A third-party logistics provider using 12 to 16 people per day to for personal electronics fullment orders was manually scanning barcodes and SKUs and applying shipping manifest labels, and needed other people to scan-check the labels. In the old system, employees hand captured both serial numbers and SKU codes via handheld scanners. The customer’s WMS assigned the next order, for which a shipping label was printed and applied by hand. The order then required two additional hand scans to verify that the shipping label was assigned to the correct carton. StreamTech was asked to design and build an alternative to the old manual methodology; the resulting system not only paid for itself in six months, but increased output.
Interface and Dispensing
Order requirements for personal electronics fulfillment are displayed on a large-format TV. Cartons are buffered in a bank of dispensers, providing for reduced labor to load the line as the operator can handle a whole stack at once, and the ability to work to fill it and then buffer as needed. The dispensers cycle automatically, loading cartons on the line at even intervals. The precision of the dispensers allow for a simple belt conveyor without additional product gapping automation. The modular dispensers adjust for various sized products and will the customer to add more later if desired if the active SKU quantities change.
Scanning and Verification
After dispensing all of the codes on the cartons of personal electronics are trapped by Cognex Dataman® scanners. The cameras quickly capture all of the codes, future-proofing for additional formats including 2D, and allow for easy remote troubleshooting. The scanners typically operate in a 99.5% to 99.8% read rate range. The system records the codes and passes them on to the customer host who is able to assign the next order and sufficient information to generate a shipping label. After printing the labels are 100% verified against the original barcodes for complete, redundant verification and accuracy.
Two print and apply labelers operate in tandem. The StreamTech system allows the labelers to be run in parallel for redundancy or individually during a label re-load or other maintenance. Label media is easily accessible over the top of the conveyor even while the system is running. The labelers are equipped with status lights and sensors to let operators know when they begin to run low. After printing the label is wrapped over the top of the cartons, and any exceptions are diverted to a cart to be reprocessed. The line has provided additional capacity so the customer is looking for additional client business than can be run through it.
A quick double cylinder pneumatic pusher keeps pace with 2,800 cases per hour throughput. In the personal electronics fulfillment industry it is critical that serial numbers, and other codes are all correct so if the redundant checking does not verify that the order is correct, it is diverted for manual processing. The sortation divert can be easily added to, so as to include multiple sortation lines by carrier when that becomes of interest. StreamTech software records metrics and system events for review and troubleshooting. Highly advanced “config” files in the SCS software allow the customers’ techncial and super-users a lot of latitude to manage their own system, reducing the need for support.
- Saves money with direct labor reduction
- Increases throughput
- Operator Metrics & Accountability
- Consistent label location and application
- Buffers free operatos to multi-task
- Alarms and Messaging for ease of use