Published by: Emma Lande

Unlocking the A-Frame Potential with an Automated Pack Station - A Real Warehouse Scenario -

A-Frame Pack-Out Station

The A-Frame dispenser is rapidly becoming the order picking solution of choice for ecommerce order fulfillment.  It is exceptionally fast, dispensing up to 5 items per second and reaching a maximum of 3,600 orders per hour, without any pick labor input.  Its speed and near-perfect pick accuracy make it especially ideal for kitting subscription orders and ensuring prompt delivery of high-demand products.

To fully capitalize on the A-Frame’s exceptional performance, it is imperative to complement it with a meticulously engineered and designed pack station. This strategic pairing ensures a smooth flow of orders and minimizes potential bottlenecks within the picking, packing, and shipping process line.

An A-Frame Pack Station is an area within the A-Frame system where completely fulfilled orders are verified for order correctness, packaged, labeled, and sealed in preparation for shipping.  

Although incorporating a pack station may seem like a straightforward decision when designing an A-Frame system, the importance of designing it to accommodate future increases is often overlooked.  


A client operating in the meal subscription delivery industry specializes in shipping refrigerated meals to customers nationwide. After an extensive search for a suitable automated picking solution, they select the portable pick-to-tote A-Frame dispenser.   

This choice is driven by the dispenser's exceptional speed, fully automated, labor-free picking, and its ability to be expanded for future growth. 

Initially, they achieve cost savings by utilizing a makeshift pack station to verify, pack, and label orders before shipping.

This temporary solution suffices until the growing order volumes surpass the processing capacity of the makeshift pack station and the warehouse starts to face difficulties in meeting delivery schedules. 

The absence of a pack-out station specifically designed to accommodate the increasing number of orders is significantly undermining the efficiency of the A-Frame system.  The client is at the risk of jeopardizing the timely delivery of goods, and particularly susceptible to the meals losing their quality and overall integrity.  

The entire pick and pack process was reengineered to allow orders to be picked in waves.  This allowed the clients to better schedule courier services, plan and use manual labor, and handle large volumes of orders during busy seasons, all without the need for more labor input. 

Based on a thorough analysis of the client’s recent order movement, SI Systems applied the extrapolated growth data in the design of a scalable packing station that can efficiently process growing orders with the least number of resources.  

The pack station was equipped with the SI Pack Station Director software, which efficiently verifies order correctness and maintains high-speed performance even when processing large databases.  

The station line included a 3-tiered conveyor that can be horizontally scaled to meet future demands. 

i. The top tier was to deliver prepped shipping boxes with frozen gel packs in them. 

ii. The center tier delivered full order totes from the A-Frames to the packing stations. 

iii. The bottom tier then delivers the completed boxes orders to the end of the packing station line where they can then be gathered and palleted for shipping.

To support and segregate the cartons effectively, special rack bays with full-depth separators were implemented. This feature guarantees a steady availability of cartons. If an order is received in an incorrect shipping carton, the packer can swiftly assemble the appropriate shipping carton, minimizing any time loss.


Designing an A-Frame Pack-Out Station is a systematic approach that involves the analysis of a warehouse's data to forecast future SKU movement. 

This analysis is crucial for building a scalable and flexible pack station that can effectively handle growing volumes of orders at a pace that matches that of the picking, packing, and shipping areas.  

Here are some key steps to guide you:

1. Analyze Order Picking Speed: Start by evaluating the speed at which orders are picked in your warehouse. Measure the average picking time per order and identify any bottlenecks or inefficiencies in the process.

2. Optimize Layout and Flow: Ensure that the packing station is strategically located within the warehouse layout, ideally near the picking area. This minimizes travel time and streamlines the flow of picked items to the packing station. Arrange the layout to facilitate a smooth and logical workflow, with a clear separation between picked items, packing materials, and shipping labels.

3. Efficient Packaging Materials Placement: Organize packaging materials such as boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and labels within easy reach of the packing station. Minimize unnecessary movement and ensure that all necessary supplies are readily available, reducing time spent searching for or replenishing packaging materials.

4. Utilize Conveyor Systems: Integrate conveyor systems, if feasible, to automate the movement of picked items from the picking area to the packing station. This eliminates the need for manual transportation, reducing the time and effort required to transfer items.

5. Implement Automation Technologies: Consider implementing automation technologies such as automated carton sealers, label applicators, or weighing scales to expedite the packing process. These tools can significantly enhance efficiency and reduce manual handling time.

6. Use Ergonomic Workstations: Design the packing station with ergonomics in mind. Ensure that the workstation is comfortable and properly equipped to handle the speed of order picking. Provide adjustable height work surfaces, ergonomic tools, and adequate lighting to create a conducive environment for efficient packing.

7. Train and Empower Packing Personnel: Provide comprehensive training to packing personnel to optimize their efficiency and speed. Familiarize them with the packing station layout, equipment, and processes. Encourage open communication and feedback to identify potential improvements and address any challenges faced during the packing process.

8. Continuously Monitor and Improve: Regularly review and monitor the packing station's performance. Collect feedback from packing personnel and seek opportunities for further optimization. Use data analytics and performance metrics to identify areas for improvement and implement continuous process enhancements.

If your order fulfillment operation requires high throughput and aims to minimize labor costs through automation, incorporating an A-Frame automatic dispenser can prove to be a valuable choice in achieving that objective. Contact a member of SI’s engineering today if you are thinking about implementing the A-Frame picking solution.  

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