Zone Routing

Ensure your totes are routed to the right pick station and decrease order cycle times

Zone routing green totes using barcode scanning

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Distribution and fulfillment centers use high-volume conveyance to bring the items in totes for an order to the pick stations. It is important to move items as efficiently as possible to match items with pick plans and send the right totes to the right pick station. The most efficient picking is performed when the operator is only required to touch cartons/totes with picks from their assigned zone. This is accomplished by reading barcodes on the sides of the cartons/totes and routing them accordingly. Codes on totes can wear down and become smudged or damaged from general handling and as they travel through the conveyor system. If a code cannot be read, totes will not reach any picking station and would require rework which adds time and cost. Typical laser scanning technology cannot always read damaged codes, nor can facility managers get feedback when codes are becoming unreadable – which can lead to bigger issues later.

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Cognex image-based barcode readers provide a powerful barcode reading solution for zone routing systems. Image-based barcode readers, with advanced algorithms and decoding technology reliably read damaged, or non-aligned barcodes on totes in small egress situations to send them to the right pick station. In addition, these solutions can read codes omni-directionally and at high perspectives, as totes are not always aligned on the belt. Using image-based output and code quality metrics from the DataMan barcode readers allows tote labels to be graded so smudged codes can be replaced before no reads cause problems downstream.

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