How SICK sensors help Santa Claus

Goods flows multiply for Christmas business, and logistic systems face major challenges every year - in production and trade, as in the area of dispatch services. The final link in the logistical chain, Santa Claus, must nevertheless put all the presents beneath the correct Christmas tree. So it is a good thing that we supply intelligent sensor solutions for the entire logistical chain...

Peak period in the distribution centers

Sales in online business have been rising for years. While they amounted to EUR 62.45 bn. in Germany alone in 2016, the Statista statistics portal forecasts sales of EUR 73 bn. for 2017. Peak period for the distribution centers is before Christmas, in particular. Our sensor solutions support the complex logistical processes of production, trading and transport companies in order to ensure that there are no empty spaces below any Christmas trees on Christmas Day. Identification systems from SICK identify 1D and 2D codes, describe and read RFID tags, and provide high-resolution pictures for downstream track-and-trace processes (video coding, OCR, etc.). They also determine volumes and weights (legal-for-trade if necessary). Dimensioning, weighing and scanning systems (DWS), in particular, are ideal for optimum handling with high throughput levels in the packed Christmas depots. They are integrated in existing conveyor systems and operate reliably at transport speeds of up to 2.9 m/s. 

Christmas packages must be measured, weighed and identified 

It is well known that at Christmastime there is a never-ending range of large and small wishes on long or short wish lists. Whether this ultimately involves many small but heavy packages or a few larger but light cargoes is of decisive importance for calculating freight costs. Those who determine these transport costs accurately and can come up with individual invoices can stay ahead in logistics, particularly in times of higher energy prices. DWS Dynamic is a camera-based system for measuring, weighing and identifying in packaging and dispatch settings. Camera-based ICR890 code readers built into a system detect and process bar codes or 2D codes from all six sides of a package. The detected image can be used for OCR tasks in order to process additional information in the delivery label. The VMS Volume Measurement System measures the dimensions of the package and thus provides optimum support for work processes in the warehouse. The weight can also be detected by integrating a weighing system.

A reasonably priced alternative to the dynamic DWS solutions is the manual identification and measurement of volumes and weights offered by DWS static. SICK developed the system for complete data detection (volumes, weights and identification) of consignments at courier, express and parcel (CEP) service providers and in logistics centers. All the data relevant for calculating the freight prices and creating transport documentation are detected at the press of a button. The systems consist of the VMS510 or VMS520 Volume Measurement System with a robust static weighing system and a hand-held scanner for detecting the code information – all integrated together in a stable mechanical structure. The variants available have been consistently optimized for the particular application case: The DWS510 Static for cuboid objects, the DWS520 Static for objects of any shape, and the DWS520 Static Extended for oversized bulky goods.

Thanks to SICK there are no empty spaces beneath the Christmas tree

Whether the DWS Dynamic or DWS Static, intelligent track-and-trace solutions are indispensable for enabling logistics experts to overcome the challenges of the Christmas period. Because they are then acting as subcontractors for Santa Claus, enabling him to fulfil his role of making sure that children’s eyes shine brightly on Christmas Day.

We at SICK thank you for this good collaboration, look forward to receiving our presents, and wish you all a merry Christmas.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Volker Glöckle has been managing the Intralogistics unit of the Corporate Solution Center Logistics Automation since 2012. Since joining SICK in 2001, Volker Glöckle has held various leading positions in operative logistics.