Dematic has introduced a new integrated robotic layer picking system designed to improve pallet build efficiency and quality while reducing the risk of repetitive manual handling.
Driven by an increase in smaller, more frequent orders and market demand for a wider range of product variants, many food and beverage producers are focussing on full case and layer picking, especially when making route deliveries. Consequently, warehouse operations are becoming increasingly labour-intensive and expensive.
Logistics systems specialist Dematic has developed a new integrated robotic layer picking solution that combines an advanced robotic layer picker with patented software to enable the system to operate at efficiency rates of up to 150% and, in some cases, eliminate as much as 80% of manual handling.
The new integrated robotic layer picking system achieves very high throughput rates thanks to Dematic’s patented FreePick Maximiser software, which cross-matches orders and pairs those with compatible order profiles to enable distribution of up to 50% of goods without handling.
The FreePick Maximiser patented software developed by Dematic makes it possible for the robotic layer picking system to process stock for orders without physically touching it, optimising productivity and system throughput.
Dematic’s PickDirector warehouse control system initiates picking and orders the stock required for layer picking in the sequence required to fulfil the next wave of orders. Pallets of stock are automatically conveyed to the layer picking robot where they go directly to one of several pick and put locations, enabling several orders to be picked concurrently.
While the software requests pallets to arrive at the layer picking robot in a particular sequence to suit order assembly, pallets occasionally turn up out of sequence, requiring them to be temporarily stored online in buffer storage locations until required. An empty pallet station accommodates the production of multiple layer sandwich pallets.
As new pallets of stock are fed into the system, the layer picker selects the required layers and transfers the stock to customer order pallets. Any stock remaining on a pallet either forms the basis for another order via the system’s FreePick Maximiser software, or is returned to reserve storage.
The 4-axis layer picking robot is equipped with a Qubiqa patented vacuum head for better product handling reliability, minimising the potential for product damage.
Completed orders are conveyed to despatch through check weighing, stretch wrapping and labelling, resulting in even greater savings thanks to reduced handling across the entire process.
Key benefits of Dematic’s integrated robotic layer picking system:
- Reduces the need to manually pick and handle high volume products
- Significantly reduces forklift operations and OH&S risks associated with manual layer picking
- Integrated IT systems enable fast, accurate and reliable operations
- FreePick Maximiser software enables up to 50% of case pick orders to be shipped without picking
- Superior pallet build quality for improved transport utilisation, and less product damage and returns
- Offers total pallet building flexibility
- Builds pallets intelligently placing heavier goods at the bottom, lighter goods on the top
- Builds multiple layers of multiple products separated by pallets
- Reduces distribution operating costs
- Rapid payback on investment