On the surface, global supply chains are responsible for getting products to move from point A to point B. But as you begin to dig deeper into the layers, you find that there are many, complex components, and processes needed to logistically perform order fulfillment. In order to thrive, global supply chains need to maintain accuracy, productivity and efficiency across all operations, components and processes. Due to this, materials handling and supply chain experts are turning to automation to uncover efficiency, accuracy and cost savings in the warehouse and distribution centers.
Once product is received within the warehouse or storage area, orders can be filled with the use of an automated layer pick system, which includes a robot, bridge structure and software. The robot is a combination of a clamping tool and a large gantry that travels on two rails. Underneath the gantry is a staging area that would include a pallet of every SKU the company offers. Cimcorp, a manufacturer and integrator of turnkey robotic gantry-based order fulfillment and tire handling solutions, recently added unique and impactful features and functionality to its layer pick system. Specifically, its robot utilizes a heavy-duty, combination clamping and vacuum-based tool and a large, fast gantry. The bridge structure can have multiple robots on common rails, each completing 20-30 second cycle times. The pallets within the staging area can be stored directly on the floor without forklift aisles to optimize space, eliminating the need to move pallets around the warehouse to different staging areas.
To facilitate order fulfillment, the layer-pick tool utilizes a warehouse control system (WCS) to communicate with the warehouse management system (WMS) and obtain order information, including SKUs, quantities and picking sequences. The WCS then directs the layer pick tool how to build orders and manage replenishment. Once the order is built, it is moved to the loading dock to await the delivery truck. With its vacuum and clamping tool, Cimcorp’s layer picking system has the ability to pick up a near limitless variety of products, including single or multiple layers at a time for orders, or half and full pallets for replenishment.
How does this compare to fully manual picking operations? On average, each person picking orders can realistically pick 90 to 250 cases per hour, based on any number of factors within a facility like the type of warehouse, distance between staging areas, and more. In this scenario, the average manual picking rate is 200 cases per hour per person. The layer picking system pictured below, which includes two robotic heads on the gantry, can do the work of more than 30 people per shift, allowing employees to focus on other non-automated tasks.
YouTube Video on How it Works:
Contact: Derek Rickard
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