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Logistics IT

The warehouse is becoming smarter

Apps are conquering the world of intralogistics: smartphones and tablets are moving their way into storage and picking areas, supporting a wide range of processes.

16 Nov. 2015
KiSoft SCADA
KiSoft Scada only needs a web browser to be able to use the visualisation.

Digitalisation

Our world is becoming increasingly intelligent, networked an mobile - and this development also extends to the storage and picking areas of commercial, industrial and service companies. Smartphones and tablets are moving their way into the world of intralogistics, supporting a wide range of processes.

"We are currently seeing increasing use of mobile terminals among our customers," says Volker Welsche, Head of Sales for Germany at psb intralogistics GmbH, which is headquartered in Pirmasens. "All of our intralogistics systems are customised to match the requirements of the relevant customer," he says, adding that particular focus is placed on applications that are optimised for mobile terminals and are also used on desktops at the same time, as these are easy to adapt to account for the specificities of various projects.

"Easy adaptability is particularly important throughout the systems’ duration of use as intralogistics systems often have to be adapted to account for changing business processes at points throughout their long life span," says Welsch. "Users in the project application are either the operators themselves or customers’ and psb’s service staff who use such applications to facilitate high system availability and therefore a high level of service in general."

App for documenting pallet exchange

The "PalletCheck Express" app, which was developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML) and the and the European Pallet Association (EPAL), has been available for Android devices in Google Play Store for a few weeks now. It documents pallet exchange, therefore helping to save costs. Until now, pallets have had to be manually recorded and checked off if exchange was to be documented. The app automates these processes and, as a result, saves time. Precise documentation also ensures that users do not have to write off as many pallets. The idea comes from IML'’s research project "MoVET"”. After the project was completed the app was developed further along with EPAL, and is now also offered by the EPAL Academy. It is only available in German-speaking countries for the moment, and after the free 30-day trial it costs 6.90 euros a month for a subscription with a termination period of one month. An iOS version and versions in other languages will soon be available.

The app works on any normal smartphone. The user simply takes a photo of a stack of pallets, then the app counts the pallets, creates an exchange document, and automatically sends it by e-mail. Alongside the exact number of pallets, this contains the location and time of the applicable exchange procedure. The photos, which are also contained in the e-mail, provide a reliable impression of the quality of the pallets. This means that exchange is documented quickly, simply and reliably. Saving one pallet per month should be enough to cover the cost of the app.

psb
Smartphones and tablets are increasingly moving their way into intralogistics, supporting a wide range of processes.

Possible uses for warehouse navigation and system monitoring

The areas of logistics in which apps, tablets and smartphones can be used are manifold. Hamburg-based intralogistics provider Jungheinrich has developed two applications that can also be found in Google Play Windows as well as Apple's iTunes Store: a "logistics guide" and a warehouse navigation app. With the logistics guide, Jungheinrich provides its customers with the appropriate pallet truck, forklift, picker or tow tractor for any operation – whether as a new vehicle, as a second-hand truck or for rent.

There are around 600 vehicle options to choose from. Added to this is a wide range of shelving systems, batteries, charging devices, other accessories and services. The warehouse navigation application is a kind of game that simulates Jungheinrich's warehouse navigation. This means that the user is always able to experience the benefits of warehouse navigation first-hand on their iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.

The software package "KiSoft Scada" from Knapp improves system monitoring. Interruptions to system operation are avoided as possible problems can be reacted to proactively. If unforeseen errors occur, these are quickly located. Simple and transparent information and testing aids are available for remedying problems so that trained system technicians are able to fix malfunctions within the shortest possible time. KiSoft Scada is a web application, meaning that you only need a web browser to be able to use the visualisation. It exclusively uses vector graphics (SVGs), which ensure high-resolution presentation of graphic interfaces on a wide range of terminals, such as PCs, tablet PCs or smartphones.

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