Eii introduced its new LightSort parcel processing solution at the 2016 Parcel Forum and received a strong reception from conference attendees looking for innovative and cost effective solutions for their operations.
LightSort was originally designed for a customer wanting both to increase throughput and reduce errors while sorting lightweight parcels and poly bags for the Postal Service. The customer also wanted a system that was flexible and mobile so that changing sorting configurations was quick and easy.
LightSort accomplishes this with a modular sorting rack that features several bin locations. When a barcode on a package is scanned, the correct bin destination “lights up.” Guesswork is eliminated and sorters can get the package to the right location every time. Any number of racks can be integrated into a sorting system.
The solution’s ease of use begins with quick assembly and intuitive operator training. For operations that have ongoing changes in sorting requirements, racks can be moved around in differing arrangements and bin locations instantly re-designated with new sort plans.
Rearrangement and new sort plans might happen several times a day. Operations that need to sort to a large number of destinations can split the work up into sorting groups. For example, a sorting requirement with 750 locations might be split into three groups of 250 each. This would necessitate only 18 racks vs. 54 of them, considerably reducing floor space requirements.
Changing sort plans is as easy as onboarding a CSV file via flash drive onto the rack controller device, and then scanning a sort plan barcode to determine which plan to activate. In the above example, if the three plans were utilized daily, operators would need only to scan the appropriate sort plan barcode when going to the next group of parcels.
LightSort’s features a wireless ring scanner that’s integral to the solution’s success. It allows for hands-free operation and barcodes can be sorted from any angle. Another key attribute is the organization of bags into the bin locations. Up to ten bags can be preloaded into each bin. When a bag is full, the operator can quickly unhook it, push it out the back and lift the next one into place.
At the Parcel Forum, Eii was elated when people came up and offered ideas for the solution that they could see in their own operations. Perhaps the most significant one was reversing the workflow entirely and utilizing the system in picking environments for small items. LightPick is now on the drawing board.
With LightSort, Eii has once again shown that throwing more automation at a problem isn’t always the optimal approach, especially if that automation is prohibitively expensive. LightSort leverages low cost technology, giving operators the opportunity to do their job more quickly with greatly reduced error and less stress.
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