The client is a wholesale distributor of physical media including DVD’s, Blu-Rays, and books. Their client base ranges from ecommerce customers up to international supermarket groups.
The customer’s brief was to improve order picking efficiencies and streamline the overall operation which handles both a range carton sizes and tote bins and deal with fluctuating throughputs. The planned project would also require a live storage/pick system.
Completed picked orders required additional processes which included a random QA area, for manual inspection, the ability to “hold” and change live orders. Finished items would need to be sealed before being delivered to the ground floor despatch area.
The system will also need designing in a way that would allow for future changes and expansion, this included the possibility of automated case sealers and tote strappers.
Due to the value of the products the accuracy is of up most importance, it required the conveyor operating software (WCS) to interface with the customers inhouse WMS.
CSL designed the solution using a range of motorised and powered roller conveyors, decline belts and spiral elevators.
The operation starts with empty cartons / totes manually being inducted into the system, where an operator produces a pick list and decides between a tote or carton depending on the end customer and onward shipping method. A unique barcode label (License Plate Number – LPN) is also applied to the carton/tote which will be used to control the sortation movement throughout the system.
An initial dual function scan point immediately after order induct was implemented to capture any mis-reads or system errors, as well as to divert product to the bulk pick area.
The main pick zone area, consisted of 10 live pick areas, developed as a loop and controlled by a barcode reader on each pick divert point, which is linked to the clients in house WMS system. The pick loop motorised rollers runs directly below the live pick shelves, if the box is required in that pick location the system diverts off using a double width belt transfer and brings forward into a siding ready for the picker to place the required product in. This presents the product in an ergonomic position in relation to the pick face.
The WCS allowed the customer to monitor and control the amount of orders within the pick loop at any given time, and items that did not complete an order pick sequence were re-circulated back into the pick loop system.
Order’s that have been through the pick loop and are complete move into a random selection QA area for manual checking.
Completed orders move into a pack area where cartons are taped and totes secured before transiting to a lower floor using an Ambaflex SpiralVeyor and into a manual palletising area depending on the final destination or onward shipping method.
The Operations Manager commented “ the new CSL conveyor system has very quickly become a valuable asset in speeding up our pick/pack operation as well as improving efficiencies. The CSL team understood our requirements and worked closely with our team to design and develop the system to best suit our site, operatives and products. The system and software have proved very reliable”