31.05.2024 | Reading Time: 6 minutes | CAPTRON Editorial Team

WHAT IS PICK-TO-LIGHT

Pick-to-light or pick-by-light is an innovative picking system that is widely used in warehouse management. This technology uses light signals to show warehouse staff the exact storage location for the items to be picked.

The basic principle is to enable the efficient identification and removal of the correct products through visual displays. In the logistics industry, pick-to-light is used to improve picking accuracy, reduce picking time and minimize errors. This technology optimizes warehouse workflows and helps to increase efficiency in warehouse management.

The pick-to-light solution from CAPTRON SOLUTIONS works with a combination of flexible LED strips and intuitive one-grid software. This makes set-up particularly quick and easy.

Pick-to-Light: Explained quickly and simply

Overview of picking systems

When comparing picking methods such as pick-to-light, pick-by-voice and pick-by-scan, it is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each method.

Pick-to-light provides visual guidance for warehouse staff, resulting in fast and accurate picking. This method is particularly well suited to environments where high accuracy and efficiency are required, such as the pharmaceutical industry.

In addition, the world's first mobile pick-by-light system "ISAC" was developed, which adapts flexibly to different warehouse layouts and ensures fast and intuitive picking using computer vision and laser spotlight.

Pick-by-Voice, on the other hand, enables "hands-free and eyes-free" order picking, with employees receiving instructions via a headset and confirming them by voice input. This method is particularly suitable for environments in which the employee's hands must be free, e.g. when picking heavy or bulky items. This method can be very tiring for the employee, as they have to concentrate on the system's instructions during order picking. Teaching voice input is also time-consuming.

Pick-by-scan uses barcode scanners to identify items and locate storage locations. This method is more cost-effective and flexible than pick-to-light, but requires some employee training and can be prone to errors if barcodes are damaged or illegible.

Pick-by-vision is an advanced technology that uses augmented reality (AR) to improve the picking process in warehouses and distribution centers. Employees wear AR glasses or headsets that display visual instructions directly into their field of vision. These instructions provide information about the items to be picked, their storage locations and the most efficient way to get there.

Ultimately, the choice of the optimal picking method depends on the company's specific requirements and circumstances, and the pros and cons should be carefully weighed up.

Advantages Pick-to-Light

The implementation of Pick-to-Light in a company's warehouse management offers numerous advantages and considerable benefits. The use of this advanced picking system significantly increases efficiency in warehouse operations. The precise display of storage locations enables employees to find items quickly and pick them without errors, which leads to a significant reduction in the error rate. Picking processes are accelerated as the visual displays provide employees with clear guidance. In addition, pick-to-light helps to improve warehouse organization as storage locations can be used more effectively and bottlenecks can be avoided. Overall, Pick-to-Light enables companies to manage their warehouse more efficiently and therefore makes a significant contribution to optimizing the entire logistics process.

[Translate to Englisch:] pick-to-light prozessoptimierung
Process acceleration
by route optimization

 

Picking processes are accelerated as the visual displays provide employees with clear guidance and reduce search times at the shelf.

[Translate to Englisch:] pick-to-light fehlerquote reduzieren
Reduction of the error rate
through guided picking routes

 

Thanks to the precise display of the storage locations, employees can quickly locate the items and remove them without errors, which leads to a significant reduction in the error rate.

[Translate to Englisch:] pick-to-light effizienzsteigerung
Increased efficiency
through quick and easy order picking

 

The use of advanced picking systems such as multi-order or batch picking significantly increases efficiency in warehouse operations.

How Pick-to-Light works

[Translate to Englisch:] Pick-to-Light Lagerkommissionierung

The functionality of pick-to-light systems is based on a simple but effective principle that optimizes picking processes in the warehouse.

Typical components of a pick-to-light system include display modules, storage location displays and a connection to warehouse management systems. The display modules are attached to the storage racks or bins and use light signals to show employees the exact storage location for the items to be picked. The storage location displays provide additional information such as article number, quantity and other relevant data.

These systems are usually linked to the company's warehouse management system to provide real-time data and updates. When an item is picked, this is registered in the warehouse management system, enabling efficient inventory management.

Through this seamless integration and clear visual guidance, pick-to-light systems optimize picking processes and contribute to more efficient warehouse management. It is important to ensure that the software is intuitive to use and guides the picker quickly and accurately to the next storage location.

Areas of application

Pick-to-light systems are used in a wide range of industries, where they offer considerable advantages for warehouse management and picking processes.

  • In e-commerce, this technology enables efficient processing of large order quantities and shortens shipping times for customers.
  • In retail, pick-to-light improves warehouse organization and contributes to faster shelf replenishment, resulting in better product availability.
  • In the food industry, this technology ensures precise picking of perishable goods and thus minimizes waste.
  • In the pharmaceutical industry, pick-to-light is used to improve the traceability of medicines and ensure that the right medicines are selected for orders.

The versatility of Pick-to-Light shows that this technology is making a significant contribution to increasing efficiency in warehouse management in various industries.

Mobile Pick-by-Light ISAC

Since 2024, a mobile pick-to-light system has been available in addition to the classic pick-to-light system. It was presented for the first time by CAPTRON SOLUTIONS under the product name ISAC at LogiMAT.

In contrast to classic pick-by-light, where the light signal is mounted on the shelf, the picker carries the light signal with him on the picking trolley. This eliminates the need for complex installations and the high purchase price due to the hardware required. This can quickly minimize the actual benefits of a pick-by-light system, especially in large warehouses.

Special codes are used, which can simply be stuck to the material locations as labels. Using a camera integrated into the system, the mobile pick-by-light can now orient itself using the codes. To do this, it uses them to create a digital map of the warehouse with centimeter accuracy as it passes by. A digital twin, so to speak.

This data can be used to plan optimal routes and the system guides the picker quickly and efficiently through the warehouse via the intuitive graphical user interface. When the picker reaches the desired storage location, the built-in light beam on the picking trolley is activated and points to the corresponding code on the compartment.

The intuitive operation of the system makes it easy for pickers to find the next storage location.

[Translate to Englisch:] pick-by-light implementierung
Implementation tips for Pick-to-Light

 

When implementing pick-to-light systems, there are some important aspects to consider to ensure a smooth process and maximum efficiency.

Firstly, it is important to carefully consider the selection criteria and ensure that the chosen system meets the specific requirements of the business. This includes considering factors such as warehouse size, the type of items stored and the complexity of the picking processes.

Installation of pick-to-light systems should be carried out by experienced professionals to ensure proper function and integration. Thorough training of warehouse staff is essential to ensure that they can use the system effectively and understand all its functions.

In addition, best practices should be developed for smooth integration into existing warehouse processes, including optimizing workflows and adapting to new working methods.

By following these implementation tips, the introduction of pick-to-light systems can be successfully implemented and lead to an increase in warehouse management efficiency.

Development trends with Pick-to-Light

 

Development trends in the pick-to-light sector point to a promising future for warehouse management.

One of the most exciting developments is the increased integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) into pick-to-light systems. By networking devices and sensors, companies can collect and analyze real-time data on inventory levels and picking processes, which leads to further optimization of operations.

In addition, there are signs that artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly being used to increase the efficiency of pick-to-light systems. For example, AI algorithms can help optimize warehouse placement or predict demand to better manage inventory levels. Another important trend is the integration of robotics into pick-to-light systems, enabling automated picking processes. These advanced developments will make pick-to-light an even more powerful tool for companies in the warehouse management sector, helping them to remain competitive and successfully meet future challenges.

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