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Pick-to-light software development

ZONING
Divide the whole picking area into several small sections, one section is called one ZONE. Zone is the basic working scope for one order. One zone only allow one order be picked at one time. One order also will be picked at one zone at same order. In other words, different zones could process different orders concurrently.

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Hardware configuration in one zone

Above configuration is one of our suggestion, this is not the MUST design in one zone, You can have your own design and figuration of the hardware. 1) Order display : Can be 6-digit order display or 12-digit alphanumerical display to show up the working order within zone by display order number or customer code. 2) Next zone display : This is NOT MUST component. But it can help to show the next target zone for user to follow up. 3) Completion indicator : This component can help user to know the picking job in this zone is finished by sound or music, then user no need to search any more. And its confirmation information also can help PTL software to exactly catch user know the order picking is finished in zone. However, you also can design the other procedure to replace completion indicators confirmed message. The following Kernel flow will be based on the above configuration to illustrate.

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PTL Software architecture

HW/SW mapping table:


This mapping table is very important design within this PTL software. Basically, this table will include the following information : 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Controller/Gateway ID Node address Zone ID Location ID Tag type (for example, T means the tag in picking location, C means completion indicator, N means next zone display, K means order ID displayetc)

Based on this table, then you can implement the sending and receiving easily. Sending The sending data should mean the picking orders coming from customers WMS. In addition to the order number and picking quantity, the most important data in picking order is the Location ID. The location ID must be 100% same as the location ID configured inside the mapping table. From the picking order, PTL software can know which lights to turn on within one specific zone based on the above table Receiving When doing receiving message from controller via our API library, PTL software can know the messages gateway ID and node address. Then based on the above mapping table, PTL software can know which tag this message comes from, which zone, which location.

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Picking order data file sample :


The interface between PTL software and customers WMS could be in flat text file format, which contains both the order files downloaded from customer WMS to this PTL software and the picking result files uploaded from PTL software to customer WMS. The basic content of the picking order file contain the below columns : 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) Date (2011/12/23) Order number (Primary & unique key) Customer code (options) Customer Name (options) Location ID Item name (options) Order quantity

For example : 2011/12/23 ,960001 ,742801 , 7-11 StoreA ,LP00001 , 47188961 ,6 2011/12/23 ,960001 ,742801 , 7-11 StoreA ,LP00004 , 47176544 ,9 2011/12/23 ,960001 ,742801 , 7-11 StoreA ,LP00021 , 47146921 ,5 2011/12/23 ,960001 ,742801 , 7-11 StoreA ,LP00034 , 47165299 ,6 2011/12/23 ,960002 ,762303 , 7-11 StoreC ,LP00002 , 47167368 ,7 2011/12/23 ,960002 ,762303 , 7-11 StoreC ,LP00031 , 47199099 ,9 2011/12/23 ,960002 ,762303 , 7-11 StoreC ,LP00044 , 47188088 ,9 And the return file only need to add on one more column by Actual Quantity

For example : 2011/12/23 ,960001 ,742801 , 7-11 StoreA ,LP00001 , 47188961 ,6 ,6 2011/12/23 ,960001 ,742801 , 7-11 StoreA ,LP00004 , 47176544 ,9 ,9 2011/12/23 ,960001 ,742801 , 7-11 StoreA ,LP00021 , 47146921 ,5 ,4 2011/12/23 ,960001 ,742801 , 7-11 StoreA ,LP00034 , 47165299 ,6, 6 2011/12/23 ,960002 ,762303 , 7-11 StoreC ,LP00002 , 47167368 ,7 ,7 2011/12/23 ,960002 ,762303 , 7-11 StoreC ,LP00031 , 47199099 ,9 ,9 2011/12/23 ,960002 ,762303 , 7-11 StoreC ,LP00044 , 47188088 ,9, 8

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Picking Flow Control Kernel Transfer Order Into System

Flow optimization

Get ready First Waiting PO

Send PO to flow

Append this PO to ZONE 's QUEUE Get first PO from ZONE's Queue

ZONE Load Picking Order In

Light Tags on in Zone

Keep receiving messages back from all TCP/IP Controllers

Messages from pick tags

Message from completion indicator

Clear lights buffer in zone Messages process Turn off the next zone display Turn on next zone display Turn on completion indicator ZONE Send PO to next Destination

A
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Description
1. Transfer Order Into system
DescriptionDesign the interface to download the picking data from customers WMS into PTL software. This interface is the integrated interface, it might be inconsistent from different project required, for example, it can be flat text file exchanged, or can access customers database directly to present real time integration. Normally, this portion is customized design.

