barcode readers from Cognex replace laser scanners in EDEKA distribution
EDEKA is investing strongly in new distribution centers. The facility in
Berbersdorf opened in 2015 and has worked very successfully thanks in part to
the high level of automation. To ensure smooth operations, EDEKA decided to
replace their laser scanners with image-based barcode readers from Cognex.
In April 2015, after 2 years of construction, EDEKA’s most modern
distribution center located in Berbersdorf opened its doors. Around 125 million
Euros were invested in the new 50,000 square meter building, situated on
premises of more than 200,000 square meters. Almost 380,000 pallets,
containers, thermotainers and receptacles are handled there per day, utilizing
60% of total capacity.
new distribution center combines the 2 Hof and Borna warehouse locations and
was designed for high efficiency. The racks are 20 meters high with over 1
million cubic meters of enclosed space available. It is also capable of
handling up to 400 trucks at the incoming and outgoing goods portals each day.
sooner does a truck arrive at the ramp than the portal opens and unloading
begins. Classic industrial trucks are used in the receiving area for dry goods.
The pallets are transported by forklift out of the truck to the delivery
points, also known as “pick passes”. There are a total of 6 pick passes in the
dry goods area alone. Around 60 truckloads each averaging 30 pallets need to be
processed here every day. Unloading a truck takes an hour on average, which
means there are about 2 minutes available to move each pallet from the truck
into the warehouse.
and reliable capture of article data
Given the volume of goods received and shipped each day, it is
absolutely vital to read and verify the manufacturer labels automatically to
ensure the logistics operation run smoothly. Cognex DataMan image-based barcode
readers read 1-D and 2-D codes extremely quickly and are able to validate the
read result immediately. For this reason, more and more distribution centers
are moving away from laser-based devices with complex line scan technology to
image-based systems. Cognex DataMan barcode readers facilitate system
integration because, thanks to the easy-to-use system interface and simple Java
scripting, they can be integrated into the Witron control technology and
warehouse management system seamlessly, providing direct connection to the
material flow computer.
entry of the pallet weight and dimensions, it is vital to read and validate the
labels containing GS1 codes. GS1 is an organization that issues article
numbers, to which the EAN International and Uniform Code Council (EAN-UCC) also
belongs. Every pick pass in the dry goods warehouse is equipped with 4 DataMan
363 fixed-mount barcode readers – 2 on each side of each pick pass, totaling 64
readers running on a two-shift system every day. The 2 readers per side jointly
cover a very large field of view, allowing them to locate and read the codes no
matter the position or orientation of the pallet. Once the photo eyes have
detected the pallet and activated the Cognex barcode readers, the readers
identify the labels and acquire the data, even if the conditions are
unfavorable. As soon as a label has been
read, the DataMan software verifies that the data contained within the code
complies with GS1 data formatting rules. If a label is either unreadable or the
data does not comply with the GS1 rules, the pallet is rejected and an image of
the label is exported via TCP/IP to an FTP network location. For EDEKA, this
data has become critical for supplier education on barcode quality and data
conformity. It is improving process quality and performance, already upstream
in EDEKA’s supply chain with a true approach for Logistics 4.0.
code readers replace laser scanners
It is possible for labels to become damaged during transport or
unloading from the truck. Using patented software with Hotbars image analysis
technology, Cognex readers decode even the most compromised 1-D barcodes
greater than 0.8 pixels per module and achieve a read rate of up to 99.99%.
This represents an 8% increase in read rates compared to the previous
laser-based system thanks to Cognex readers’ ability to reliably read damaged,
distorted, blurred, scratched and low-contrast codes and codes with a low
height. Not only were laser scanners unable to read these challenging codes, they
also did not offer performance feedback available with image-based systems.
addition, the DataMan 363 readers are able to read materials covered by
reflective, glossy film. This has greatly improved warehouse productivity since
if codes cannot be read, the belt stops and the operator in the receiving area
at EDEKA has to enter the manufacturer data manually.
benefits for logistics
Image-based readers, like the Cognex DataMan 363, are faster and more
flexible than laser scanners. Using high depth of field and a large field of
view, they are able to read several codes simultaneously, regardless of the
orientation of the imprint or label. Unlike laser-based systems that have
moving parts that can wear out or fail, DataMan image-based barcode readers
have a robust, solid-state design. That means less wear and, therefore, less
maintenance. DataMan 363 barcode readers are also easier to set up and install.
The integrated and controllable lighting and the liquid lens with adjustable
focus enable optimum setup in order to achieve the best-possible read rates.
intelligent auto-tuning function automatically selects the ideal settings for
the integrated lighting, autofocus and imager for every application. This
tuning process instantly ensures that the reader is set up to attain the
highest read rates possible for 1-D and 2-D codes.
Video: Automated high-speed pallet storage and data capture