Imagine picking, assembly or production being fully automated and without humans. Yes, of course, that already exists. But have you thought about the cost of purchasing and maintaining such systems? Who can really afford the fully automated systems? So it's not that simple after all. Pick-to-Light and pick-to-light are a good compromise between full automation and the manual activities of order pickers.

We supply state-of-the-art systems with Pick-to-Light and help you immediately with a personal online consultation.

This big 2023 guide is designed to help you find the right solution for you. For this purpose, we have compiled the most important types of Pick-to-Light- and pick-to-light systems as well as their advantages and disadvantages. We have also compiled other very useful facts for you. With this comprehensive information, we want to make your purchase decision as easy as possible. Enjoy reading! We will answer your questions as quickly as possible and will be happy to advise you live from our online studio.

The most important in a nutshell

  • At Pick-to-Light and Pick-to-Light are paperless picking systems with compartment displays and acknowledgement keys. The functionality of both systems is identical. Pick-to-Light is used more as a term in German-speaking regions. The term Pick-to-Light is very popular in English-speaking regions.
  • Pick-to-Light are available in various designs. Here, the use of the compartment displays for picking, assembly and production (automotive) is distinguished.
  • Pick-to-Light is best suited for activities with high performance requirements with high quality expectations.
Performance & Quality
per storage compartment display
Pick-to-Light Increases performance and minimizes picking errors
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First, we will briefly introduce you to the classic of paperless picking:
Standard compartment display PTF-3N-4
Compartment display with signal lamp and 3-digit quantity display
Dimensions:130 x 50 mm
Execution:2×7-color LED signal lamp, 3-digit quantity display, plus/minus keys, robust acknowledgement key, F-key for special functions
Options:Sensor Up/Down for automatic access detection
Areas of application:Picking, assembly stations, sorting
>> learn more about PTF-3N-4
... and other 20 specialized ads with many options you can find here:

What is Pick-to-Light?

Pick-to-Light with compartment displays is a very modern, light-based, paperless picking process. The quantities from the pick list are displayed to the picker directly via the instruction on the pick tray and confirmed with the acknowledgement key.

Pick-to-Light understand quickly. Definition and explanation

Thanks to Pick-to-Light , the picker does not need paper for picking. All the most important information is displayed directly on the compartment display at the storage compartment. Here is an overview of the individual work steps:

  1. Picking, assembly or sorting is activated.
  2. The indicators light up very quickly and show the quantities.
  3. The picker performs his work and confirms with the acknowledgement key.
  4. The inventory change is posted immediately in the warehouse management.

In this guide you will learn all about Pick-to-Light.

Pick-to-Light Functionality

A Pick-to-Light compartment display is equipped with a highly visible eye-catching light, an acknowledgement button, a display and other function keys. With the acknowledgement button, the picker simply confirms the removal directly at the removal compartment. The inventory change of the quantity is immediately sent back to the inventory control or warehouse management system in real time and the flashing catch light with the quantity display is switched off. There are also compartment displays that are alphanumeric and show the picker other information in addition to the removal quantity.

The plus and minus correction keys (+/-) enable simple and direct correction of the withdrawal quantity in the event of stock shortages or inventory functions. Additional function keys are also available for calling up special functions.

State-of-the-art opto-sensors monitor direct intervention on the removal station, generate immediate error alarms if required, and support fully automated acknowledgement.

Barcode scanner, RFID reader, keystroke or telegram activate the jobs. Depending on the requirements, the removals can be carried out serially or in parallel.

Connection of the Pick-to-Light system

The flexible connection of the Pick-to-Light system to a higher-level system is crucial for optimal process flow. This can be a warehouse management system, warehouse management system or ERP program. The advantages of a simple and fast interface are essential and have a great influence on many functions in the entire process.

Standard interface

The standard interface of the Pick-to-Light system is realized via TCP/IP socket. Two asynchronous TCP/IP channels are established for data transmission in both directions.

Communication channels to the Pick-to-Light

The first channel (download) is used for activation and deactivation of the displays. Many parameters are included in the telegrams. The second connection channel (upload) is responsible for the acknowledgements, corrections, special messages and error messages.

A receive acknowledgement is sent to each channel. In this way, the data is transmitted quickly in a very secure manner. More details can be found in the article: Standard interface of a Pick-to-Light system.

Customized connection

In some cases, the process and data supply must be optimized. We develop customer-specific connections for this purpose. Talk to us to find out even more.

You can learn more about the history in the article: "History and development of Pick-to-Light ". Pick-to-Light, Picktolight, Pickbylight, Pick-2-Light, (P2L) are synonyms we also sometimes use. Put-to-Light is again a reverse process (read more: What is Put-to-Light?). Further definition on Wikipedia.

