time Analysis of a Live-Cube Compact Storage System with Two Storage Classes

We study a next generation of storage systems: live-cube compact storage systems. These systems are becoming increasingly popular, due to their small physical and environmental footprint paired with a large storage space. At each level of a live-cube system, multiple shuttles take care of the movement of unit loads in the x and y directions. When multiple empty locations are available, the shuttles can cooperate to create a virtual aisle for the retrieval of a desired unit load. A lift takes care of the movement across different levels in the z-direction. Two-class-based storage, in which high turnover unit loads are stored at storage locations closer to the Input/Output point, can result in a short response time. We study two-class-based storage for a live-cube system and derive closed-form formulas for the expected retrieval time. Although the system needs to be decomposed into several cases and sub-cases, we eventually obtain simple-to-use closed-form formulas to evaluate the performance of systems with any configuration and first zone boundary. Continuous-space closed-form formulas are shown to be very close to the results obtained for discrete-space live-cube systems. The numerical results show that two-class-based storage can reduce the average response time of a live-cube system by up to 55% compared with random storage for the instances tested. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives. Copyright © 2017 Nima Zaerpour, Yugang Yu, and René B. M. de Koster. Published with license by Taylor & Francis.