Automation

This page focuses on some interesting automation that has already been implemented using the DATASCOPE WMS selective architecture. We hope that by reading through these automations you will be able to see the power of integrating your DATASCOPE WMS software to 3rd party hardware or software.

The range of automations below are a limited selection to give a flavor of what is possible.

Conveyor Integration

DATASCOPE WMS has a standard conveyor integration module for high volume fine picking (unit picking) distribution centers. In this module you can release sales orders into the DC using our carton cubing rule. This uses logic to split the order lines into full carton picks and picks direct into multi-SKU cartons.

The result is that all conveyor picked product (unit pick to carton) are cubed into various sizes of carton or shipping bag and then induced onto a conveyor line. The DATASCOPE WMS software prints the required uniquely numbered carton labels with a 2D barcode.

As the carton flows down the conveyor the in-line conveyor scanners read the 2D barcode at each zone divert and the divert the carton into the zone if the 2D label indicates there is product reserved within tat zone. The pickers then use pick to carton or voice picking to add the correct SKU ‘s before placing the carton back on the conveyor.

At the end of the picking zones the cartons flow through an in-line weigh station to confirm that each picked carton is within tolerance. If the mass check fails and or if the carton pick records show a short pick, the carton is diverted into a QA area to be corrected before flowing through to the dispatch area.

In-Line Automated Carton Label Application

In the conveyor picking model as described above the carton labels can be printed and applied manually or they can process through an automated label applicator as seen in the attached video. Automating the printing of the carton labels is a huge step toward optimization of the DC as we are able to dictate the speed at which these labels are released and thus we create a “drum beat” for the warehouse. This turns the conveyor picking solution into the form of a production line where the line dictates the speed at which the operators (in this case pickers) must work.

In-Line Audits

The video attached shows a typical QA process on a conveyor line picking process. Here we have automated three checks into the QA process on already picking cartons. First, we validate the carton item pick records to see if anything has been short picked. Then we validate the carton mass from eth inline scale to the theoretical mass and lastly, we can perform a full RFID tag check if the picked products have RFID labels attached to them.

Automated Packing List and Shipping Labels

When running pick to carton a packing list can be printed per carton as well as a consolidated pack list for the order (printed once the last carton arrives in eth dispatch consolidation area).

Manually printing and applying a packing list per carton can be time consuming. In this example we have integrated the pack list and the shipping label detail into a single label that is printed and applied automatically.

VLM (Carousel) Picking Integration

Here a Kardex VLM (Vertical Lift Module) is integrated to the DATASCOPE WMS picking instructions. As a picker arrives at a VLM machine they would enter their operator card details into a custom app installed on the VLM. This app then queries DATASCOPE WMS to get the pickers current list of pick instructions but just for this VLM. The VLM then cycle through the pick instructions bringing the correct draws down for picking.

Automated Sorting

Installing a sorting conveyor at your main receiving area or in your dispatch area allows for DATASCOPE WMS integration. Here we have automated various receiving sorting instructions such as instruction the conveyor to delivery high running A and B type products to a single SKU per pallet area while diverting slow moving cartons to a mixed SKU [pallet area and multi-SKU products to a “direct to pick face” area. The options for sorting are limitless as long as we have the data to make the sorting calls.

Similar sorting systems have been used to sort cartons on the dispatch area. A typical application here is to sort UPS, Fedex and USPS cartons to their respective shipping trailers.

In these cases, the intelligence resides in the conveyor PLC but DATASCOPE WMS provides the core data for the PLC software to make the correct decisions.

Automated Conveyor Induction

When conveyors are used to pick in a distribution center, a company can add automation to the conveyor to achieve high levels of productivity. One area to drive the conveyor volume is to automate the release of orders to pick into the induction area (start of the conveyor line).

This video shows how automated carton makers and automated carton labeling can be applied to a conveyor to speed up the induction of cartons onto the conveyor line. Automating this sets the “drumbeat” for the warehouse.