Kitting flow rack cart with light-guided picking

Kitting flow rack cart with light-guided picking

August 26, 2019

Creform Corporation
Assembly Material Handling

Greer, South Carolina – Creform Corp. engineers have designed a new pick-to-light flow rack for a manufacturer’s assembly operation of powertrain components. The rack for the mixed-model assembly operation consists of a bank of five gravity flow racks each equipped with skate wheel conveyor, four supply levels and a return.

Each rack’s dimensions are 39" deep x 42" wide x 60" high. And each contains 16 picking locations per rack. The individual racks are designed to hold up to 800 lb and are built using Creform 28mm pipe and joint.

To add to the versatility, the racks are built on wheels but once in position, they are connected to one another to create an integrated storage cell with parts to be pulled for kits. These flow racks are outfitted with a self-contained pick-to-light system to assist the associate with choosing the correct parts to make accurate manufacturing kits in the correct quantity.

The pick-to-light system enhances efficiency and reduces errors while greatly reducing the time required to train new associates.

The Creform pick-to-light racks are a stand-alone system powered by a basic PC and a controller mounted at the side of rack system. This control station also features a monitor and keyboard for use by the system administrator to set up, maintain and, if needed, modify the system and picking recipes.

Picking recipes for each assembly are easily created and maintained using simple and easy to understand and manipulate Microsoft Office Excel templates. Picking recipes are initiated with a barcode scan. In this application the various models and their corresponding barcodes are posted on the far left of the racks. Two message bars are positioned above the barcode station. The first one features system messages while the second features customizable messages that come from the recipe. Barcodes can also be used on production paperwork such as a manufacturing traveler or work order. For this user’s application approximately ten different recipes were used.

Each of the 80 part-locations features a light for guided picking. Each light features a 4-digit display for quantity information as well as a pushbutton and infrared sensor for pick acknowledgement. With each light’s sensor, the simple act of reaching into that position’s box confirms the pick. There are seven different light colors to choose from and each can be unique to the recipe or even the pick step for color coding purposes.

The associate that is doing the picking initiates the recipe using the barcode then follows the lights and pulls the indicated quantity. Once the last pick is made, a “GREEN” confirmation button to the far right of the rack illuminates indicating the recipe is complete and the system is ready for picker to start the next recipe.