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Robotic Layer Picking System

POSTED 12/14/2023

THE CHALLENGE

Traditionally separating out large pallets of product is a labor-intensive task. With ongoing labor shortages and staffing issues, robotic automation is the ideal solution to that problem. A firm came to MWES seeking to automate its warehouse fulfillment process of the batch of raw shipping orders. The system had to separate out pallets of cases by layer and transfer those layers to a shipping pallet based on the order. Lastly, this system had to integrate into the firm’s existing warehouse operation and software.

THE SOLUTION

The approach MWES had for the system was to receive a batch of raw shipping orders and then with a vision camera system separate the layer quantity order lines from the non-layer quantities from the source pallet. The system then takes the layer quantity orders from the source pallet and builds order pallets that would be ready for shipping. It does this by using a custom software application to find the optimized build sequence and maximized pallet build quantities. The software also provides the user with analytics and operations insight to allow for optimized labor utilization.

Given a set of orders from the customer’s Work Management System (WMS) and verification of the quantities on hand, the software determines the optimal build sequence to fulfill the orders. The automated layer-picking system then directs the operators on the ideal feed sequence of the build and order pallets while minimizing the labor needed to build the order. Once the order pallet is complete the pallet will transfer over to a shrink-wrapping station where it is then palletized and labeled. The palletized order is then removed from the system and placed in a staging area in preparation for final shipping. Incomplete orders are staged in the buffer until the next line item is ready to be picked from the source pallet.

IMPACT TO THE CUSTOMER

The customer maximized throughput while minimizing their dependency on unreliable manual labor. With a layer pick cycle time of 30 seconds, the solution MWES provided this customer is unmatched in throughput.

Midwest Engineered Systems has a wide range of experience in building material handling systems. If you’re looking to improve your material handling throughput, we have the knowledge and experience to make the project a success.

Contact us to learn how Midwest Engineered Systems can automate even your most complex and challenging operations today.