Seth Cohen (sethcohen) wrote,
Seth Cohen

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A question of efficiency

This topic is mostly for glenbarnett, who has Math Fu and may be able to make my life easier, if he finds this issue interesting. Of course, everyone can look behind the cut tag, if you care.

Ye Olde Inventory issue

Old Robot Layout:

Both Robots are linear robots. The old Robot has 16 bays. The front of the robot held the return rack (where drugs are put into the robot) and the conveyor belt (where drugs come out of the robot), which were at opposite ends of the robot. The bay on the back wall next to the conveyor was bay 1, and progressed through bay 8 (near the return rack). Then the next bay was bay 9, on the front near the return rack. Bay 16 was next to the conveyor belt. Thus, there is a slight bias on putting drugs on bays 9-16, as they were on the front side of the robot, and this saved a slight amount of time for the robot head not having to rotate 180 degrees.

In addition, bays 9-16 were closely spaced, and bays 1-8 were not. Bays 1-8 were more widely spaced out (due to architectural complexities) and bay 7 was actually opposite bay 9. But I digress.

The old robot was 35 feet long and 9 feet wide. It had 3500 storage inches of space, all accommodating the “small” package size product. This meant that there was no advantage to placing “bulk” or “small” products in any particular location aside from their usage, and that the robot could not accommodate “large” package size products. Each bay was the same size, even though the spacing was not symmetrical on the back wall. Every bay had 49 rods, and each rod was slightly more than 4 inches long.

Bulk products are the smallest, and can go on any rod.
Small products are the medium size, and can go on “Small” or “Large” rods.
Large products are the largest, and can only go on “Large” rods.

New Robot Layout:

The new robot is 30 feet long and 8 feet wide. Despite a smaller footprint, this robot has about 7200 storage inches of space, of all package sizes. The new robot’s rods are 7 inches long. There are 12 bays. Bay 11 is on the front side near the conveyor and bay 7 is on the front side near the return rack (almost but not next to; I'll explain further), and bay 1 is on the back side near the conveyor belt. Bay 6 is the bay furthest from the conveyor, regardless of its location front or back. Bay 12 is actually directly next to the return rack (yes, they’re not in order) and thus the order is 1-6 on the back wall, and 12, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 on the front wall.

The major difference between the robots, aside from the rod layout, is that there is a second output device above bay 7. Although this loses some storage space, it gains us flexibility. This is a Envelope Delivery System, and will eventually be used for output 24/7. The conveyor belt can put out 700 doses/hour, if used maximally, and is usually only used once daily. The EDS can put out 600 doses per hour, although when used for first doses rather than cartfill, will rarely run that fast.

Bays 1-5 have 104 rods of Bulk size, and 7 rods of Large size.
Bay 6 has 30 rods of Small size, and 28 rods of Large size.
Bay 7 has 52 rods of Bulk size, and 7 rods of Large size.
Bays 8, 9, 10, and 11 are the same as Bay 6.
Bay 12 has 2 rods of Small and 12 rods of Large.

As you can see, inventory management for the new Robot to minimize the Robot head movement from drug to output device is much more difficult than for the old Robot. The only thing I can say with certainty is that Bay 6 is the red-headed step child...but even so, its inventory is very close to the EDS, and it has good storage value in comparison to bay 8 in the old Robot. Stocking bay 8 in the old Robot meant that the Robot head actually had to move AWAY from the conveyor belt in order to stock it. Interesting, eh?
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