As a result of the system pickers no longer need to steer their pallets or roll carriers to the next location, but can proceed directly with the next order.
The AGVs feature a laser navigation steering system, which charts the picker’s required route. At the first stop the truck reads out what the picker should load on the empty pallet. The picker then tells the truck what he/she has loaded and the truck continues onto the next shelf with goods.
Once the pallet is finally loaded, the truck automatically goes off to the loading bay while the picker moves onto the next order and continues to the relevant shelf where a new empty truck is waiting.
Of the 70-80 per cent productivity improvement gained by combining the technologies; 40 per cent has been attributed to the voice-controlled picking and 30 per cent to the voice-controlled trucks. Previously, average picking times per day were approximately four hours, but now operators can pick for over seven hours.
SSI Schaefer unveils i-Pick
SSI Schaefer has developed an entry-level, semi-automatic pick-by-light system called i-Pick, designed to boost picking accuracy. The company claims the system can increase warehouse output levels by 300 per cent compared to standard picking systems.
i-Pick features a touch-screen PC graphical user interface, which helps with configuration and set-up. SSI Schaefer reckons it’s the only product on the market that a customer can install without external support or specialist IT knowledge. It consists of a panel PC and pre-installed i-Pick software.
The system is suitable for warehouses with up to 800 products and can achieve a pick performance of 600 lines. It can be integrated into any existing warehouse management system and can be used to manage an entire warehouse, parts of it or as an upgrade to an existing pick-by-light system.