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Robotic Order Picking


Warehouse Management System PROLAG®World steers robotic order picking and sorting at Getzner Textil AG in Austria

Since autumn 2012, Getzner Textil AG have been working with CIM’s Warehouse Management System (WMS) PROLAG®World in their raw materials warehouse. Getzner are based in Austria and produce fashion fabrics for shirts and blouses as well as high-quality Africa damasks. Among their clients are internationally renowned designers and manufacturers such as Armani, Boss and Lacoste.

PROLAG®World was installed in combination with an automated warehouse with robotic sorting and order picking. The WMS manages the various fabrics and yarns in the automated warehouse, and controls both the robot and the storage and retrieval machine (SRM) at different speeds.

To minimise the picking effort, the fabric rolls are sorted by specific criteria

PROLAG®World allocates tasks to the robot based on the number of picking or sorting orders. Whenever the robot is not picking, it is presorting – this reduces picking times: The rolls are not yet sorted when they arrive at the robot from the previous production step since the fabrics are produced at different times and at different machines. The unsorted pallets are placed in storage in high-bay shelving. These pallets are then sorted fully automatically based on sorting criteria such as article, blend, and so on. The robot removes the textile rolls from a bin, lays them on a sorting table and then places the rolls on the target pallet. Once they have been sorted by colour and pattern, the pallets are put back into the high-bay shelving.

If multiple sorting pallets are combined for one order, the WMS checks whether or not picking is necessary. Picking is justified if not all of the goods on a pallet are required (segmentation) or if there are pallets which contain only a few textile rolls (consolidation). The picked pallets are retrieved from the high-bay shelving immediately before the employees in production carry out their first processing step.

The warehouse is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The employees process all the picking and sorting order that accumulate in the course of the day. The robot’s work starts as soon as an unsorted pallet arrives at the high-bay storage area. This goes on round the clock. On average, one unsorted pallet from production is placed in storage every hour.

Faster picking than ever before (JIT)

The robot automates the goods receipt, sorting and picking processes. Warehousing at Getzner is now considerably better organised thanks to the automatic sorting. CIM’s Warehouse Management software helps to avoid errors in stock management, minimises search times and guarantees real-time bookings. A significant benefit of the robotic picking system is the fact that the picked goods are always sorted and available for the next stage no later than an hour after leaving the previous stage.

On the client side, PROLAG®World runs in the Internet Explorer on a Windows Server. SQL Server 2008 functions as the database. PROLAG®World’s standard SAP interface regulates the exchange of data between the host system and the WMS (master data, sorting criteria, production orders, and so on).

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