The new, semi-automated work station system Advanced Pick Station one-level by SSI SCHAEFER enables ergonomic and safe picking of heavy and fragile products, which cannot be thrown or must be handled using both hands. The system significantly reduces picking errors and its design meets all ergonomic requirements, as proven in a scientific study carried out by the Institute for Ergonomics & Human Factors at the Technical University of Darmstadt.
Picking is the central function of warehouse logistics and thus offers enormous potential for optimization. Demographic change and labor shortage, employee sick days, efficient returns management, integration of seasonal products into picking processes and increased demands thanks to e-commerce are typical challenges that companies face when it comes to the optimization of picking areas. SSI SCHAEFER has analyzed these challenges in detail and has developed a state-of-the-art and durable work station system: the Advanced Pick Station one-level.
The new Advanced Pick Station one-level is a semi-automated picking station particularly suitable for larger or fragile products which cannot be thrown or require handling with both hands, and thus may only be placed or layered into target bins or cartons. These include for example electronic items, books, bottles, glasses, spare parts or similar, making the work station suitable for any sector of industry. The ergonomic design of the Advanced Pick Station one-level is one of the main characteristics of the picking station. More than that: The Institute for Ergonomics & Human Factors at the Technical University of Darmstadt (IAD) has examined the ergonomic design of the work station and has confirmed its health-preserving work methods. IAD boasts more than 50 years of experience in evaluating physical strains and ergonomics at work stations, and has developed countless evaluation methods.
Ergonomics in intralogistics will become increasingly important in the future. Manual picking methods in operative logistics have always been physically straining. Decreasing performance rates, rising error rates and sick leave are but a few of the consequences of physically demanding tasks. About 60% of employee absence due to illness in the intralogistics sector is caused by musculoskeletal disorders. At the same time, the age of employees rises, the physical resilience, however, declines with age. Therefore, special logistics systems with ergonomic design such as the Advanced Pick Station one-level are called for. It enables aging employees to work in the warehouse in a health-preserving, value-adding way and increases the general attractiveness of the work station. A special feature of the work station is the height-adjustable work station platform, which can be adapted perfectly to the height of the employee. This helps to compensate anthropometric differences between various employees.
With the Advanced Pick Station one-level, larger items that require two-handed operation could be picked ergonomically and safely.
The development of the work station Advanced Pick Station one-level by SSI SCHAEFER focused on the user. This resulted in a design that allows the picker to perform his tasks ergonomically and quickly over a longer period of time with constant quality. At the picking station, storage load carriers and picking load carriers (bins or shipping cartons) are at the same height. Items are taken from one storage load carrier and picked into four picking load carriers, which are positioned to the left and right of the storage load carrier and enable efficient multi-order picking. The storage load carriers are supplied on a conveying system according to the goods-to-person principle. An intelligent communication and display system ensures intuitive and comfortable user guidance. It clearly indicates to the employee the picking load carrier into which the item is to be picked. The picking process is confirmed by pressing easy-to-use buttons, which are also known from trams or subways. The possibility to push picked goods over to the correct picking load carrier via a confirmation bar made of touch-friendly wood facilitates the work. After the picking process is finished, the conveying system automatically returns the storage load carrier to its storage location. The use of wood on many relevant contact surfaces of the work station system by SSI SCHAEFER creates a comfortable and user-friendly work environment, which has positive effects on the work motivation of employees. Orders for picking can be started via a centralized or decentralized control system.
An intelligent communication and display system ensures intuitive and convenient user guidance.
Easy-to-use buttons confirm the picking process.
Using a test assembly of the Advanced Pick Station one-level and a reconstruction at the premises of the IAD at the University of Darmstadt, data of joint angles and postures were evaluated under defined framework conditions (load weights, set-up and inclination of order bins and storage bins) using the widely-recognized EAWS method. The results were used to assess the ergonomic design of the work station. It was confirmed in a report that the analyzed Advanced Pick Station one-level complies very well with the current ergonomic standards for working postures (ISO 11226), manual handling of loads (ISO 11228-1) and repetitive straining of the upper extremities (EN 1005-5). This means that the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders is minimized. According to the report, layering and consolidating processes at the Advanced Pick Station one-level can be carried out without trunk flexion. The multi-order picking principle enables dynamic working, which is to be preferred over static postures (e.g. with single order picking). There are neither long walking distances nor increased energetic stress.
The Advanced Pick Station one-level enables health-friendly and efficient picking of larger and fragile products.
Returns are a huge challenge for every company, as their management is usually very complex and costly. Therefore, errors should be avoided already during staging of goods in order to not cause unnecessary returns. The Advanced Pick Station one-level ideally guides the operators and thus helps to reduce picking errors to almost zero and to process fragile products as gently as possible. In doing so, only correctly picked items are placed into the picking load carrier and damage to the products is prevented. This results in increased efficiency thanks to high picking performance rates and product safety.
Creating a durable solution was one of the main goals of SSI SCHAEFER while developing the work station. Energy efficiency was crucial. This goal was reached by applying the latest drive technology for rollers, which complies with current standards and guidelines. The work station can be operated without pneumatics, making the work station energy-efficient. By designing contact surfaces on the picking station out of touch-friendly wood instead out of plastic, SSI SCHAEFER contributes to sustainability as well.
Using the confirmation bar made of touch-friendly solid wood, the picked goods could simply be pushed to the correct picking load carrier.
The Advanced Pick Station one-level is the ideal addition to semi-automated picking systems by SSI SCHAEFER. This product family of the intralogistics expert includes a similar work station system called Advanced Pick Station two-level. This work station is suitable for items which can be thrown and is designed to reach a picking performance of up to 1,000 picks per hour and highest picking quality and performance thanks to clear, sophisticated user guidance as well as slot monitoring using light curtains at destination locations.
The Advanced Pick Station one-level can be connected to all automated miniload systems. A flexible connection using automated guided vehicles is also possible. Integrating seasonal products into the picking process poses a challenge for many companies. Thanks to the intelligent software, the supply of source load carriers can be flexibly adapted, enabling easy picking with the new work station system.