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Preventing Shipping Errors at a Large Distribution Center [Success Story]

Preventing Shipping Errors Application Image

Customer Requirements: Reliable confirmation of packages on a high speed sortation system in preparation for shipment

Solution: Retroreflective BEAM-ARRAY™

Why Banner? Simplicity – Retroreflective BEAM-ARRAY systems house both an emitter and receiver in a single unit

Support – Banner Engineering’s professionals made specific changes to the arrays to meet the customer’s needs

Quick Response Time – arrays are available with a 20 ms response time and meets the customer’s speed requirements

Customer Benefits

Cost Savings – The retroreflective BEAM-ARRAY is a cost-effective solution that eliminates the need for multiple sensors, cables, and outputs, significantly reducing the price of goods, as well as time spent on installation and set up

Specialized Product – Customizing the product allows for a perfect fit to a wide variety of bin sizes

Background

As material handling continues to expand globally, the industry becomes more competitive and creates a need for more creative solutions in a price sensitive environment. Preventing errors before packages are shipped helps to ensure customer satisfaction and saves time lost and money spent on correcting errors. 

Challenges

After packages are sealed they are placed onto conveyor belts and are then transported to the appropriate bins for their shipping destination. These packages, as well as the bins they get sorted into, come in a wide variety of sizes and materials. This variance of dimensions can make accurate detection more difficult.  Roughly 8-12 sensors were installed at each bin to verify that the package has entered into the correct bin. The sensors frequently became misaligned after being struck by a box as it enters the bin. The high number of sensors used in this application also equates to multiple cables and outputs for a single bin. This makes installation cumbersome and time consuming while also cluttering the area and detracting from the overall aesthetic appeal of the space. The customer was looking for a single-output solution that senses packages quickly, is easy to install and maintain, and was affordable enough to buy in bulk quantities if needed.

Solution

The best way to solve this application was by making specialized retroreflective BEAM-ARRAY sensors. Working closely with the customer, Banner professionals were able to customize arrays to meet specific needs – something not commonly seen in the industry. The arrays were made to fit the specific size of each bin. The support staff at Banner was also able to make changes to customer specific product quickly and efficiently, which significantly cut down on the expected lead time typically seen with personalized products.

Retroreflective BEAM-ARRAY systems contain both an emitter and receiver in one single-output device. This type of sensing device gets rid of excess cables and accessories, significantly cutting back on costs and makes installation and alignment quick and easy. The arrays are also available with a rugged housing to withstand impact and vibration that is often present on conveyors. Operators need to be alerted quickly if a box goes into the incorrect bin location and the retroreflective BEAM-ARRAY has a 20 ms response time, allowing for quick and efficient detection.

Conclusion

Preventing errors on a conveyor helps companies provide excellent customer service and reduces unwanted downtime. Banner Engineering’s retroreflective BEAM-ARRAY sensors have a very fast response time and are durable single-output solutions that reduce costs without sacrificing performance.

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