Yearsley Group Automation Refurbishment

Autostore ASRS warehouse control delivers end-to-end automation management...

Autostore is the UK’s leading suite of warehouse management solutions, developed by award-winning supply chain integration specialists Central Systems & Automation Ltd. Running a major automated cold store demands control systems that ensure the fast, accurate and flexible handling of goods in real-time, all the time. With a proven, operational ASRS refurbishment implementation running successfully in Grimsby, Yearsley Logistics has extended the scope of the project to include Hams Hall Distribution Park near Coleshill, Birmingham.

The specification required Autostore to manage movement of stock in the warehouse high bay using the existing cranes and associated conveyor systems. Sitting at the heart of the ASRS refurb is Autostore WCS – the UK’s leading warehouse control system for ASRS environments - operating in single warehouse, multiple client configuration.

In addition, the Central Systems team replaced all existing crane and conveyor software control systems with the Autostore Crane Control System and Autostore Conveyor Control System. Integrated with Yearsley Logistics I Series warehouse management system for strategic operational control, Autostore WCS maximizes the efficiency of all material handling sub-systems in real-time. It also provides a uniform interface to - and control of - Yearsley Logistics automated crane and conveyor equipment, controlling all automation across goods-in, the high bay, conveyor and marshalling operations.

The normal timescale for a major ASRS refurb is six months: Yearsley Logistics required specification, testing, installation and commissioning in just four - delivered in working temperatures of -20 degrees celsius. Spanning nine cranes and four large conveyor networks, daily operations were maintained on the legacy control systems and commissioning took place offline at night. Refurb work included replacing all 13 PLCs (programmable logic controllers) with Siemens S7 units. The recognised global benchmark in modular PLC control, the S7 is ideal for automating factory floor processes - it's robust, powerful and flexible.

With full remote diagnostics, Autostore WCS gives Yearsley Logistics an improved high bay throughput rate of 220 pallets per hour across a capacity of 42,000 pallets. Autostore WCS also provides the critical link to Yearsley Logistics ERP system while the Autostore crane and conveyor control systems handle pallet flow control across a facility-wide network. Crane storage is configured into zones allowing preferred product placement – for instance keeping fast moving items near to the head of an aisle. Autostore WCS gives Yearsley Logistics total control of customer orders, ensuring volumes per client can be altered with ease and full PLC compatibility with the new WCS has made its introduction straightforward.


24 years of award-winning excellence delivering strategic supply chain software and integration solutions... tuned for high performance and bottom line benefit.

Chris Herbert is Head of Cold Store Operations at Yearsley Logistics: “Following the success of the implementation at our Grimsby hub, Autostore at Hams Hall is reducing our risk while enhancing the process control and space optimization, helping future-proof our business for efficiency, productivity and growth. Easily accommodating our I Series ERP system, our throughput is more efficient and critically, the exceptional product and pallet visibility and traceability Autostore gives us accurate, fingertip control of the business day-to-day”.

“Running a major automated cold store demands control systems that ensure the fast, accurate and flexible handling of goods in real-time, all the time. Autostore WCS minimises business risk while delivering enhanced process control and space optimisation. Refurbishment is a highly cost-effective way to future-proof ASRS infrastructure, underpinning efficiency while scaling easily for throughput speed and storage volume”. 

“We approached this project purely from a business perspective: we wanted the technology to service our operational needs rather than vice versa – a common pitfall with large technology implementations. It’s a wholly digital solution that has entirely removed natural obsolescence from the sharp end of the business. User acceptance has been very positive and the switchover was seamless”, finished Herbert.

Andrew McKaig, Commercial Director at Central Systems & Automation, added: "We have a proven record in ASRS automation control and refurbishment across all environments, helping our clients optimise their businesses for leaner, more efficient and more cost effective operation. Sitting at the heart of warehouse operations worldwide, our installed ASRS management systems scale easily for throughput speed and storage volume”.