2. Flow Optimization
DescriptionData processing and decide the orders picking sequence based on some criteria required, then arrange its optimized path in advance.

3. Get ready First Waiting Picking Order


DescriptionBased on the result from flow optimization, then get ready the first waiting picking order (PO) in queue. But if the picking orders sequence is not decided by system, for example, it is decided by scanning barcode randomly, then there should have the other function to catch the right PO to start picking job.

4. Send Picking Order to Flow


DescriptionWhen system get a trigger event, it will send the first waiting PO into the first destined picking zone. This trigger event can be any formats, for example : 1) User confirm PO from the control PCs. 2) By barcode scanner 3) Automatically load PO into the first zone based on the result of the flow optimization.

5. Append this PO to Destination ZONE's QUEUE


DescriptionBasically, if the destination zone has another PO is working inside, then the next coming PO needs to wait till the previous PO is completed. That is why we will put the order into the ZONEs queue firstly. There will have another procedure to call to check if the zone is BUSY or IDLE, if the zone is BUSY, then this order will remain in queue to wait, if the zone is IDLE, then the first PO in queue will be sent into this zone to turn on lights for picking.

6. ZONE Load Picking Order In


DescriptionThis procedure will be always called to check once there is any PO appended into one zones queue. .If zones current status is IDLE, then it will get the first PO from its queue to turn on lights to pick.

7. Receive Signal From TCP/IP Controllers


DescriptionBasically, PTL software will design a receiving task to keep retrieving messages back from all TCP/IP controllers. Based on the receiving messages information (such as gateway ID, node address, sub-command) and the mapping table described as above, PTL software can know which device the return message comes from. Then PTL software also can distinguish it is the pick tag or the completion indicator from the tag type in mapping table, then it will trigger different behavior.. 1) Messages from pick tags : message is coming from the tag on the picking location. Picking is ongoing. 2) Messages from completion indicator : this message means the order has been completed in this zone.

8. Message from pick tag / Message process


DescriptionAfter the PTL software identify the return message is from pick tag (not from completion indicator). Then it also can know which zone this tag belongs to by the mapping table. PTL software also has to check if this message is the required messaged which system sent out, not the garbage message back. After verify the correction, then catching its return value, which is the confirmed
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value after adjusting. Of course, update all the data into system database by its real picked quantity is necessary at the same time. Meantime, PTL software also has to know if this message is the last required message back or not. If it is not, keep receiving. If it is, that means all the tags have been confirmed back at that zone, then it can turn on the next zone display to tell user what is the next destination, meantime, turn on the completion indicator to inform this completion status. But if this zone is the last zone in flow, then showing End message on the next zone display to inform user that this order is totally completed.

9. Message from completion indicator


DescriptionAfter the PTL software identify the return message is from completion indicator (not from pick tags). Then it also can know which zone this completion indicator belongs to via the mapping table. Receiving completion indicators return message means that we inform user the picking jobs all have been finished at that zone and user also confirm it back by pushing button. Then PTL software can clear all the lights buffer within the same zone, and turn off the next zone display. If this zone is not the last zone for that order, then call the next procedure function as 10 to let this PO keep in picking flow..

10. ZONE send PO to Next Destination ZONE


DescriptionIf this zone is not the last zone of PO, then send the PO to the next destination zone by go back to point 5 to append order into the destination zones queue to repeat procedure..

PTL Software functions :


1 PTL hardware testing 2 To translate the batch order into PTL software database and return the picking result to WMS . 3 Provide different ways to send the picking order into the picking area. 4 Collecting picking performance information data for analysis, include picker information, zone utilization, bottleneck zoneetc. 5 Picking order information query. 6 Real time monitor one zone's picking status. 7 Inquire the shortage location information. 8 Rearrange the picking sequence of the picking orders. 9 Delete the picking orders.

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