12 December 2012
A shuttle-based storage and order picking system from Knapp is making light work of the handling of returns for the German fulfilment specialist Hermes Hermes Fulfilment has recently taken delivery of an automated ha
Hermes Fulfilment has recently taken delivery of an automated handling system from Knapp that is designed to optimise the management of returns.Hermes takes care of fulfillment for parent company, the Otto Group, a large German conglomerate with substantial retail interests.
The solution at the site in Haldensleben, Germany - which dispatches about 250,000 shipments per day during peak periods - features Knapp's OSR Shuttle system. The installation provides rapid automated storage and retrieval combined with goods-to-person picking using pick-by-light technology.
Previously at the facility, all returns suitable for resale were stored manually in the picking warehouse, with new orders being fulfilled using picking carts. Under the new system, the OSR Shuttle accepts about 2,000 containers of mixed returns per hour. After unpacking, checking and repacking, returned goods arrive at the store in stacks of totes, which are automatically unstacked by an overhead gantry robot and placed on the conveyor system. The containers of returns are then stored in the OSR Shuttle system, with up to ten different items stored in each tote in order to achieve optimal storage density.
The automated store features 176,400 storage locations - with capacity for about one million items - which are served by shuttles that operate on each level of each aisle. The storage cube is 54m long, 70m wide and 11.5m tall, with containers stored randomly and most products remaining in storage for only a few hours.
When a tote is retrieved from the store, the shuttle transports it to the high-speed lift at the end of the aisle. Once at ground level, the tote is transferred via a conveyor system to one of 30 goods-to-person pick stations, which are located on two levels.
These Pick-it-Easy Fashion workstations - part of a new range of ergonomic, industry-specific work areas from Knapp - have been designed around the needs of the fashion sector. Totes are located directly in front of the operator, with the source container positions sloping gently towards the workstation to allow the contents to be both visible and easy to pick. Each workstation has two positions for source containers and five positions for target containers, with one of the positions being freely configurable. The operator receives picking information via a centrally located touch-screen, where he can also display a product photo if required. Put-to-light indicators signal the tote into which items should be placed. The workstations are able to access every product and have the ability to process several order types at the same station. By picking from mixed containers, an optimal mix of storage density and picking performance can be achieved. The returns system is controlled by Knapp's KiSoft WCS software. The system also features a network of high-level servicing walkways.