Pick-to-Light-System: Structure, Installation, Options and Extensions

Our Pick-to-Light system offers a wide range of options to optimally support your picking processes.

The system is one of the best in commissioning, modular and very flexible. The installation and mounting of the displays at any picking location is simple, and the subsequent conversion options are straightforward. Shelves or mobile constructions are ideal for this purpose. Regular maintenance of the Pick-to-Light system is recommended and ensures the quality of picking in the long term.

The functions are clearly structured and the light signals are unambiguous. The system supports various barcode scanners, RFID readers, scales.

Pick to Light System
The pick-to-light system on a mounting rail with integrated BUS requires no cables. The displays are attached using a simple click mechanism. The modules can thus be relocated or moved again very easily.

Other options:

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

The system is controlled by the LUCA software in real time. The connection to the higher-level system, material flow and conveyor technology takes place via the LUCA-Server, which controls the entire processes.

Innovation: Sensor for access monitoring at the Pick-to-Light compartment display

The pick-to-light sensor has an important new function in removal confirmation. It can be optionally installed above or below the display. The sensor monitors the accesses and also automatically acknowledges the activities.

The installation of the sensors must be precisely coordinated. As a light sensor, it can measure 15-20 cm without a reflective mirror. With a reflection mirror even 80-100 cm are possible.

Pick-to-Light with access monitoring

Learn more about the Pick-to-Light sensor in another article.


The Pick-to-Lighthardware guides the picker with light and consists of compartment displays, controllers and accessories.

  • Controller (communication and power supply)
  • Mounting rails with integrated BUS (shown here in yellow)
  • Compartment displays with signal lamps (2 x 7 colors), piece count display and an acknowledgement button
  • Cabling with 4-core cable between the mounting rails and controller

Installation and assembly, as well as commissioning are very unproblematic. The system is optimally prepared and suitably designed for this. The system is configured directly on the displays. Modifications and extensions are child's play and can be carried out by the trained personnel.

Overview of all hardware components: Pick-to-Light Hardware

Fields of application of the specialized displays

The following industries have been using our system to support picking tasks for many years:

  • eCommerce: picking warehouse, replenishment, sorting station in shipping warehouse
  • Automotive: Batch processing and sequencing of baskets and JIT racks for the assembly lines.
  • Production: assembly stations, set formation and machine placement

The Pick-to-Light system is very versatile as a picking method, supports the picker and avoids the picking errors. The field of application is large. You can read more details in the article: Where is Pick-to-Light used?

Picking with Pick-to-Light

Paperless picking is based on a pick list with picking orders. The data is transmitted by the warehouse management system and distributed to the appropriate picking areas of the picking system. There are many variants of the way it works.

The standard process

There is standard software at LUCA, in which the process of picking from a storage bin already meets 80% of all the requirements of the pickers. The aim is to minimize the error rate and speed up the picking process and picking process. However, very often the requirements for the system are very specific.

Start processing

Basically, there are two different start methods here:

  • Start via a document with barcode
  • Start of paperless picking via FIFO or external triggers

If the delivery bills, cartons or containers are marked with a barcode, barcode scanners can be used in the Pick to Light system. In this case, the displays can also be activated via the delivery bill or invoice. RFID technology is also supported.

Confirmation of removal at the acknowledgement button of the compartment display and end of job

Once all items have been picked from the storage bin, the picker confirms the pick directly at the bin by pressing the confirmation button on the bin display. This confirms the removal.

If the quantity is not correct, the correction keys (+/-) can be used to make the quantity corrections. Confirmation of the withdrawal triggers a feedback to the higher-level warehouse management system (WMS).

Mobile Pick-to-Light

Mobile use of the Pick-to-Light displays is possible on the picking cart or mobile frame construction. In this case, a replaceable and durable lithium-ion battery supplies the hardware components. The WiFi module provides the mobile data connection to the control system.

Mobile system with put-to-light compartment displays

Learn more about this in the articles: Pick-by-Cart and Pick-by-Frame

Support in assembly and production

The work during an assembly often consists of many steps. The employee must correctly reach into many containers according to the assembly instructions. An assembly process with assembly instructions on a piece of paper is not optimal. The luminous displays can significantly increase performance and quality.

You can learn more about this in the article: Pick-to-Light-Assembly

Pick to Light Mounting
Pick-to-Light on the assembly table optimally supports the assembly
Many years of experience in paperless order picking
Logistics and Production 2023

How good is Pick to Light and how much do the systems cost?

Performance and quality are opposing parameters. As a result, the more performance is expected, the less quality the picker can deliver and error rates increase. Increasing performance and quality at the same time is not easy with any of the picking methods.

