Modern warehouses and distribution centres are very different to what they were even five years ago. Many systems are becoming automated and operations more sophisticated and streamlined.
For Robert Seiler, Asia/Pacific Business Development Manager, CASI ANZ, much of the reason for this shift towards automation is the problem of staff shortages.
As he explains, "to be realistic, nobody really wants to pick cartons in a warehouse all day, so you've got to try and make it as efficient as possible, and you've got to try to make the workplace as good as possible to retain staff."
Introducing more automated systems of work will not eliminate this problem entirely, Robert notes, but for example, it is much easier to find ten employees to pick using RF or voice, as opposed to finding twice as many willing to pick very manually.
"So it's two things: you've got your productivity and accuracy gains using RF, but I think it's also, in the long term, to get staff that want to work in the warehouse, you've got to offer a nice working environment too," he concludes.
Cornerstone Automation Systems (CASI) manufactures a range of material handling, packaging and manufacturing automation equipment. As distinct from many of its competitors, the company is not a reseller. Rather, CASI designs, engineers and executes in-house manufacturing, software and controls engineering, with decades of experience in developing state of the art automation solutions.
In this three part series, we will discuss a number of automation solutions provided by CASI, designed specifically to increase productivity in warehouses and distribution centres, and as Robert notes, to provide a nicer working environment for employees.
While the full range of automation solutions available from CASI ANZ is exhaustive, here we will focus on five main areas relevant to most manufacturing and distribution centres:
- automatic product labelling
- order picking systems
- data collection systems
- conveyor sortation systems; and
- robotic automation solutions.
Automatic Product Labelling
CASI offers a range of print-and-apply solutions for automatic product labelling, all of which are based on the company's standard SolidLabel solution. The SolidLabel system is designed to ensure precise label placement and prevent mislabelling of cartons by managing carton accumulation prior to the labeller.
It provides a single point of control for packaging lines including labellers, case sealers, erectors and conveyor controls, and can even handle complex systems such as tamp blow, electric tamp high speed top labelling and bottom labelling.
CASI supplies automatic print-and-apply labelling systems for a variety of applications, including:
- UCC shipping labels
- compliance labelling
- pharmaceutical labelling
- UPC product identification
- adjacent side labelling w/product labelling
- UL/CSA rating labels
- corner wrap labelling; and
- pallet labelling.
A query is then performed using SolidComm to obtain the random information for the label, and the data is sent to the printer label applicator. Once the label is applied, a confirmation barcode scanner is used to confirm proper label placement.
SolidComm is another proprietary CASI technology that functions as a standard interface tool for Legacy Host interface. The SolidComm module uses a variety of communication methodologies including ASCII, FTP, XML, Message Tables, ODBC, ADO or Socket Connection.
In the second article in this series, we will discuss a number of automated solutions provided by CASI ANZ for order picking, barcoding and data collection.