In this article we will answer the question whether you can build a Pick by Light system yourself. We will use our experience as a longtime supplier to give you an objective answer. Thereby we will discuss different aspects like: feasibility, problems, economic efficiency and the possibilities for this. In the end, however, you will have to make your own decision.
If you are interested in further details, you should definitely read our main article on the subject of Pick by Light: "Pick by Light - the ultimate guide“. Many other topics are also covered and answered there. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We have summarized the answers as FAQ under. Further information about Pick by Light is also available on Wikipedia.
Build it yourself or develop it yourself?
The decisive factor here is what skills you and your employees or colleagues have. Do you perhaps know companies that produce Pick by Light completely or only supply electronic components? Do you have developers and fitters available? In the end you have to ask yourself what is more economical? Either to build it yourself or leave the craft to the professionals?
Do you want to assemble Pick by Light yourself?
OKAY. Why not? We supply you with the equipment and support you in planning. Our system is very modular and requires only few special tools. However, mechanical and electro-technical knowledge is required for the assembly. Therefore you can also build a pick by light yourself.
It is quite simple:
1. define the type and number of displays for your process. Tip: The currently available displays can be found here: Displays Gallery.
2. determine the total length and the number of mounting rails for mounting the displays.
3. draw a layout of the system and plan the cabling and the number of controllers. Tip: For smaller systems, plan a maximum of 100 displays per standard controller. For large systems, max. 400 displays per XXL controller. The cable paths should be as short as possible. We will also be happy to support you in this.
4. do not forget power supply and network for the controllers!
5. prepare Windows server (also possible as virtual machine).
6. define the process flow and the interface to your system (SAP, WMS, LVS, production control, etc).
After that, only a simple installation, commissioning, training and that's it.
Yes, of course it's possible. You need mechatronic specialists and some simple tools like: A mitre saw for aluminum, a cordless screwdriver, and standard power tools. If you don't have any specialists, we can also supply you with a turnkey system including complete assembly and commissioning.
Of course at LUCA ... On the market you can find several Pick by Light suppliers. However, some of these systems are already very outdated and technically outdated. LUCA as a system integrator works with the best electronics manufacturers from Germany (KBS). Pick by Light made in Germany!
When your cabling is complete, the system is simply switched on. Nothing can happen. The controllers are equipped with automatic fuses. If everything is correct and communication is working, the small LEDs on the displays and on the controllers will flash. If you have any problems, we will be happy to help you.
This can be done very easily via a software on the LUCA-Server. Once the technical commissioning has been successfully completed, all available displays automatically log on to the server. Using simple storage location lists (e.g. as CSV: storage location ; zone), many displays can be taught very quickly in a teach-in mode. Smaller installations and changes can of course also be made manually.
The LUCA basic software is installed on a Windows server provided by the customer (also possible as VM). The software controls the displays. There are several standard interfaces to the higher-level systems. Actually you only need to send your electronic picking list. If required, we develop customer-specific interfaces and special process sequences.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Your LUCA team
The question is whether our experienced installation teams work better, faster and cheaper than your specialists who have to deal with the subject first? In the case of self-assembly, the question of warranty and guarantee also arises, which we must then deal with separately.
Develop Pick by Light yourself?
Since about 1990, highly qualified electronic engineers and software developers have been dealing with this topic. The components have gone through several phases of development during this time. During this time the problem of distributed BUS systems has been tested and certified several times in laboratories and in practice. As a result, the effort of the last years was already very big. Some vendors have tried to circumvent the real BUS problems and have used the very obsolete ASI-BUS for this purpose. Unfortunately with only little success.
For this very reason, we only recommend that you "develop" a Pick by Light system yourself if you know exactly what you are doing and have a large team available.
Which specialists do you then need to develop a Pick by Light system yourself?
- Electronics engineer
- Software Developer
- Specialists for certifications
- Quality assurance
- Repair workshop
- Marketing and distribution
- ... and many reliable partner companies
Whether you have the team or can put it together, you have to answer yourself. Certainly the financial aspect must be taken into account. The development of the first Pick by Light systems used to take several years. But back then, the requirements were not as high as they are today.
As a supplier of various picking systems, we are very open to a collaborative and optimized cooperation with our customers. For this reason, your share of possible on-site services can be very high if you wish. This way you can save your costs. Nevertheless, we can of course also supply turnkey solutions. Just talk to us ...
In another blog, we will soon give you a precise definition of the necessary and possible on-site services required and possible when setting up a Pick by Light system. So don't miss anything and sign up for our LUCA newsletter. You will find a form for this below.
Surely, for small pick by light systems with a small number of displays, it is possible to create the systems yourself. Simple LED lamps and buttons can now be controlled by any PLC. However, the cabling effort is very high here. In most cases, however, a professional Pick by Light system is cheaper and more effective. Our displays are professionally developed and work on a BUS system. Therefore a later conversion or extension is possible without any problems.
An answer to the question "Pick by Light self-build?" must be answered by every businessman for himself. If you have any further questions, please contact us.