Pick-to-Light Picking zones

Pick-to-Light System with several picking zones

What is a Pick-to-Light picking zone?

How do I plan a picking zone?

Are several employees allowed to work in one picking zone?

How flexible is the system?

... and much more.


In the article we explain the function and structure of a picking zone equipped with a Pick-to-Light system. We also show you how several order pickers can work simultaneously in such a picking zone.

What is Pick-to-Light Picking Zone?

A Pick-to-Light picking zone defines a certain number of storage locations that are accessed simultaneously during picking. One or more pickers work in a picking zone.

How do I plan a picking zone?

The size of the picking zone depends on many factors, which is why only a thorough analysis can give the correct answer. The most important thing is that the employees keep a very good orientation. Access to the goods should be fast and targeted. At the same time, the quality of picking must be as high as possible.

The system must provide optimal support for the employee!

On a semi-automatic picking system with conveyor technology, Pick-to-Light and flow racks, the picking zones are approx. 6-8 m long. The conveyor system also serves as a buffer, whereby the correct distribution of the goods in the zone is achieved by the A/B/C analysis. It is very important that the employee keeps a good eye on all Pick-to-Light compartment displays and has the shortest possible walking distances.

In completely manual systems with picking trolleys, the size of the picking zone varies greatly. Sometimes the zones are very long and are even operated by several employees at the same time. You will find out how this works in a moment ...

Fast navigation

A single picking zone can also have several hundred displays. Sometimes the picker also has to stand with his back to the Pick-to-Light (B or C items). To keep track of the storage compartments, special displays are used for quick navigation. At a glance, the order picker can see where the active storage compartments are approximately positioned (left-bottom, right-top, middle or in the back). In this way, a segment of the navigation display is assigned to each storage compartment. After each acknowledgement, the control automatically updates the navigation display.

In addition to the graphic display of active orders, the navigation display shows the number of open picks. Practical experience shows that the use of navigation makes the order picker 's work much more relaxed and faster. This results in an overall performance increase of about 5-7%. The low cost of the function justifies the investment.

Are several employees allowed to work in one picking zone?

Yes! The answer is clear, insofar as the LUCA-Server is used. With our system, several employees can work in one picking zone. We have multi-coloured LEDs available at the displays. Each employee and his order is assigned a separate colour. The problem of simultaneous access to the compartments is complex, but we have solved it very well. At LUCA-Server , a special procedure was developed for synchronising the issues and accesses to the same compartments.

This procedure enables correct coordination between the individual processes for several employees and orders. Each employee works with his or her own data. However, each process in the picking zone does not send the telegrams directly to Pick-to-Light, but to a synchronisation module. The module is then responsible for the correct coordination of accesses to the common storage compartments.

Do you want to know how exactly this works? Contact us ...

How flexible is a picking zone?

The function is not entirely simple, but it is possible. Not only the Pick-to-Light itself is affected by the challenge, but also the warehouse management system (WMS). Whether the dynamic division of the picking zones is really practicable, we cannot yet answer with a clear "yes". We always investigate these requirements very thoroughly and precisely before such systems are created. We have already developed many variants of the solution, but almost every solution was very customer-specific. We will soon present some examples of these in our other blog articles.

Conclusion

The division of a Pick-to-Light system into several picking zones is absolutely necessary. This allows several order pickers to process different orders at the same time. The division and size must always be determined individually. In the LUCA system, even several employees can pick simultaneously and efficiently.

Many years of experience in paperless order picking

Pick-to-Light