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Knapp Conveyor Uses RFID to Help Sort and Pack Items in Proper Sequence

The hanging conveyor system, outfitted with passive tags and readers, is being installed at a warehouse run by Olymp, a German manufacturer of men's shirts.
By Rhea Wessel
A built-in RFID reader on the conveyor track identifies each roll adapter by reading the unique ID number encoded to its tag. The system then links that ID to the bar-code data about the contents of the hanging bag. The RFID tags and interrogators are produced by Turck.

The bag of merchandise remains on the conveyor until all items within that batch have been picked and it is time to pack a shipping carton. At that point, bags are automatically moved along the conveyor to another station for packing. If a customer has requested a batch including seven items, for instance, the seven cloth bags holding those products will be moved into the order specified and then be forwarded to the packing station, known as Pick-it-Easy Pack.

With Knapp's Pick-it-Easy Pocket solution, RFID readers keep track of the whereabouts of items placed in cloth bags traveling along a conveyor.

Workers unpack the cloth bags from the front to the back of the conveyor line, placing the items in that same order inside the shipping box. Because the RFID tags associated with those hanging bags were interrogated at various intervals, the product within each hanging bag has been accurately identified, thereby enabling the system to make sure the goods are in the proper order for packing.

"For batch-picking of e-commerce orders, it's important that heavier items get placed at the bottom of the box," Lehner states. "Our system makes sure the items are in the right order for packing."

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