Pre-requisites to be considered before carton shuttle’

Do we need to consider some prerequisites while implementing an automated system like a carton shuttle?

In Goods to person systems like carton shuttle shelving, orders are store, picked, and retrieved in a hodgepodge before delivering to the customer. This system has contributed to increasing the overall throughput of picking, allowing the businesses to meet their customer demands through improved order accuracy. However, to successfully deploy these systems, a few critical calculations such as process throughput, space capacity, product profile, operating plan, etc along with the technical requirement such as mentioned below need to be done carefully.

An Analysis before implementation

A thorough analysis and inspection of the warehouse, understanding the current throughput and operation is required to be done before even proposing the carton shuttle solution. It also requires a detailed report on the existing process with the average time of order fulfillment and concluding how the implementation of carton shuttles can improve the productivity and hence remove process bottlenecks like delayed order or improper inventory control.

How to compare & calculate carton shuttles productivity?

The throughput calculation considers the current SKU pace, average units fulfilled per order, and provides the expected process accuracy to be achieved by deploying these automatic systems. Interestingly, these systems are capable of picking orders of say 300 picks per hour whereas the traditional manual order picking may bid for utmost 100 picks per hour per operator. Also, these systems provide the flexibility to increase the throughput by adding more of such systems into the fulfillment center which then conflicts with the operating space available. So, space capacity is another such scrutiny that needs to be addressed before implementing the system. To get higher throughputs, increasing the height of the aisles to the maximum permissible height,i.e, 100 feet can harm the overall accuracy of the order fulfillment.

Number of SKUs –

Especially industries like E-commerce, retail, spare parts division, fulfillment centers where there are large no. of SKUs are there & product profile contributes plays a major role in determining which products need to be handled by these systems. Because these systems have technological limits on the dimensions of products and their weight, hence they need to be considered while designing automated goods to person systems.

Aisle depth:

To increase the scalability in the future, aisle length of this system can be expanded to a staggering 100 meters, depending on the volume and required throughputs, however, a deep study has to be done on the load flexibility of the single- or multi-deep storage of containers, trays, and cartons of various sizes.

A few more points to consider before installation are:

We shouldn’t ignore the mundane yet important technical requirements such as

  • Installing tracks,
  • Limit switches,
  • Network interfaces and,
  • Integration with industry’s resource management software (WCS or even WMS) with utmost focus on safety examinations.
  • Laying tracks with aligned electrical Busbar and a steady power necessity of 230 VAC, 50Hz and single-phase constitutes the primary installation desideratum after setting up the aisles, and, besides, it also necessitates the positioning of barcode labels. These barcode tapes are used by carton shuttles for distance measurements, and if the placement of these barcodes is not coordinated, they may result in poor distance measurements and in turn, affects the positioning correction by the system.
  • Along with track installation, the system also needs safety forethoughts such as placement of limit switches and external caging with automated door locking mechanism, usually, a magnetic coil-based door locks for aisles containing shuttles.
  • Software Solution – while considering the integration of WMS solutions with carton shuttles demand installation of network APs across the critical network drop locations with access to the shuttle’s server. Finally, the installation prerequisites narrow down to one last step of configuring the shuttle’s network devices and tuning the drive parameters.

An advance and scalable carton shuttle system enable accelerated picking, order sequencing and order fulfillment, driving the storage efficiency through the ceiling. With Addverb, being the first largest manufactures of carton shuttle in India, we bring a diverse and wide industry exposure in implementing a carton shuttle system. To know more reach us at automate@addverb.in

Technology trends in industrial automation for 2018

When Moore observed the fact that the number of transistors in an IC doubles approximately after every two years, it was believed to be the basic principle for the survival of any technology. Later, Moore’s observation was loosely stated as any technology doubles its productive capacity in 18 months. This laid the foundation for all technological developments. Further today we observe that even this 18 months period has been shortened and technological leaps happen within a year. Manufacturing typically is the most impacted field due to any technological advancement. Here we look at the five technological trends that will disrupt the manufacturing sector in the next 12 months in India:

1.Adoption Of Voice: For quite long, scanning as technology has dominated the warehousing industry. Barcodes have been seen as the most effective solution for picking & put away. With AI-based Voice engines becoming more mature, reliable and their availability in regional languages, there shall be increasing use of Voice in warehouses for picking and put-away process. Due ease of use, increased productivity and robustness, voice-based solutions are poised to replace scanning in warehouses in India.

2.Bluetooth Based Asset Tracking: With the logistics startups disrupting the transportation sector and incoming of GST reducing the Truck Turn-Around Time during transportation, companies would be focusing on optimizing their internal workflow and keeping operational costs low. As such cost-effective asset tracking solutions shall be the talk of the town. Being Robust with longer battery lives, encryption-based security and very high accuracy, “Bluetooth Low Energy” beacons based RTLS solutions and asset tracking will replace the existing RFID based asset tracking systems.

3.Smart Factories: For quite some-time now we have been hearing and talking about smart factories. Smart factories are all about connected machines. Competitive pressures and onslaught of technology such as cloud, augmented reality, etc. will prompt manufacturers to look to Industrial IoT solutions to connect the different processes to drive operational gains and to drive agility and scalability. Areas like remote diagnostics, predictive maintenance, fire hydrant management shall be the first areas for disruption and prove to be successful use cases for IoT solutions.

4.Entry Of Mobile Robots: With the automated driving market heating up with a multitude of startups competing to take the lead, resulting in the maturity of technology, this year will see the adoption of automated guided vehicles in the manufacturing and warehousing sector in India. The industry will migrate to more advanced navigation technologies such as LIDAR, RADAR & Cameras from the existing basic magnetic tape solutions.

5. Data Speaks Up: Big Data has been in vogue for quite some time and manufacturing has already been having a big chunk of data to operate on. This year we will see a business using AI-enabled software platforms to make complex decisions on predicting the breakdowns in machines and avoid downtimes. Products that can help in predicting breakdown patterns and improve productivity shall be the mainstay in manufacturing this year.