Patti Engineering Installs PC-based Sorting System

  • December 04, 2014
  • Patti Engineering, Inc.
  • Case Study

By Georgia  Whalen, Patti Engineering

As the world of e-commerce continues to grow, a growing percentage of a shipping company’s revenue is generated from business customers weighing and labeling their shipments in-house. While this is efficient for all parties involved, the accuracy of the scales can vary greatly at the businesses generating the labels. Creating a way to recover lost revenue from shipments that may have incorrectly stated actual weight of packages can add serious revenue to a shipping company’s bottom line!      The company Fives Intralogistics is a go-to resource for large shipping companies.  Fives designs and supplies world-class material handling and sorting solutions; automating internal logistics streams for postal and courier companies, distribution centers, and baggage handling systems. A large parcel delivery customer of Fives’ wanted to implement a system to recover lost shipping revenue. Fives solution included adding high speed inline checkweighers to its customer’s existing parcel sortation systems to recover the lost revenue on mis-weighed packages. Knowing Patti Engineering’s expertise in both sortation and Phoenix Contact’s Virtual Logic Controllers (VLC), Fives enlisted Patti Engineering to assist with this large, time sensitive project. As with most large shipping companies, the customer’s distribution hubs contain several integrated material handling processes with conveyors and automatic sorting managed and controlled by a sophisticated Warehouse Control System (WCS). The WCS is responsible for keeping everything running smoothly, maximizing the efficiency of the material handling subsystems, and interfacing seamlessly with the new weigh-in-motion scales. Phoenix Contact VLC is a PC-based control system with exceptional data handling capabilities. The customer used Phoenix Contact VLCs for conveyor logic and tag data handling. Patti Engineering’s portion of the project included making all VLC program modifications required to integrate the checkweighers (weigh-in-motion scales) into the existing sortation system.  Barcode tags were updated in VLC to communicate alarm status of the new conveyors and checkweigher devices to the Human Machine Interface (HMI).  Patti Engineering provided and configured a networked serial interface for communicating to the weigh-in-motion scales, confirmed all Input/Output (I/O) connections and resolved any wiring deficiencies with the electrical contractor. To complete the project, as-built electrical drawings were created for the new conveyors and extensive hands-on training was provided for the company’s maintenance personnel. “Together, Patti Engineering and Fives Intralogistics successfully executed a large in-line weigh scale project for a parcel delivery company. Meeting the aggressive installation schedule in a fully operational sortation hub was the result of close collaboration and planning between all parties and, simply put, a lot of hard work and long hours on the part of the on-site resources,” said Brian Mann, Customer Service Business Unit Leader, Fives Intralogistics. “Hats off to Logan Wohlford and the Patti Engineering team for a job well done. We are looking forward to working with Patti on future projects.” Fives’ customer is so pleased with its new system that options for additional control system upgrades on obsolete hardware and software are being evaluated for 2015. The expected ROI for Fives Customer’s revenue recapture project is less than a year! About Patti Engineering, Inc. Patti Engineering, Inc. is a CSIA Certified control systems integration company offering high-caliber engineering and software development services. Patti Engineering’s technical expertise in electrical control and information systems provides turnkey control systems integration for design/build, upgrade/retrofit and asset/energy management projects. Industrial automation, production intelligence and shop floor IT solutions services include: project management, electrical engineering, hardware design, hardware procurement, software development, installation, calibration, start-up testing, verification, documentation, training and warranty support. Customer satisfaction and project success earned the company placement in Control Engineering Magazine’s Hall of Fame.

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