Faster and cheaper is the goal. The capabilities of the control software are crucial here. The simple conversion options are also important.

As a leading order picking process, Pick-to-Light is currently providing us with an excellent example of how performance and quality can increase rapidly. In the process, operator guidance is improved by the light signals.

The rare repairs or replacement of the compartment displays confirm the system stability. Any troubleshooting usually does not require the intervention of LUCA specialists.

Picking performance

The performance increases up to 40%. Due to the targeted support of the accesses to the storage compartment, the quality also increases by more than 15%. This minimizes picking errors and teach-in time.

When using sensors, the quality increases by another approx. 10%.

The ROI calculation and the costs

When planning the system, it is essential to consider the economy and the increase in efficiency. Due to the low cost of the hardware, the procurement of the equipment is relatively inexpensive. The costs for the projects are justified by the expenditure with the hardware. Calculate as budget for the hardware with 100, - € per storage compartment.

An ROI calculation must show whether the investment is profitable for the company.

Advantages and disadvantages

The advantages

  1. Very low search time of the articles and increase of efficiency and productivity
  2. The operator has his hands free when picking and great freedom of movement
  3. Multilingual use with short training time for changing personnel
  4. Fewer pick errors from incorrect items and no missing removals
  5. Enables very high performance of the picker and short turnaround times in the workflow
  6. Fast and accurate quantity correction directly at the storage bin and direct feedback of the inventory change to the warehouse management system

The disadvantages

  1. Relatively high acquisition costs.
  2. Difficult to use with freestanding pallets (special design required).

Supplier and manufacturer

As a manufacturer, supplier and expert in picking solutions with Pick to Light , LUCA Logistic Solutions is very flexible thanks to the LUCA communication server software. We offer different technologies to achieve an optimal solution for the customer. We have been building our picking systems since 1998.


In logistics and production, this is Pick to Light among the best and very widespread error-free picking systems. The picker intuitively follows the light signals and quantity indicators at the pick location, minimizing his search time (operator guidance through the orders). Numeric and alphanumeric quantity displays show the number of items. In case of stock errors, the correction keys help.

Easy installation, robust acknowledgement buttons and flexible conversion options make the solution very attractive. Easy connection to any warehouse management system brings enormous advantages. The system can also support perpetual inventory very well. Optimal operator guidance through customer orders is the goal.

However, in large warehouses with many storage compartments, the price of mounting the displays is quite high.

Put-to-Light can also be used on the vehicle with WLAN to optimize gripping times, travel times, etc. during picking.
Learn more about Put-to-Light here: What is Put-to-Light?

The system is Industry 4.0 ready and is a leader in paperless picking.

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Current downloads:

Download: Pick-to-Light Automotive


What hardware does Pick-to-Light need ?

For a Pick to Light , the first thing you need are the compartment displays that are mounted at each storage location. They include LED lights, quantity displays and several buttons. Another system component you need is the controllers, which are used to supply power and data to the devices. The last thing to add are the mounting rails, clamps and cables.
If you want to know more details about this, visit the page: Pick-to-Light & Pick-to-Light [TOP Advice 2023] - LUCA Logistic Solutions.

What interface does Pick-to-Light have to SAP?

The SAP interface is not implemented directly with the hardware, but via a server. The server communicates on the one hand with the compartment displays and on the other hand with the higher-level system, e.g. SAP or warehouse management.
The connection via a server can be flexibly designed with RFC, TCP/IP, databases, etc. Read more about this on: Pick to Light Order picking - LUCA Logistic Solutions

Which specifications are required for a request of a Pick-to-Light system?

1. number and types of compartment displays (see: Pick to Light Hardware - LUCA Logistic Solutions )
2. number of mounting rails for attaching the modules
3. Total length of mounting rails
4. Layout and functional description
5. Inputs to the host or warehouse management system

How does Pick-to-Light work ?

The Pick-to-Light compartment displays light up as soon as a picking order is activated. The indicator light signals the display position from a great distance. The removal quantity is shown on the display. Correction is made as required using plus/minus keys. The picker confirms the goods removal (pick) at an acknowledgement button.

What is Pick-to-Light?

Pick-to-Light with compartment displays is a very modern, light-based, paperless picking process. The quantities from the pick list are displayed to the picker directly via the instruction on the pick tray and confirmed with the acknowledgement key.

Many years of experience in paperless order picking


Author: Slawomir Skarbecki

Author: CEO & Founder of the LUCA Logistic Solutions

Slawomir Skarbecki

Top expert, consultant and since 1990 until today an active software developer of picking systems and classic material flow controls (MFR). Inventor and author of various picking methods and specialist for interfaces and customer-specific flow processes. His motto: "In the foreground is a good concept and not only the technology"..