Intelligent picking

Preparing the items for assembly or delivery is a continuous and demanding activity within any large manufacturing and distribution site. This involves the presence of a significant number of employees to ensure a continuous delivery flow. Their task is to manually access the goods that are stored in fixed locations and bring them to the intended department in the right version, code and quantity. In some of the companies, the process is still envolving an assiduous and timed search made by the operator inside the warehouse, while being equipped with only a clipboard and a pen. Such stressful and repetitive tasks can easily generate inevitable human errors and these may turn into losses for the companies.

  • Intelligent picking

    Product information

    The picking operations can be optimised by intelligent picking systems that decrease the error rate of the picking team and speed up the entire picking process and inventory. The concept is based on a pick-by-vision technology inside which an augmented reality software is combined with a portable equipment (smart glasses). The operator connects to the system with the user data and is guided in the warehouse by an intuitive graphical interface, displayed on the respective wearable devices. The software is securely extracting information out of the warehouse management system and showing them to the operator in a an optimised, step-by-step manner.

    The special glasses, such as Google or Vuzix Glasses, allow the user to see in front of his eye a projection with the relevant details of the products that must be extracted, as well as their location information and his own picking route. The see-through holographic lenses enables him to operate in a safe way during the entire process, as his environment remains fully visible.

    After the pick is properly completed, the confirmation of the operation is done by scanning a QR code with the camera of the smart glasses. Optional components and modules, such as voice confirmation, image recognition, motion command, weight control, sensor integration, RFID transponds or different barcode scanners can also be implemented to allow the pick confirmation.

    During the picking procedures, the information is saved in real time in the warehouse management system and the packing lists are automatically updated in the background. The task completion or different incurring issues are reported instantly and the following pick task appears on the display. The system allows the responsible people to assign new tasks, manage the staff as well as generate and view reports and analyzes. Depending on the application requirements, it can manage – with maximum precision – one, two or three orders at a time.

    Apart sorting, picking and outputing, the industrial wearable computing and augmented reality solutions are used also for other activities that involve manual selection of products. These can include incoming goods, storage and inventory control, sequencing, replenishing and depositing as well as different processes in logistics and warehousing.

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Benefits

Manual logistics processes still prevail in many companies and this is placing the human factor in an essential role when performing the picking activities. Automating the selection and retrieval of the goods through vision picking technology is not only increasing staff productivity but also improving the industrial workflow in logistics and intralogistics across different industries. Based on the most advanced equipment and solutions in the field, digitalization with vision picking and augmented reality bring numerous benefits to contractors and their employees.

  • Operation time reduction

Usual picking operations require a whole set of repetitive movements which are time consuming and consequently less cost-effective. The operators must walk (while pushing a cart) or drive an industrial vehicle up to the targeted rack, search for the intended product, retreive it and load it on the logistic equipment, then check the pick. These fragmented handling steps must be taken for every single item and, in such conditions, even small changes can turn into big improvements.

The graphical visualisation of the goods details allows the staff to consume the information within fractions of seconds. The relevant data is placed in view and the operators can access the products and confirm the pick in a very fast and easy way. The technology is increasing the operating speed and implicitly productivity at all working levels. Successfully implemented within leading distribution companies, order picking by vision proved its effectiveness by increasing order preparing speed with up to 35% compared to the previous scenario when hand scanners were used in combination with paper lists.

  • Error rate decrease

Each pick is unique and requires optimum planning of the necessary steps to fullfill the right task. In combination with smart glasses, the innovative pick-by-vision order picking solution enables the digital presentation of information, instructions as well as documentation. This is securely connecting devices, operators and processes along the supply chain and thus enhancing the work efficiency at all levels. Due to the automated instructions, gradual guidance and staged confirmation of the workflow, the error rate is going down to 0.

  • Ergonomy

Visual augmented reality tools improve the work efficiency and simplify the internal processes for those employees that work outside the office and away from desks. The sorting and picking procedures can take place without the use of hand-held scanning equipment or printed paper pick-lists, only by displaying the information on the wearable devices. In this way, the operators have both hands free to move easily and to perform their actual tasks much faster.

Additionally, by overlapping the real world with the digital one (augmented reality) and visualizing concrete instructions and information, the walking distances are minimised. Consequently, the employees are more satisfied with their work and more productive in performing their daily tasks. The smart glasses are provided with an ergonomic design and a low weight which makes them very comfortable to wear by the operators. In case of locations that are hard-to-reach, barcode and RFID scanners can be added in the form of ring or wristband to offer an increased comfort.

  • Flexibility 

Pick-by-vision with smart glasses eliminates the necessity of consulting printed-on paper lists and thus the operators have both hands free and an increased mobility to handle the items faster and easier. This offers them a great flexibility, especially in those warehouses or manufacturing sites where changes are made constantly, as on-shelf-electronics or rack-mounted equipment are omitted from the system.

Thanks to the simple operation, picking by visualization does not require an extensive training and is therefore suitable for a wide variety of working environments. The new employees are trained on the job and quickly become productive. They can fullfill the incoming task right away by simply being assigned a new workflow which they have to follow step by step.

  • Customisation

Intelligent manual picking technology is equally suitable for small parts and packages, as the components can be selected from the modular concept software to create a tailor-made solution. Additionally, the specific configuration of the user interface can be designed with individual display for each picker, using for example different languages or qualification levels. The system is also easy adaptable to the changes that are made inside the warehouse, due to the configurable workflow. It can also include smart phones, smart watches, tablets or combinations of these output devices. Apart from the augmented reality, it can also integrate any required element such as graphics and video.

Smart order picking system is designed to be independent from specific hardware producers and distributors. Moreover, apart from a wireless connection, the picking method does not require additional technologies.

  • Real time operation  

The augmented vision for order picking is based on data analytics and artificial intelligence to offer to the enterprise customers relevant industry-specific solutions. The fast and steady picking performance during the entire work shift is correlated with a rapid input and output processing. The information is updated in real time inside the internal management system and it is conveyed to all levels of the logistics chain. The communication with other people from the team or other departments is also permanently open and can be done in all directions.

Other picking techonologies

We offer you an extensive range of modular picking solutions that are efficient and user adaptable for each industry field. Pick-to-light technology, for example, can also be implemented in warehouses and distribution hubs. The method uses lights and LEDs systems, mounted on the racks or shelves, to indicate the pick locations, guide the operators during their tasks and help them to identify the picking items for order fulfillment. The method is more efficient than RF picking or paper printed pick lists.

The system also alerts other warehouse employees when stocks of a certain product are low in order to replenish them. Pick to light systems are highly customizable and can be used by wholesale and retail companies that hold various types of products, from small items to large and bulky products. Different other logistic equipment, such as carts and trolleys, can further be manufactured to facilitate order picking.