German brewers Flensburger turned to Cognex when it needed a reliable and robust hands-free solution for barcode reading at its enlarged logistics centre.
Aging handheld laser scanners are considered outdated technology: When the forklift drivers load trucks at the Flensburger brewery with filled kegs or beer crates, a Cognex barcode reader mounted on the mast recognises the pallet label and scans the barcode. This not only saves time, but enhances safety in congested forklift and truck traffic, and has proven its worth since the technology was installed.
In beverage logistics, operations centres require large amounts of goods to be handled at high speed. This is particularly true for the Flensburger brewery, as the company has achieved growth in a virtually stagnant market and sold a record of 628,000 hectolitres of beer in 2018.
In other words: 172,000 litres of beverages were brewed and bottled per day and divided into 17 kinds. The non-alcoholic beverage segment is also seeing strong growth, which has facilitated a business decision to build a new, larger logistics centre.
A new code-reading solution for pallet identification
For the present, the logistics managers are working closely with Jetschke to optimize the flow of goods and information in the existing building. Jetschke is the licensed dealer for Linde forklift trucks in the far north. The company with over 270 employees provides and services the fleet of robust and high-performance multi-pallet forklift trucks that convey the »Flens» to the trucks. In addition, Jetschke is responsible for incorporating mobile scanning solutions into the information flow, i.e. into Flensburger brewery´s merchandise management system.
Historically, the forklift drivers were equipped with a handheld scanner, with which they recorded the pallets to be loaded. A terminal in the forklift truck cabin displayed which lorry was to be loaded with the respective pallet and once the pallet was scanned and put on the lorry, the system registered the item as »loaded.» This is a common practice in many companies.
Pic caption (In beverage logistics, the technical equipment must withstand a lot. Thanks to their robust design, the DataMan readers from Cognex consistently achieve extremely high read rates over time)
However, Jetschke’s experts aimed for an even faster solution that was comfortable for the operators. The idea: An image processing system is mounted on the forklift truck’s mast, which automatically recognises the palette’s EAN code. The driver simply activates the scan at the touch of a button and so able to fully concentrate on driving and lifting the pallets; eliminating the need to handle the scanner. This saves time and enhances safety with the high volume of forklift trucks and trucks in the goods issue area.
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