Recirculating A-Frame Orders Improves Production and Efficiency
With Pick-to-Tote A-Frame systems doing up to 4,200 orders per hour, automatically recirculating A-Frame orders through the system is expanding its order profile and eliminating even higher levels of labor.
Every channel in the A-Frame system can automatically dispense two to five items per second. The Pick-to-Tote A-Frame controller monitors every tote in the system and its exact position in relation to every channel and SKU. The controller speeds up or slows down the center conveyor to allow every item to be dispensed properly. To the naked eye the slowing and speeding up of the conveyor is almost indiscernible, but essential in hitting perfect accuracy and high throughput numbers.
Best practice is too often run orders through the A-Frame that require under seven items per SKU to allow the system to operate at peak performance. Piece limits are set in the WMS and orders requiring higher amounts are usually assigned to a manual fulfilment zone.
By implementing the re-circulation option on the Pick-to-Tote A-Frame system, orders requiring more than the traditional maximum number of items per SKU simply go through the A-Frame twice or three times to complete the order with very little effect on overall order rates. This can dramatically broaden the range of orders filled by the A-Frame and a further reduction of picking labor required in other zones.
Classic Pick-to-Belt A-Frame systems can dispense higher pieces out of a channel at the decrement of order rates. By recirculating A-Frame orders, the more pieces picked out of a channel takes up more space on the conveyor reducing order rate. Instead, the WMS would not likely assign those orders to go through the A-Frame and would have to assign it to a manual picking zone. Orders not complete would be routed to an exception handling station after it goes through the A-Frame to be manually filled.
Totes or shippers can run through the A-Frame with only one inch of distance between orders. This allows the Pick-to-Tote A-Frame system to operate at a much faster rate than other A-Frame models, hourly and daily performance levels are not affected. In addition, because orders are dispensed into totes, order integrity is increased.
Likewise, in the unlikely event that an A-Frame experiences an empty channel or mis-fire, traditionally those orders were flagged in the system and automatically routed to an exception handling station. Pick-to-Tote A-Frame systems utilizing the re-circulation option simply divert such an order back through the A-Frame to complete the order automatically. This eliminates the amount of labor required to manually verify and complete such orders.
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