SPR Packaging in Rockwall, Texas was searching for an automated pallet labeling solution to meet their immediate and future needs. Working with Weber packaging they decided they would purchase Weber automatic printer applicators, however they also needed a truly automated labeling solution which would interface to their EFI accounting software and Robopac automatic wrapper. They chose Matrix Solutions of Sanborn NY to provide this solution based upon their 15+ years providing labeling solution and their existing warehouse management capabilities as a potential future project.
EFI stores the product attributes, customer order data, wrapper recipes, pallet builds and weights. A pallet label with a datamatrix (2D) barcode is printed in production and applied to every pallet.
The solution starts with the Matrix System importing product and production records from EFI using the Matrix MIX service. This highly adaptable and configurable data interface tool easily integrates into unlimited data sources to import and export data.
When the pallet is inserted into the wrapper it could have 1 pallet, or 2 pallets on each physical pallet load. The operator triggers if the load is a single or double stack pallet. Using two Datalogic Matrix barcode reader the system reads the barcodes and creates a queue record to track the pallet. If either barcode no reads at the infeed the pallet is flagged as such. It doesn’t wrap or get labeled so the lift operator may inspect the pallet for a proper production label and retry.If the barcode(s) are read the system writes the wrapper recipe to the Robopac PLC and queues the pallet.
After the pallet wraps it stops at an inline scale and Matrix reads the weight from the PLC, triggering the first printer applicator. The first label is applied to the lower/single stack, then Matrix signals the PLC to proceed. As the second label applies a Datalogic Matrix 120 scanner verifies the pallet label. If there is a no read the label automatically prints to a Zebra manual printer so the lift operator may confirm that a scannable b arcode label is facing the warehouse floor.
If there is a second stack Matrix will print and apply two labels to the top stack. Pallet labels include customer/order specific data and formats, a unique serial number, and the pallet weight (divided by film impressions for double stacks). After the pallet is verified the data is exported to EFI to finalize inventory.
The system is highly integrated to provide the operators notifications if errors occur and the data necessary to take fast and accurate corrective actions. Every process and transaction generates a user, date and time stamped database record for excellent accountability and reporting. If any device goes offline or has an error (such as media out or communication errors) Matrix continuously monitors and responds. An alarm/light stack goes red and the operator uses the Matrix user interface to see exactly what the error is and how to troubleshoot and resolve the issue. If either printer applicator faults the system will automatically print to the manual printer until the issue is resolved, then it will print to the printer applicator.
Reporting shows pallets in queue, palletizing reports by date and product, weight reports, transaction reports and device health reports. When SPR is ready to implement the Matrix Inventory control module it will be a seamless interface to marry the EFI data with the palletizing data for true inventory control. The ROI on this system is anticipated to be less than 12 months due to more accurate weights on pallets for shipping audits, inventory accuracy, faster throughput, less manual labor and valuable accounting and accountability.