Pick-by-Light & Pick-to-Light

These new compartment displays have many advantages and are best suited for Pick-by-Light and pick-to-light systems.
LUCA as a system provider.

Pick-by-Light Compartment display on the storage compartment is actuated by an order picker at the acknowledgement button. The LUCA system debits the withdrawal automatically.

KBS and LUCA are long-term solutions partners

We supply systems for
logistics and production with

Pick-by-Light

Pick-by-Light made in Germany

Pick-by-Light System - The standard compartment displays

These trade advertisements have established themselves as standard. There are many other modules available.

PTF-L-6 - Pick-by-Light Module without display. Only LED and button.

Compartment display for removal of individual articles (advantage for Automotive or replenishment).
Details about PTF-L-6


PTF-3N-4 Pick-by-Light Display with three-digit display and keys

Standard for many applications.
Details about PTF-3N-4


PTF-ZCTRL2 innovative Pick-by-Light controller and display with touch screen

Zone display with touch screen.
Details about PTF-CTRL2


Overview of further trade advertisements:


Pick-by-Light Definition

Pick-by-Light Planning and building a system?

What hardware and software do you need?

Interface to Pick-to-Light System?

Pick-by-Light build it yourself?


Pick-by-Light in logistics. We supply solutions for professional order picking with many picking methods, such as Pick-by-Light and other systems. Take advantage of our experience and benefits. In this article you will find the most important information, technical details of the compartment displays, application examples and prices for our Pick-to-Light. This guide is addressed to planners, technicians and buyers. Pick with system!

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Why is the Pick-by-Light picking method so special? What makes the system different from other picking methods? How is a modern Pick-to-Light structured? Where is Pick-by-Light it best used and what costs do you have to expect? Can Pick-to-Light on a picking vehicle support the picker?

Pick-by-Light Definition

Pick-by-Light (often also called Pick-to-Light or Pick-2-Light) is a picking method for paperless picking in a warehouse or production facility. A compartment display is installed in the system at each storage location (picking location). The signal lamp (LED light) indicates the storage compartment to the picker. The quantity display shows the number of articles to be picked.

The employee (picker) removes the goods from the storage compartment and confirms the removal on the confirmation button. The warehouse management system then immediately carries out the stock change in real time.

Pick-by-Light & Pick-to-Light picking and the costs

Like all other paperless picking processes, the Pick-by-Light system (also called Pick-to-Light) processes an electronic picking list. The picking system supports the picker in his work in order to minimise his walking distances and picking errors (error costs) and to increase his performance at the workstations. Order throughput times are optimal due to the short search time (light signals directly at the storage compartment). The customer orders are processed quickly. The training time of the pickers is minimal with the picking method. 

The acquisition costs are relatively high compared to the other picking systems. On the contrary, the costs for maintenance and operation are minimal. As a supplier, we always look for a cost-optimized solution for our customers. We will write more about costs later.

Pick-by-Light Hardware and assembly

The Pick-by-Light hardware is very modular and flexible. The installation is very easy and has many advantages. The functionality is clearly structured.

  • Controller (communication and power supply)
  • Mounting rails with integrated BUS
  • compartment displays with signal lamp (2 x 7 colours), quantity display and one acknowledgement button

Almost all compartment displays (displays) are equipped with several additional keys (Plus, Minus and F key for special functions) to correct any errors. Not all compartment displays have the quantity display (only signal lamp and acknowledgement button). 

Mounting rail

Options of the compartment displays:

  • Sensor for automatic acknowledgement monitors the intervention on the storage compartment (access monitoring).
  • Digital I/O for receiving and transmitting external signals.
  • Beep tone

The hardware of the Pick-to-Light system is controlled by the LUCA software. The connection to the warehouse management system, material flow and conveyor technology is made via the LUCA-Server, which controls the entire processes. The system is very flexible.

pick-to-light sensor

The Pick-to-Light Sensor has an important new function in order picking. An optional sensor can be installed above or below the compartment display. The sensor covers the accesses to the storage compartment and automatically acknowledges the actions. The functionality of the automatic control is based on a light sensor. The exact mounting of the sensor must be precisely adjusted for the distance. The sensor as light sensor, can measure 15-20 cm without reflecting mirror. With a mirror, the distance can even be increased to 80-100 cm.

How does it work Pick-by-Light?

