As soon as any product is manufactured it needs to be labeled with fixed and variable data. Fixed data includes product description and ingredients. Variable data includes batch or lot numbers as well as manufacturing and expiration dates. Product labels are typically small, from 0.5” up to 2” in dimension.
Barcode labels are critical to the timely and orderly flow of products through the supply chain. In order to know what each product is and where it needs to go to next, the right barcode labels have to be applied to the correct products, packages and pallets.
Our solutions are focused towards the manufacturing and distribution/3PL verticals. Within each vertical there are multiple applications based on the level of packaging.
Products - Pick-Print
Packages - Pick-Pack-Print
Manufactured products are case packed for storage and shipment to distributors and customers. Package labels have a mix of fixed and variable data and are typically at least 4” to 6” in size.
Warehouses and distribution centers that pick and pack products for shipment to consumers typically use 4” x 6” shipping labels. Synchronizing the customer address with the right product is a challenge for those warehouses that use different control systems for the label data and the traditional label printer applicator.
Pallets - Pick-Pack-Palletize-Print
Once the products have been packaged there is an increased demand to use industrial robots to build pallets from the case packs. After the robot has built the pallets, they enter an automated wrapping station before coming to the final stage of the manufacturing line – pallet label application. It’s common to apply at least two large labels (from 6” x 8” up to 8.5” x 11”) on pallets to enable the operators to know which warehouse or customer location to route the pallet to.
We have designed these solution blueprints for our customers and system integrator partners so they have the confidence of knowing that these solutions are fully supported and replicable in their operations.
PRODUCT LABELING BLUEPRINT
“How”: The Product Labeling solution combines the RPA with a barcode scanner or vision system that identifies the product, package or pallet to be labeled. The solution also involves a material handling system, typically a conveyor belt with sensors, to transport the product, package or pallet to the labeling cell. At this point the scanner reads the barcode on the box or pallet or the camera images the box or pallet. This information is sent either to the enterprise system or to a look-up table in the Vanomation software. The system then retrieves the label position (or positions for multiple labels) as XYZ data offsets from the software and sends this information back to the Vanomation app. The Vanomation app then combines this XYZ data with the barcode label printstream that has been triggered by the arrival of the product, package or pallet at the RPA cell. This combined data is then sent to the printer and robot to apply the label(s). When the labels have been applied, the conveyor is sent a signal to move the product, package or pallet to the next station.
DYNAMIC LABEL PLACEMENT BLUEPRINT
“How”: The Dynamic Label Placement solution uses the RPA, a conveyor, sensors, a barcode reader and a 3D profiler to accurately place carton and shipping labels on products and packages. We have configured the Datalogic DM3610 system as the 3D profiler in the solution. The barcode scanner reads the order number off the carton or package and sends this to the enterprise system to look-up the customer ship data and generate the barcode print data stream. The 3D profiler determines the dimensions of the carton or package, as well as its placement and orientation on the conveyor. This data is sent to the Vanomation app where it is combined with the data to print the barcode label. The combined data is sent from the Vanomation app to the printer and robot. This single data path ensures that the right label is placed on the right package.