Emerging Technologies

Innovative tools of the trade 

By Daren Maynard

Scanning inventory; packing it in

As the warehouse grows bigger, we need more sophisticated tools to help manage it. The Granit 1280i Industrial-Grade Full Range Laser Scanner by Honeywell helps scan items into the inventory management system. This can be supplemented by the UltraRail Pallet Rail-Shuttle System by Integrated Systems Design.

The Granit 1280i Scanner is a handheld scanner designed with the user in mind. It scans linear barcodes from as close as 3.5 inches (8.9 centimeters) to as far as 54 feet away (16.5 meters). The accuracy level and responsiveness of the scanner makes manual data entry less of an issue. Operators can sit on their forklifts, scan through layers of shrink-wrap and maintain productivity on an active warehouse floor. This productivity is further supported by the use of bright LEDs with changing aimer patterns when successful reads are done, higher decibel values for the beeper, and a vibrating response.

The scanner has a sturdy structure capable of tolerating 5,000 tumbles from 3.2 feet (1 meter). It can operate in temperatures as low as negative 22 degrees Fahrenheit (negative 30 degrees Celsius). This durability is ideal for any warehouse, no matter the location or function, as it reduces service costs and decreases downtime. The Granit 1280i Scanner is easy to maintain as cables can be installed and replaced with a single-screw, slide release. Additional cable options include a super-industrial cable tested to the most rigorous flex and cable pull standards.

The UltraRail Pallet Rail-Shuttle System is an automated storage and retrieval system used for industrial warehouses that move thousands of pallets daily. The system increases the capacity of the warehouse by eliminating the aisles, converting the end of each lane into a storage and retrieval location. This allows operators to pack the warehouse more densely, increasing space utilization. The system works with mechanical force to move the pallets in or out on rails. As the first pallet is pushed into the slot, the second pallet being loaded pushes on the first and pulls the chains. When removing the pallet, the chains move in the opposite direction. This system is suitable for companies that work with last-in, first-out inventory policies.

The advantage of the UltraRail System is it can be installed in current pallet rack and drive configurations. It is modular, which allows for easier movement and changes in sizes. Its applicability extends to inventory buffering, high bay storage, pallet picking, staging and truck loading supported by forklifts. Maintenance is simple – just pick out the debris – and pallets suffer less damage. The system is adapted to work in environments ranging from cold to room temperature.

Daren Maynard is the portfolio management lead for Novus Tech Limited and F1RST Media Limited in Trinidad and Tobago. He has an M.S. in program and project management and a B.S. in industrial engineering. He is a member of IIE’s Young Professionals group.