The principle: The picker is in the foreground. In the host system (merchandise management system) the order entry and preparation of the individual orders takes place. The warehouse management system prepares the orders (orders for the quantities of goods) for logistics. The paperless picking list with picking locations and quantities is transmitted to the system Pick-by-Light via a database, file or TCP/IP interface. The order data comes from SAP via IDOC or RFC. 

The Pick-by-Light system activates the required displays in the appropriate storage area (picking zone) according to the picking list. The LED lights and the quantity displays are switched on. The functions are active and picking can begin. The employee (also called picker) reads the quantity to be picked from the quantity display directly at the picking point (compartment). Additional information is shown on the alphanumeric displays.

The picker confirms the removal (picked quantity) from the storage bin at the acknowledgement button, which causes the compartment display to go out. The acknowledgement posts the withdrawal (immediate correction of the stock). The sequence is not important for the system. However, if the picking list defines a certain order, the compartment displays are switched on one after the other.

Once the picker has picked all items, the picking process is basically complete and the stock changes are reported back. The confirmation (feedback) takes place immediately. The shipping units (cartons, pallets, skeleton containers, etc) can be prepared for shipping.

The process here can be very different and customer-specific. In this case 100% customer satisfaction is very important to us. The process is LUCA-Server often individually adapted, whereby the quantity display is switched off immediately or only after the last confirmation on the acknowledgement button.

Material staging is controlled by Replenishment. The Pick-to-Light system can also provide very good support there.

Correcting the withdrawal quantity (plus/minus keys)

If there are not enough products on the shelf (container, wire mesh box, pallet, etc.), the picker cannot carry out the acknowledgement. The operator can acknowledge the error on the order using the correction keys on the quantity display (quantity corrections). The function key (F key) gives the picker additional options for a permanent inventory. The operation is very intuitive and requires almost no training of the pickers.

The frequency of the correction is strongly dependent on the quality of the merchandise management system. The entry in the goods receipt and the correct storage of the goods (replenishment) play a decisive role. Some merchandise management or warehouse management systems still leave a lot to be desired. The KBS buttons are very well integrated.

Pick-by-Light Activation with a barcode scanner

With a scan of the picking list or the picking container, the picker can also activate the pick order in the picking areas (also for a picking vehicle). Different devices (scanners) can be used in the activation method. The solution with this LUCA-Server is very flexible here.

Pick-by-Light assets and drawbacks

The advantages and disadvantages of a Pick-by-Light system can generally not be completely defined. Some characteristics can be clearly defined as advantages and some as disadvantages. Others depend on individual circumstances and situations in the system.

Advantages Pick-by-Light

Pick-by-Light system and the most important advantages at a glance:

  • The picker has hands free when picking (freedom of movement).
  • Optimum operator guidance through the picking list (also on the picking vehicle).
  • Great flexibility thanks to the wireless rail system. Simple mounting.
  • Quick conversion options for each display.
  • Very low error rate in picking.
  • Very low susceptibility to errors through the use of proven and error-free technology (automatic acknowledgement possible).
  • Increase of efficiency and productivity through optimized processes (pick and put).
  • Low training effort.

Disadvantages Pick-by-Light

Pick-by-Light system and the disadvantages in a nutshell:

  • Relatively high acquisition costs.
  • Difficult to use with freestanding pallets (special construction required).
  • Cable routing to each rail required.

Where is the Pick-to-Light system used?

The following industries have been successfully using our Pick-by-Light:

  • eCommerce: order picking, replenishment, sorting station in the dispatch warehouse
  • AutomotiveBatch picking and sequencing of shopping baskets and JIT racks for the assembly lines
  • Production: assembly stations, set formation and machine assembly

The paperless picking method is very versatile and is designed to support the picker and avoid picking errors. The field of application is large. The modules themselves only serve as output and input devices. The entire logic of the control, as well as the process, takes place in oursLUCA-Server .

Performance and quality of Pick-by-Light. How good is the picking method?

Performance and quality are opposing parameters. As a result, the more performance is expected, the less quality the order picker can achieve. Increasing performance and quality simultaneously is not easy with any picking method. The control software's solution is not everything.

As a leading order picking process, this Pick-by-Light is an excellent example of how performance and quality can clearly increase quickly and operator guidance is improved.

