Optically guided picking technology developed by KNAPP

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Leading logistics solutions provider KNAPP is in the final development stages with its revolutionary optically guided picking system, which was previewed at CeMAT last year and is expected to be ready for installation early in 2010.

Branded KiSoft VISION, the optically guided picking system was demonstrated to members of the UK logistics press in KNAPPs state-of-the-art showroom at the companys recent MOVE 09 visitor event, held at the groups headquarters in Graz, Austria.

Integrated camera
KiSoft VISIONs integrated navigation system guides pickers to each required pick location using special software that superimposes virtual information such as arrow symbols directly in the visual field of the operator via a head-mounted display. This software technology is known as augmented reality. The technology is still in the development phase, explains Craig Rollason, Head of Sales and Marketing for KNAPP UK Ltd, but the final tool will be similar in weight and design to regular glasses. At the pick location, the goods to be picked are optically highlighted for the picker and an integrated camera reads barcodes, lot numbers and serial numbers to confirm the pick without any further human intervention. The automatic visual recognition means that accuracy is higher than with voice systems, explains Craig Rollason.

In addition to offering 100% error-free manual picking, KiSoft VISION allows new employees to be trained extremely quickly and to work flexibly. As with voice-directed picking, the system allows operators to keep both hands free for order picking. The components of KiSoft VISION are controlled via a warehouse software suite called KiSoft Flexible Picking, a solution that makes integration of this revolutionary picking technology in existing operations both rapid and simple. To optimise the comfort and ergonomics of the solution, KNAPP has been working in partnership with Austrian and German universities, as well as the Ars Electronica Futurelab in Linz.

Error-free warehouse
KiSoft VISION is just one solution within KNAPPs current drive for innovation to make the concept of the error-free warehouse a reality. Picking accuracy is universally desired but is now also becoming a legal requirement. Some of KNAPPs US pharmaceutical customers that are fulfilling direct orders face a rgime of 3 strikes and youre out in terms of misdelivery of controlled substances; the threat of the whole warehouse being closed down makes accuracy absolutely vital. Explains Craig Rollason, Although lot tracking is not yet a legal requirement in pharmaceutical wholesale in the UK although it is in veterinary wholesale it is likely to become law at some point. Lot tracking is common in Eastern Europe and will be come a legal requirement in France in 2011.

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