December 13, 2021

Automated localization and sorting of parcels in motion

Partner:

Dedoles s.r.o.

 

Problem:

The customer Dedoles s.r.o. – one of the biggest e-commerce retailers in Central Europe, which sells original socks and underwear, decided to automate the process of sorting parcels prepared for shipment based on the delivery company. 

The task was operated manually before and the decision to automate it was made to decrease the level of errors and increase the speed of sorting.

 

Solution:

MotionCam-3D model L + specially customized Locator + Sorter HMI (Human-Machine Interface)

Based on the special requirements of Dedoles s.r.o., Photoneo developed a custom-made solution for automated localization and sorting of parcels coming on a moving conveyor belt. 

The process looks as follows:

When the parcels coming on a moving conveyor belt reach the 3D camera MotionCam-3D, the vision system makes a scan and together with specially developed software localizes each individual parcel. The specially customized Locator defines the right gripping point for a KUKA robot, which picks each parcel from the conveyor belt using a custom-made vacuum gripper. Based on the data received from a QR code scanner, the system sorts the parcels based on the delivery company and places them into the right container. 

Part of the solution is also the Photoneo Sorter HMI, which is custom-developed software with a visualization interface for the whole process control, data backup, and making changes in the sorting procedure.

The KUKA robot comes with a conveyor tracking technology for the camera-robot-conveyor belt calibration.

The system does not require stopping the conveyor belt and works reliably without human intervention. To ensure maximum safety, it features various safety extensions, units, and systems. Being part of the logic of the whole system, these safety and other control features were programmed by Photoneo.

Photoneo also ensured the complete electro-installation and system assembly, personnel training, and the creation of documentation.

 

Discussion:

The customer decided on a solution from Photoneo based on the qualities and unique features of the company’s smart systems.

MotionCam-3D was chosen based on its super-fast data acquisition and ability to scan moving objects in high quality.

The uniqueness of the solution resides in custom-made software and web interface, the combination of MotionCam-3D and a QR code scanner, and in the nature of the application itself – the picking, sorting, and placement of objects that are in constant motion.

The automation solution led to a decrease in the error rate, increased productivity and throughput, and lowered costs for personnel.

Further optimization will be necessary in the future, including the ability to read QR codes and the possibility to pick heavy and/or irregularly shaped parcels.

 

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