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Optimising Industrial Supply Chains: Identification and Recognition Systems

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article image Cognex machine vision systems can eliminate defective products with 100% accuracy, dramatically reducing waste
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In this series, Ferret.com.au looks at products and services designed to assist manufacturers and distributors to enhance productivity and optimise management of the supply chain. Part two of the series, which discusses barcodes and data capture, can be found by clicking here.

Customised ERP solutions provider ComActivity notes that, put simply, supply chain optimisation means "using processes and tools to ensure that your supply chain is working to optimal capacity."

A large scale optimisation project will typically involve sophisticated software systems that utilise mathematical modelling techniques to identify areas in the supply chain that require adjustment. To this end, ComActivity offers a range of solutions designed to ensure a company's supply chain is agile and responsive to a changing market.

While this approach is perhaps an inevitable requirement of any serious optimisation project, there are many ways in which manufacturers and distributors can streamline their industrial operations, either in preparation for such a project, or to compliment previous optimisation undertakings.

For the sake of clarity, this series will focus on four major areas where streamlining and innovation can assist in improving productivity. These are:
Identification and recognition can play an important role in several areas of the supply chain, from vision systems designed to detect irregularities in production, through to speech recognition systems designed to speed up order picking for distribution.

100% Australian owned automation solutions supplier Automation Systems and Controls supplies Cognex industrial grade machine vision systems for the former application. These systems employ a library of advanced vision tools to reduce manual inspection times and increase productivity.

The company states that by using these systems, defective products can be eliminated with 100% accuracy, assisting in dramatically reducing waste by detecting process errors early, before thousands of items have to be scrapped.

For optimising packing and distribution activities, Cornerstone Automation Systems (CASI) supplies a full line of technologies designed to automate order fulfilment requirements. The company offers picking and fulfilment systems that can be matched to a range of picking methodologies, including:
  • pick to light
  • voice picking
  • RF/terminal picking
  • pick to belt
  • zone picking; and
  • batch and trolley order picking.
Logistics solutions provider Dematic also offers systems designed to make order picking more productive, in particular Talkman T5 wearable computers, which are designed to service fast medium and medium slow split case and full case products.

The company states that using these computers has shown standards based picking rates to increase by around 15%, with error rates slashed to one tenth of a percent or less.

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