Kollmorgen Introduces Mobile Order Picking Solution for Automated Lift Truck Operation at ProMat 2011
 
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- March 30, 2011 -

Logistics News: Kollmorgen Introduces Mobile Order Picking Solution for Automated Lift Truck Operation at ProMat 2011

 
 

Kollmorgen’s Pick-n-Go® is a flexible controls platform that can be adapted to any electric order-picker truck brand or model enabling the picker and the truck to work together automatically.

 
 


Cliff Holste, Materials Handling Editor


The News: In the typical distribution center, order picking is the biggest cost driver due to labor dependency. With Pick-n-Go®, the picker simply follows the forklift step-by-step, effectively eliminating all non-productive activities such as driving the vehicle from point to point, stepping up and down from the vehicle, or fetching empty pallets.

  SCDigest Says:
  We believe that this type of flexible mobile discrete order picking controls technology will prove to be beneficial in increasing picker productivity, especially in high density picking environments and/or two shift operations.



Why it’s Worth Noting: Working with a conventional “dumb” order picker truck requires the picker to position the truck for every pick – requiring almost as much effort throughout the day as the actual order picking. With an “intelligent” Pick-n-Go® enable truck wherever the picker goes to pick an item, the truck automatically follows. The truck escorts the picker and is always optimally positioned to minimize the distance and effort needed to pick and place products on the waiting pallet. The picker expends less effort while picking more products.


T
he Story: Kollmorgen, a U.S. based company headquartered in Radford, VA, exhibited it’s Mobile Order Picking Solution called Pick-n-Go® that according to the company, streamlines any order fulfillment process for higher picking productivity while significantly reducing operating expenses. Because it integrates with existing Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and established processes, it can be easily adapted to satisfy specific application needs.

 

The automation begins when the WMS sends the customer order to the picker and truck simultaneously. The picker receives information about the order via a headset (Pick-by-Voice). The truck, in turn, is automatically placed in the right position with forks at the right height where the picker efficiently and ergonomically places the item(s) onto the pallet. A new order line is then sent from the WMS, and the truck automatically travels to the next position, followed by the picker. When the pallet nears capacity, the system automatically sends a new truck with an empty pallet to the picker. When the truck with the full pallet goes to the dispatch area, the picker never has to leave the picking area and continues to work on the next order without interruption.

Benny Forsman, Product Manager, says “Where other automated order picking systems are extremely costly and require a completely overhauled order handling and storage process and significantly expanded warehouse size, Pick-n-Go works in the context of the existing distribution center environment with existing hardware and infrastructure. All users need to do is automate trucks from their existing forklift supplier with the Pick-n-Go vehicle automation kit, and connect that with the warehouse management system and a Pick-by-Voice solution”.

 

Although retrofitting existing truck in the field with the Pick-n-Go kit can be costly (as much as $50K per truck) because manual systems like braking and steering have to be modified, integrating it into a new truck at the factory cost much less. According to Forsman (benny.forsman@kollmorgen.com), Kollmorgen has agreements with several leading truck manufactures who will equip the trucks with Pick-n-Go at their factory.

 

Additional benefits include reducing picking mistakes and potential damage to goods, pallets and racks, and lessen the risk of work-related injuries. Because running is optimized and automated, and driving speed is controlled, Forsman says that trucks equipped with Pick-n-Go use less energy and last longer, and eliminate the threat of potential collisions with pickers or other vehicles.

 

Whether being adapted to an existing truck operation or integrated into new equipment, we believe that this type of flexible mobile discrete order picking controls technology will prove to be beneficial in increasing picker productivity, especially in high density picking environments and/or two shift operations. It is also the kind of technology that greatly improves the DC environment for workers.

 

A video clip of Pick-n-Go® in operation is available at http://ndc8.com/pick-n-go/

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