Do You Need a Smarter Pallet Labeling System?
Do you need a smarter pallet labeling system? We recently put together a system for a client where the labeling software actually ‘talks’ to the ERP system. The project was just the type of project we like…for a small investment of time and effort we could produce some impressive benefits to our client.
What type of benefits?
– Reduced human errors – data comes straight from the ERP system, no human intervention.
– More secure the labeling system – reduced risk of system failure, better process control
– Synchronization of production and ERP systems – real time visibility to the production floor
– Traceability – manufacturing data (lot, date/time) stored for QA purposes
How does it work?
Step #1 – Scan and Get Data
Pallets flowing from one of six productions lines enter one of three pallet wrapper machines. Just before each pallet enters the pallet wrapper, Accusort Axiom™ scanners search on the side and top of the pallet for a UPC barcode. The scanners output the results via Ethernet to the EBI Integration Tool. This tool executes SQL commands written by EBI to find the correct record in the production table and send this data to SENTINEL Data Exchange.
Step #2 – Wrap and Print
SENTINEL Data Exchange executes a print job through CODESOFT that increments a counter for both a serial number and pallet number. This allows the client to track the order and number of pallets produced at that facility and within each production run.
By the time the pallet exits the Lantech pallet wrapper, CODESOFT has sent the label data to the ID Technology 250 Applicator which waits for the pallet to pass in front of it. Once it does, the correct label, for the correct product, with the correct serial number and pallet number is applied to the side of the pallet.
Step #3 – Update MRP/ERP System
We are not done yet! TEKLYNX SENTINEL Data Exchange with CODESOFT updates the production table in Microsoft Dynamics Navision with the newly issued serial number and pallet number. Now Microsoft Dynamics Navision knows what was produced, when it was produced, where it was produced, and that serial numbers and lot number were assigned…a smart pallet labeling system indeed!
Sounds great but could YOU use such a system?
The system was relatively inexpensive to assemble and maintain and it scales very easily. Thus the more automated production lines you have, the greater the savings (i.e. it does not cost much more to support 5, 10, 20, or more production lines than it does to do one). So I would say the larger your operation, the greater the savings the more this makes sense.
It also works best if you use your MRP/ERP to schedule production. The system uses the schedule in your system figure out what to print and where to print it. If your production or label requirements are less complex, there may be other ways to work around it if you don’t keep the schedule in your system.