CPG Vision System and ASRS Upgrade

June 13, 2019

Automated storage and retrieval system

Overview
A customer recently asked Grantek to assist with upgrading the software and cameras utilized by their Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS). Grantek worked with the customer to update the vision systems throughout the facility.

Challenges
This project took approximately three months. The warehouse stores unrefrigerated finished consumer goods, with no expiration date, so the project data flow requirements were relatively straightforward. Projects involving ASRS systems typically require three to six months to complete, including the planning and design, which takes place at Grantek’s facilities. Designing and simulating system operation offsite, before physical installation and reprogramming begins, minimizes disruption to the warehouse operations.

The old software was replaced by Grantek’s customized open-source solution, and integrated with the facility’s SAP system.

Solutions
Grantek performed an analysis on the customer’s existing system and determined that the data tracking was being performed based on pallet location as it transversed the conveyor, instead of tracking based on pallet contents and products. A location-based system is more error-prone than a system that tracks each pallet as it moves through the warehouse and provides information about pallet contents in addition to pallet location. The facility was using older cameras nearing end of life, which Grantek replaced with the latest cameras available. The new vision system enables the majority of product details to be read directly from the pallet/carton labeling for use in recordkeeping. This method is more accurate and allows for a higher success rate. The data was then tied into a pallet label number which allows for the data to be tracked in a database. The system can then use scanners to scan pallets and ensure data accuracy.

The facility’s pallet label printer/applicator was also upgraded by replacement with a standard off-the-shelf device. Use of off-the-shelf components rather than a proprietary system will simplify maintainability, troubleshooting and repair for the customer going forward.

When completed, this project served as a good example of Grantek’s skills in upgrading and redesigning obsolete ASRS control systems and opened the door to additional projects with other customers. It allowed Grantek to show what we can do and how we understand and implement custom requirements to meet warehouse software needs and data flows for our customers.

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