Purpose Warehouse order picking has often been described as the most labor-intensive operation in manual warehouses, as well as the most expensive and time consuming. These factors have inevitably become even more crucial due to manufacturing and warehousing recent trends, requiring high flexibility and efficiency in processing orders that are always smaller and needed in very few time. For this reason, in the recent years more efficient and performing systems have been proposed and developed, employing various technological solutions that can support pickers during their work. The aim of this study is to present a new pick-to-light design solution capable of driving a number of different operators in their picking activities, preventing the possibility of human errors by a new real-time control and alert system. The new solution has been analyzed from a technical and economical point of view, developing also a cost and benefit analysis in comparison with other existing solutions. Design/methodology/approach The most widespread techniques adopted to facilitate picking operations generally rely on led displays or digital screens, voice-activated devices, RFID technology, wireless appliances or lighting systems. As far as the latter are concerned, a pick-to-light system supports the picker during his activities by using different kind of lighting devices that can send evident light signals. In particular, the pick-to-light system here described drives an operator through the various storage locations he has to visit with a set of different coloured lights. These lights can be turned on or off according to the picker’s picking list. Furthermore, they are linked to a control system that it is able to recognize whether the operator is accessing the right storage location or not and to alert him with a set of visual (or also acoustic) signals, preventing him from completing the wrong picking action. A prototype of the new pick-to-light system is under development and implementation too, in order to directly understand its strengths and weaknesses. Originality/value The benefits that such support device can typically provide can be summed up in three main points: - Increased accuracy: picking errors are strongly reduced, since pickers can quickly understand whether they are collecting the right item or not - Increased productivity: picking is made easier and more focused on other activities, and the time needed to look for the right picking location or to remedy errors is reduced - Reduced training: finding the various locations is more intuitive and immediate and pickers don’t have to learn to use complex devices The new presented pick-to-light configuration is designed to be easy-to-use, inexpensive, modular and with a low energy impact. Furthermore, the different coloured lights allow multiple operators to work simultaneously in the same area, as every picker can follow the lights of a specific colour. Finally, comparing this solution with other systems already available on the market, its economic sustainability emerges, making it applicable in every kind of industrial environment.

New pick-to-light system configuration: a feasibility study

ANDRIOLO, ALESSANDRO;BATTINI, DARIA;CALZAVARA, MARTINA;GAMBERI, MAURO;PERETTI, UMBERTO;PERSONA, ALESSANDRO;PILATI, FRANCESCO;SGARBOSSA, FABIO
2013

Abstract

Purpose Warehouse order picking has often been described as the most labor-intensive operation in manual warehouses, as well as the most expensive and time consuming. These factors have inevitably become even more crucial due to manufacturing and warehousing recent trends, requiring high flexibility and efficiency in processing orders that are always smaller and needed in very few time. For this reason, in the recent years more efficient and performing systems have been proposed and developed, employing various technological solutions that can support pickers during their work. The aim of this study is to present a new pick-to-light design solution capable of driving a number of different operators in their picking activities, preventing the possibility of human errors by a new real-time control and alert system. The new solution has been analyzed from a technical and economical point of view, developing also a cost and benefit analysis in comparison with other existing solutions. Design/methodology/approach The most widespread techniques adopted to facilitate picking operations generally rely on led displays or digital screens, voice-activated devices, RFID technology, wireless appliances or lighting systems. As far as the latter are concerned, a pick-to-light system supports the picker during his activities by using different kind of lighting devices that can send evident light signals. In particular, the pick-to-light system here described drives an operator through the various storage locations he has to visit with a set of different coloured lights. These lights can be turned on or off according to the picker’s picking list. Furthermore, they are linked to a control system that it is able to recognize whether the operator is accessing the right storage location or not and to alert him with a set of visual (or also acoustic) signals, preventing him from completing the wrong picking action. A prototype of the new pick-to-light system is under development and implementation too, in order to directly understand its strengths and weaknesses. Originality/value The benefits that such support device can typically provide can be summed up in three main points: - Increased accuracy: picking errors are strongly reduced, since pickers can quickly understand whether they are collecting the right item or not - Increased productivity: picking is made easier and more focused on other activities, and the time needed to look for the right picking location or to remedy errors is reduced - Reduced training: finding the various locations is more intuitive and immediate and pickers don’t have to learn to use complex devices The new presented pick-to-light configuration is designed to be easy-to-use, inexpensive, modular and with a low energy impact. Furthermore, the different coloured lights allow multiple operators to work simultaneously in the same area, as every picker can follow the lights of a specific colour. Finally, comparing this solution with other systems already available on the market, its economic sustainability emerges, making it applicable in every kind of industrial environment.
Proceedings of Summer School 2013
9788890864902
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/2838012
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