Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD Jul-Aug 2016 Contents Order consolidation
Discretely picking orders requiring multiple
flat pack items, or both flat pack and hanging
garments can be very labour-intensive, requiring
the individual items to be picked in different
areas of the warehouse, transported to shipping
and consolidated prior to packing.
With the exception of walk-pick-to-trolley
-- during which batch-picked goods are
immediately sorted to their discrete order
location -- batch-picking multiple items to
fulfil a number of orders at a time improves
picking productivity, however, the batch-picked
items still need to be sorted to their relevant
order through the use of manual systems
like Dematic's RapidPut put wall, or by an
automated conveyor sorting system.
Put walls are a double-sided wall of shelving
with multiple individual compartments, each
representing a single customer order. The front
of the put wall is for 'putting' items to orders,
while the rear is for packing and shipping.
Each put wall can process single-line or
multi-line orders. They can also be mounted on
wheels so the order consolidation process can
be moved around the DC, or moved to different
locations as daily requirements change.
Put walls can be used in conjunction with
bar code scanning and RF terminals, pick to
light or 'cubby light' displays and voice-directed
picking and putting to further increase accuracy,
productivity and throughput, with put rates of
between 200-500 items per operator per hour.
Conveyor sorting systems
Linear or straight-line conveyor sorting systems
are typically the most cost-effective where the
number of sortation points required is small to
moderate, for example, 10-50 destinations.
For applications below 5,000 cartons per hour
and with a low number of destinations, there is
a range of devices available for performing tote/
case diversion including right-angle transfers,
belt and pop-up wheel diverters, which provide
reliable and accurate performance, and
bi-directional sorting capability.
In applications with higher throughput and/
or a moderate number of destinations, sliding
shoe sorters are more appropriate. Sliding shoe
sorters can perform bidirectional sorting and are
capable of achieving rates of up to 18,000 totes/
cases per hour.
Recirculating sorters comprise a continuous
loop of linked carriers that travel around a
circuit, and are becoming increasingly popular
in a range of applications, offering significant
benefits in terms of throughput, space
efficiency, functionality and flexibility.
Cross-belt sorters can be designed to handle
throughputs exceeding 20,000 items per
hour, and can accurately sort a wide range of
products from parcels down to small loose items
to hundreds of delivery points, making them
ideal for apparel distribution.
The carriers of a cross-belt sorter have
individually motorised belt conveyors that are
dynamically controlled to accurately offload a
wide variety of packaged and individual apparel
items like a T-shirt.
Other cross-belt sorter advantages include
their ability to handle turns, inclines and
declines, and they can utilise carriers multiple
times per circuit, further increasing system
throughput. Twin-deck carriers are also available
for very high throughput applications.
Flexible sortation unit a
perfect fit for apparel
The flexible sortation unit is a compact and
versatile recirculating loop conveyor that is ideal
for sorting a wide variety of apparel types to a
large number of orders within a compact area at
rates of up to 7,200 items per hour.
Stock required for orders is picked from bulk
and placed onto the system's trays one item at
a time as they travel past the system's picking
stations. The base of each tray is a gatefold
door, which opens when it passes over the
required sort location, gently dropping the item
into a tote or shipping carton located directly
under the cell, automating the high-speed
sorting of bulk items to discrete orders.
Cells can be utilised multiple times as they
travel around the recirculating loop, with six
different sizes of tray available to meet a wide
range of customer requirements.
of hanging garments
To date, batch picking and sorting hanging
garments has been a complicated task.
Slick rail sorting systems are the optimum
way for the high-speed distribution of hanging
garments. Their design can be configured for
installation in either multi- or single-level operations.
A key benefit of hanging garment sorting
systems is that they use underutilised roof space
in distribution centres, freeing up valuable floor
space for other purposes.
Hanging garments can be inducted for
automated sorting manually, or automatically
through the use of a mechanical device, which
synchronises a screw conveyor or quick-picker
with the hanging garment system hooks, and
automatically delivers the hangers to the hooks
as they pass through the system's induction
area. The induction process can also be
integrated with an automatic trolley-stripper.
Whether you are allocating single garments
or packs of hanging garments, hanging garment
sorters deliver the merchandise to the appropriate
despatch lane accurately and ready to be shipped.
Below: Put walls, such as Dematic's
RapidPut solution, increase productivity
and accuracy for order consolidation.
Left: Trolley picking allows as many
as 20 orders to be picked in one pass
of the pick-face. The addition of RF or
voice ensures high levels of accuracy.
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS --- JULY / AUGUST 2016
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