The performance increases up to 40%. The targeted support of access to the storage compartment also increases the quality by more than 15%. This minimizes picking errors. If sensors are used, the quality increases by another approx. 10%.

When planning paperless picking, it is essential to consider the profitability and the increase in efficiency. But so does the order picker himself. This Pick-by-Light requires a relatively large amount of hardware, which does not exactly make the procurement of the equipment cheap.

A ROI calculation must show whether the investment is profitable for the company. Get in contact with us. We will help you to carry out the calculations and explain the installation.

If the demand for performance is not particularly high and the storage areas are large, we can alternatively supply other technologies such as Pick-by-Scan, Pick-by-Watch, Pick-by-Voiceetc.

What is right? Pick-by-LightPick-to-light or put-to-light

Our answer is: all terms are correct!

Whereby Pick-by-Light and Pick-to-Light are often used as synonyms, which is actually wrong. Even the term Pick-to-Light indicates paperless picking, which has something to do with delivery or filing. Pick-to-Light is therefore often used as the name of a Multi-Order-Picking method for a Pick-to-Cart. After all, the term put-to-light clearly refers to sorting or replenishment to the storage bin, not picking a pick quantity.

We mainly use the term Pick-by-Light system to describe the picking process.

How flexible is Pick-by-Light?

Our Pick-to-Light is not one of the most flexible paperless picking systems. Due to the special Quick-Click-System the adjustment (modification) of the system is easy and flexible. A BUS is integrated in the aluminium profiles. The system displays are connected via three spring contacts, so that the power and data supply is guaranteed. Radio systems with battery operation are Pick-by-Light not suitable for.

To remove the displays, the warehouse worker only needs a simple tool. No cables and no screws. The data acquisition system automatically recognizes the compartment displays.

For a simple stock transfer within a picking zone, not even an IT conversion is required. The compartment display can be easily moved with the goods. The use at the picking vehicle is possible without any problems.

Add or exchange compartment ads

A new shelf display is clicked into the aluminium profile with a quick click in the system. Using a small tool (spatula), the mounted displays can be easily removed from the profiles according to the instructions. The displays can be configured via a web interface. Immediately afterwards, the picking process can continue. The application (middleware) does not need to be restarted for this. Failures of the compartment displays are hardly known. 

If the system is expanded, the new displays log on to the system fully automatically. Using the configuration, the preset description is flexibly adapted to the desired description (for example, storage location) and does not interfere with picking. Immediately afterwards, the picking location can be activated for the next picking orders. 

The exchange of the modules is also very easy. Only the physical addresses of the replaced displays are exchanged. The rest happens automatically. The software is also used to configure the assignment to the zones. This means that the order picker has almost no break. The exchange has nothing to do with the stock change. The training time is minimal.

Who can replace and configure the displays? You do not need to employ technicians for the conversion or expansion. The task is not complex and the technical requirements are minimal. Do you need personnel flexibility? No problem. With ours Pick-by-Light it is no problem.

Pick-by-Light Costs

We will be happy to provide you with a free offer. In another article we have described different versions of Pick-by-Light and pick-to-light and defined the required information. We would also be pleased to support you in your planning of paperless picking. Contact us to learn more about the system.

Conclusion

In logistics and production, the Pick-by-Light & Pick-to-Light System as a picking method is one of the best and very common picking methods. The order picker intuitively follows the light signals and quantity displays at the picking location and thus minimizes his search time (operator guidance through the orders). Numeric and alphanumeric quantity displays show the number of articles. Correction keys help in case of inventory errors.

Simple installation, robust acknowledgement buttons and the flexible conversion options make the system very attractive. Simple connection to any warehouse management system via the LUCA-Server brings enormous advantages. The system can also support permanent inventory very well. The aim is to achieve optimum operator guidance through customer orders.

However, in warehouses with many storage compartments the price is quite high. Therefore, it makes sense to use the system for picking A-items and to support the picking of B- and C-items with other technologies. Put-to-Light can also be used on the vehicle with WLAN to optimise picking picking times, travel times, etc.


Further articles on the topic Pick-by-Light

What is itPick-by-Light?
Where is it Pick-by-Light used?
Pick-by-Light Properties
Pick-by-Light: Order picking process
Pick-by-Light Picking zones
Pick-by-Light System
Pick-by-Light build it yourself?