Measurement matters

11 October 2016

The automated Dimensioning, Weighing and Scanning (DWS) of goods and parcels is a core technology for logisitics that enables couriers, goods and freight handlers to optimise revenue and determine safe and space-effective loading and storage. SICK outlines a new solution that brings ease of use and transparency into the data handling process.

Now, in a more connected and fast-moving supply chain, the amount and complexity of information required to be processed and analysed in real time is growing.  By combining DWS data with 1D or 2D barcode identification and a visual image of the package, the carrier has the opportunity to link together a great deal of data about every product it is handling.  

Indeed, as the logistics industry embraces Industry 4.0, higher-speed data processing, is more and more necessary to ensure that DWS data is fully integrated with an operator’s control and revenue recovery systems.  

The shape, surface properties, orientation or alignment and size of goods on a conveyor all vary greatly and essential measurements must be made at high speed and communicated to central control systems.

However, until now, operators have needed to employ advanced software programming skills to achieve a high level of integration of this kind while ensuring compliance to all relevant industry standards.  

SICK turned its attention to this challenge and the result is the Master Analyzer. The product attracted interest at the LogiMAT Trade Fair in Stuttgart, in March 2016, where it was awarded ‘Best Product’ in the identification, packaging, loading and load securing category. It impressed a jury of logistics professionals with its modern, ergonomic design, paired with modular sensor technology and innovative data management.

The Master Data Analyzer is a track-and-trace system that captures the dimensions, the weight, and the barcode of an object in one step. By using sender and receiver light grids, the measurement is carried out regardless of the object's reflective properties, so even transparent and foil-packed objects are reliably measured.

The device enables the easiest-possible standardised recording, manipulation, analysis and maintenance of master data. Digitising and imaging objects such as packages and parcels in real time, the Master Analyzer is flexible and quickly configurable to deliver consistently high-quality DWS data values no matter what size or shape of object is measured.

The Master Analyzer logs information about each product or parcel at goods inwards and can help operators to optimise the use of available storage volumes in a warehouse or truck.  Products are digitally recorded in real time, regardless of their shape, surface, and material properties; even the smallest products can be measured reliably. 

Measurement starts as soon as the object has been identified and recorded and the data is uploaded directly after completion of the measurement process. A high level of process security and major time savings are achieved because the product does not need to be aligned and can be measured from both directions. 

Volume accuracy down to 5mm and weight accuracy to ±10g and a maximum object size of 800 by 80 by 600mm are combined with reading of all conventional 1D and 2D barcodes. Measurement is stable,due to the in-built self-diagnosis; data is output immediately after measurement, and short measuring cycles ensure speed and high-process reliability. The intuitive software design delivers plug-and-play functionality and data output is via one interface for easy integration with a factory net.

An advanced measurement algorithm is combined with the output of 3D data for visualisation and enables data to be recorded in a standardised manner. Data management for warehouse management systems is also standardised and does not require an external PC or screen. With a rugged design, simple and intuitive operation and maintenance-free mechanism, Master Analyzer can be used either as a stationary or a mobile solution with a nine hour battery pack, and can also use an optional industrial rechargeable battery and WLAN technology.