ASRS and Guided Vehicle Systems: ASRS refers to a number of technologies, including horizontal and vertical carousels, vertical lift modules and crane-in-aisle storage and retrieval systems. WSi offers both mini- and unvit-load handling applications. AGVS, automated guided vehicles, provide unmanned, fully automated point-to-point product transport using wire, laser, or virtual path guidance technologies. WSi is intimately familiar with floor flatness requirements for AGVS application and can specially configure AGVS to accommodate a variety of loads – from carpet or paper rolls to engine blocks or steel ingots.
Automated Picking: One of a variety of technologies and storage media types utilized in pick locations to allow the most efficient storage and processing of a mix of items, this pick area is an automatic "A Frame" type picking machine for high velocity, low cube items. Fixed bar code scanners located at the entrance to pick area scan the shipping label and communicate the identity of each carton to the WCS. The WCS determines if the carton requires product from that area and than issues instructions to the conveyor system’s PLC controller to divert or by-pass the area accordingly. Simultaneously, the WSC issues order information to the various pick
area control subsystems to initiate order processing.
Carton Erection and Label Print & Apply: The WMS and WCS direct carton erectors to automatically erect various size cartons and deliver them to automatic label printer/applicator stations in the proper quantity. Bar code labels in any appropriate format are printed and applied "on-the-fly" to each carton. The bar code label identifies each carton as a unique individual and serves as the carton "license plate" for use by the WCS in tracking, routing and processing the carton through the various downstream pick locations and audit stations. Ink jet printers, which print a human readable carton ID number on each carton, can be located at the printer/applicator stations. These ID numbers identify the carton to operators in the downstream pick modules. Bar code scanners can be located immediately downstream from the labeling stations to detect cartons with missing or unreadable bar code labels. Cartons without a readable label are diverted onto a reject line for corrective action.
Carton Routing and Light-directed Picking: Empty, labeled shipping cartons move on photo-eye accumulation conveyors to forward pick areas. Paperless picking systems eliminate the need for paper pick lists. The pay-off is a 30 to 40 percent increase in picker productivity and increased pick accuracy. With a link to a host computer, these systems can provide real-time productivity and throughput data essential to effective management. Shown are four single sided broken case piece pick lines, each containing identical inventory to allow staffing flexibility and featuring carton flow racks outfitted with pick-to-light displays for high velocity, larger cube items and one double sided broken case piece pick module, also using carton flow racks with pick-to-light displays for medium to low velocity, larger cube items. Bar code scanners communicate via the WCS to the pick-to-light system controller to direct pick activity in these areas, as well.
Conveyor and Sortation Systems: In our typical system, conveyor lines from the pick areas feed a "saw tooth" merge which singulates cartons onto a single high-speed accumulation conveyor. Cartons are conveyed to the sorter induct where they are scanned and metered using a series of variable speed servo driven belt conveyors onto the high-speed positive shoe sorter for delivery to one of (16) sort lines. A conveyor line at the end of the sorter feeds into the saw tooth merge to allow cartons to re-circulate in the event of a sort line full lane condition. Two of the sort lines feed extendable, cantilevered belt conveyors for quick and easy delivery to trailers requiring floor loading and one of the sort lines is set as a reject line for out of weight cartons from the full case pick modules, bad scans, etc. Last but not least, one of the sort lines feeds a security device deactivation machine, which can automatically deactivate either the RF or magnetic style security tags imbedded in the packaging of high value product – a great time saver and another value added service for your customers.
Custom Equipment: A solutions-driven approach to material flow systems design and implementation frequently requires atypical answers. In meeting these unique systems requirements, WSi is creative and thorough in employing custom fabricators and leading manufacturers, whether the solution requires a complete piece of equipment, equipment modifications or custom controls.
Data Acquisition:Automatic data acquisition devices are essential for most modern material handling tasks. They allow instantaneous, accurate data collection for all planning and control functions. A wide variety of fixed or hand-held scanners, RF terminals and tag readers are available.
Dynamic Storage and Retrieval Carousels & Vertical Lift Module:Horizontal carousels, consisting of motorized bins with adjustable height shelves, are designed to gently and smoothly bring a specified product to a worker on electronic command. The system reduces wasted travel time and aisle space, eliminates costly hunting and sharply cuts overhead costs. Vertical carousels and Vertical Lift Module are also available and allow maximum use of building cube and secure storage of small items. Shown is a carousel "pod" consisting of two horizontal carousels with pick-to-light and conveyor mounted batch put-to-light displays for lower
velocity, low cube items.
Pallet and Case Flow Pick Modules: Our typical system includes two, three-story full case pick modules featuring a combination of carton flow and pallet flow racks for high velocity full case pick only items. Batch printed ASN shipping labels with human readable product identification and location information serve as pick tickets. Bulk pallet storage areas for orders requiring full pallets are also provided.
Palletizers and Trailer Loading: WSi offers automatic gantry-type, robotic palletizers, which may be the solution for certain pallet building applications. We can also supply turntable and tower-type stretch wrap machines (manual, semi- or fully automatic) for product protection in
transport. For improved trailer loading efficiency, WSi may add extendable, cantilever belt conveyor or flexible powered roller conveyors to the system. These also provide improved ergonomics for dockworkers.
Static Shelving, Pallet Racking, Mezzanines:Full pallets and low volume items are stored in static shelving or pallet racks. WSi integrates roll formed or structural steel storage systems from leading manufacturers to meet your static storage requirements. When high building cube utilization is a concern, stand-alone or integrated mezzanines and catwalks are seamlessly integrated into your project for safe, space-efficient product storage or work locations. Structural elements of the system always comply with local building code and seismic requirements.
Warehouse Management & Control Systems:The key to most material flow systems integration projects lies in a seamlessly integrated command and control system that plans, coordinates, and directs the complete operation. WSi can offer a WMS system or interface with existing WMS systems. Perhaps the greatest strength of WSi lies in our Warehouse Control System (WCS) packages and our ability to seamlessly integrate hardware controls with WMS software. The WCS performs all necessary file translations to allow communication with each of the equipment subsystems in the manufacturer’s standard format and manages transaction reporting to the WMS. WSi has interface experience with a variety of PC and AS400 based WMS systems, computer hardware and databases, as well as strength in PLC and PC based controls.
Weigh-in-Motion, Auditing and Carton Sealing:In our typical system, every carton handled by the system must pass through one of the weigh-in-motion auditing stations. The WCS compares each carton’s actual weight with the theoretical weight provided by the order processing system data file. If the actual carton weight falls above or below the theoretical by a predetermined amount, the carton is diverted for a physical audit. An operator scans the label on a rejected carton to call up order information from the WCS on a data terminal, then scans the UCC product label on every item in the carton using a flush mounted "grocery market" type scanner. Any over or under picks are identified on the terminal and can be corrected. The carton is automatically re-inducted onto the conveyor system on the upstream side of the in-motion scale for reweighing. The system also allows supervisory selection of a percentage of cartons to be rejected for random audits. Cartons are then conveyed to a final processing station where dunnage can be manually or automatically added before they are automatically sealed. Completed cartons are released to continue their trip to the shipping docks.