What’s in a Name?
By Gary Forger
We all know people whose names really suit them. I mean, their name is truly descriptive of who they are as a person. For instance, “she really does look like a Kate, doesn’t she?”
But when it comes to material handling equipment, who associates a name with a solution? It’s pretty unusual, unless, of course, you’re talking about Perfect Pick®. The fact is, just like Kate, Perfect Pick has a name that suits it just fine.
Quite simply, providing near perfect picking accuracy is necessary in any order-fulfillment equipment, especially in an e-commerce world.
“At OPEX, we put a lot of stock in these words - Productivity. Reimagined. And that’s exactly what Perfect Pick is all about, starting with incredible accuracy,” explains Troy VanWormer, Director of Warehouse Automation. “Perfect Pick and Perfect Pick HD are truly unique robotic goods-to-person picking technologies engineered to simplify order fulfillment,” says VanWormer. "They make outstanding use of the cube, automate put-away/picking processes and shorten order turnaround time," he adds.
A Perfect Pick unit consists of two side-by-side modular rack units that store totes of inventory, all the way to the ceiling (a max of 32.5 feet.) Each unit of Perfect Pick contains a series of iBOT®s (aptly named) –- intelligent, autonomous, robotic delivery vehicles that run in the aisle formed by the two racking units. iBOTs select totes based on the instructions they receive from WMS and deliver those totes to a workstation. There, a human operator makes the pick(s) and then the iBOT is released to return the tote and pick up its next set of instructions and another tote. The typical throughput is about 400 tote presentations an hour. The replenishment process is just as simple for an operator. In put-away mode, the bi-directional iBOTs pick up totes from an end-of-aisle workstation and deliver them to nearby open storage locations.
As Troy mentioned earlier, Perfect Pick has a sibling. Perfect Pick® HD, just like its older brother, uses iBOTs to deliver items for picking at high throughput rates. Where the two differ is that PPHD is the high-density (hence the “HD” in its name) version of PP. Each rack stores totes two deep rather than just one – providing twice the storage capacity in just a fractionally larger footprint. Both units can be configured with a single workstation or with a workstation at each end of the aisle. And depending on your needs, workstations can be built at either the floor or the mezzanine level.
No matter what you may call it, I can’t help but call this solution the perfect pick for your operation. And perhaps just as important, now is a good time to consider how OPEX can help you automate your operation before the 2019 holiday season. Because unlike most other highly automated goods-to-person systems, OPEX systems can be up and running in roughly 6 months.
I call that A Smart Move.
Gary Forger is the former editor of Modern Materials Handling magazine and the Material Handling & Logistics U.S. Roadmap to 2030.