Diamond Phoenix Automation, the sole agent for Cassioli in the UK & Eire, looks at the future prospects for intralogistics as the world moves to adopt the new era of industry 4.0.
In recent decades, we have witnessed a growing evolution of the role of warehouses within the logistics network, with an increasing need for new technologies and solutions.
Inside the warehouse, the activity of picking is an increasingly important and critical role. Its importance has led suppliers of material handling, including Cassioli, to subject picking to continuous and careful analysis of data which has led to a steady increase in technological and IT development.
These developments, the dynamics, the main advantages and fields of application within the new industrial manufacturing companies are characterising the new era of Industry 4.0.
The ever-more sophisticated and attentive marketplace has rewritten the rules of the game, putting more and more emphasis on the relationship between market competitiveness and requirements such as the accuracy of the order, the availability, speed and accuracy of delivery.
Picking activities are acquiring a role increasingly studied in the context of logistic systems, both in terms of production logistics (for example in the preparation of kits for the supply of the assembly processes), and in distribution logistics (for example in B2C e-commerce, the process of order fulfilment is one of the most critical in terms of both cost and levels of service).
Picking system for every need
Picking systems differ in performance and operational methodology. We therefore first require a joint, logical, understanding of the design process in relation to the data from the production environment:
- Profile of the article (size, stackability, shape, etc.)
- Quantity of managed SKUs
- Number of pieces per order line (average value)
- Number of lines per order (mean value)
- Number of orders per day (average value)
- Seasonality of orders
- Turnover Rate for classes of items
Cassioli proposes different picking systems based on the joint analysis of alternative solutions, each of which is compatible with a specific need and different production scenario.
PICK TO BELT: This solution is normally adopted in the case of picking of large items or whole cartons of goods.
The system consists of a central conveyor on which the picker places the cases taken from different pallets. The operator is usually equipped with an RF terminal and printer so that a bar code or shipping label can be applied.
The conveying line transports the packages towards the loading bay, or it can serve directly a dispatch sorter for the compilation of orders. Furthermore, the software and automation system can replace the pallet the package was picked from when required, ready for the next batch of orders.
ISLAND PICKING – SLS (Shuttle Loop System): The picking islands served by automated SLS shuttles represent the ideal picking solution according to the "Goods to Man" approach.
The process of sorting the required product to be picked precedes the step of delivering the item to the pick island; the load units from which the selected item is taken are sorted automatically to the fixed picking stations through a SLS shuttle system in motion along a loop circuit. Each picking island can be arranged for picking of one or more orders simultaneously and in the most ergonomic manner for efficient picking.
Cassioli offers two SLS solutions; firstly, a floor mounted monorail solution as seen above for transport of pallets and other large, bulky loads. Alternatively, it offers an overhead version for handling totes and trays where floor space is at a premium.
AUTOMATIC PICKING: The F.A.S.T. automatic warehouse adopts a particular gripping device and a proprietary operating methodology capable of simultaneously handling packages of different sizes, shapes and weights. Product can also be stored in multiple depth. It is also able to deposit a single item onto a shelf of the rack, where there are already other items present, thus building up the order.
In the pick cycle, however, F.A.S.T. can simultaneously extract all the packages present on the shelf, so reducing the number of movements to be made by the stacker crane and consequently increasing significantly the performance of the automatic warehouse. It is a picking solution paired only with specific Cassioli stacker cranes; its key advantage is that human presence is no longer required following installation of the system.
With the demand generated by innovation and growth of new consumers in emerging countries, global manufacturing industries will have new opportunities, and innovative automation systems will be at the centre of this growth.
More information, more knowledge, less material used to create more efficient products and services, where computing and technological knowledge of specialised companies with problem-solving products such as Cassioli, will become a decisive element in the acquisition of strategic market positions.