Barcode Scanning In-Motion

When it comes to the automation of capturing vital data on inbound (and outbound) products, accuracy and reliability are two of the most critical aspects for a system to deliver.

And for freight operations, they need to know that they have received and dispatched products successfully.

A customer recently reached out to us to assist their operations with achieving these two very important goals with their existing system. They were, unfortunately, experiencing major issues with their existing system largely due to 1. the age of the system, but also 2. the fact that they only had two scanners left in operation, which resulted in poor scanning coverage, directly affecting their custody accountability.

If a barcode is missed by the scanners, the package is recirculated around the carousel and hopefully picked up and re-oriented by an operator before the carousel is overrun. With only two scanners in play, the amount of re-circulated packages that had their barcodes missed by the scanners could result in a conveyor carousel that needed to be stopped and manually intervened upon.

Take the below image as an example:

With only two active scanners in operation, the total barcode scanning coverage capable by both of these scanners is predictably limited. We mentioned the system has aged – previously, when labour was more available, operations may have one or two dedicated operators to ensure that the packages loaded onto a conveyor had the barcode-side of the package facing in the direction of the scanners in their scanning tunnel. This would allow for the barcode to be read by a minimum quantity of scanners, for e.g. 2. Now this is very impractical.

To meet the throughput requirements in high throughput environments such as our customer’s, high scanning coverage is required to ensure the barcode is scanned wherever it may be. This has resulted in us providing 10 scanners: 4 V-shaped scanners and 6 regular scanning heads which provided phenomenal coverage overall. This solution is deemed 5-sided barcode scanning, ensuring that every side of the package can be scanned except if the barcode is facing down onto the conveyor. At this point, it is re-circulated through the conveyor, picked up by an operator, and re-oriented to any other side. With 5 sides of the package covered, the labour requirement for ensuring the boxes are oriented correctly is greatly reduced, allowing for the customer to minimally rely on labour.

Now our customer can not only reliably operate at full throughput (ensuring their conveyor investment is being used to its full potential) but also gather accurate, useable data so that their operations can run smoothly, efficiently, and more profitably than before.


barcode scanning tunnel with conveyor full of products


New barcode scanning tunnel


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