A Logistics Solution: Image-Based Barcode Readers

Gone are the days of customers happily waiting four to six weeks for an online, TV, or catalog order. Now, customers are clamoring for their packages to arrive tomorrow, and distribution centers are scrambling to comply.

So how is technology keeping up with the demand while cutting costs, efficiently streamlining the logistics process, and getting the orders to the customer with little ado.  Logistic and distribution centers rely on the tracking of orders, boxes, materials, and shipping, the goal being that the right order gets to the right customer every time.  This is done with barcoding and barcoding scanners.

To meet customer demand, manual, laser scanners just aren’t up for the job anymore, but image-based barcode readers are.  According to Cognex, “image-based barcode readers use an area array sensor similar to those found in digital cameras to acquire a picture of 1D and 2D barcodes. Then a microprocessor, running special image-processing software, locates and decodes the code before distributing the resulting data across a network”.  Here is how these image-based bar scanners can change the speed and flow of a distribution conveyor line.

Inbound logistics

When boxes are set on the conveyor, they have a barcode tracking label applied to them.  But what if the label is unreadable, damaged, or not fixed to the box correctly?  A Cognex image-based barcode reader can inspect the label at extreme angles exceeding 85 degrees.  If the scanner deems the quality of the label or how it was placed unacceptable, it routes the box to the rework conveyor or “hospital lane” to get a new label.

Order Fulfillment

In the pick and pack area, with an overhead image-based barcode scanner, the handler has one step to place an item where it needs to be.  If the handler had a laser barcode scanner, the handler would have to bring the item to the barcode scanner or bring the scanner to the item, scan and then place it.  Three steps.

Also, with an overhead image-based barcode scanner, the handler can now use both hands to handle and place the items. Why?  Because the overhead scanner can read the code at extreme angles, adapting to changes in height, rotation, barcode symbologies and sizes, and packaging materials.

With this technology from Cognex partnered with Integro Technologies, distribution centers around the world will have no trouble keeping up with the customer demand and high expectations without much ado.   Contact us about implementing this system today.

View machine vision inspection systems from Integro here or on YouTube.

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