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Application Spotlight Warehouse
Dispatch Management – Printer logistics solution
About the Customer
The customer operates on a global scale and combines multiple strong brands under one roof. Since its beginning in the early 70s the customer has become one of the best known companies in their fashion market with more than 1,000 self managed stores and sales spaces, more than 2,500 shop-in-shops and approximately 300 franchised stores worldwide as well as brand online-shops. Overall the shops have 7,000 employees worldwide and distribution channels in roughly 60 countries.
The customer needs to pack, label and track up to 2,700 cartons (packages) and 10,000 units of hanging goods per hour, i.e. a total of 30 million items per year. This enormous performance can only be achieved with the aid of powerful hardware and software systems. An important area is the printing of invoices and labels, which are individually controlled and must be printed at the same time as the item arrives on the packing line. These documents are then fed to the consignments automatically as soon as a carton arrives on the inserter. To ensure this happens, the printer must have a number of absolute requirements:
- Two printer tandem solution for maximum line utilization
- High paper capacity (so the operator does not have to constantly refill the paper)
- Robust printing unit for several hundred thousand pages per month
- Intelligent communication with the system and the document feeder via GPIO-interface (SPS-Control / programmable I/O), Status-Out and SNMP
- Economical printing solution
- High availability of printing technology and service
The production printers from the Microplex SOLID range are used for the production of documents. The SOLID 105A3-2 was selected because of the nominal print performance of 105 A4 pages per minute, the enormous paper stock of up to 8,000 A4 pages, the high monthly print volume up to 400,000 A4 pages landscape and a toner cartridge for up to to 120,000 pages of A4. Important in the decision was also the knowledge that with an increase in the through-put the printers can be scaled upwards with the faster sister device the SOLID 120A3-2 being available without having to re-program and re-synchronize the system.
The document is created within the system and then sent to the “smart” printer which is controlled via various bidirectional interfaces. The keywords here are programmable GPIO (SPS-Control), Status-Out and SNMP. There can be different operating conditions when interfacing with the neighbouring systems, information such as „page printed“, „printer ready“, „waiting for print release“, and much more.
The Benefit for our customer
The new centralized logistics center replaces the decentralised logistics warehouses and significantly increases the availability of the product. Previously the articles were already assigned to a specific sales channel during production, now this only happens when the product is picked. Therefore the customer can offer his customers the right items at the right time throughout all of the available distribution channels.