Power of Machine Vision in Logistics Automation

If the worldwide pandemic of 2020 revealed anything, it's that supply chains aren't as robust as they seem, and plenty of organizations don't know where their goods are when an unexpected event takes place.

This is particularly true at the level of pallets, shipping containers, and trucks, which lack adequate visibility and real-time tracking information. However, warehouses, fulfillment, and last-mile centers also suffer from logistics issues despite having the best visibility in the supply chain in general.

The main issues stem from widespread labor shortages and lack of warehouse space, prompting many businesses to push for more productivity from the same headcount and within the same space. This causes ineffective processes to break down faster, which in turn produces downtime or other financial losses.

These issues can be alleviated by integrating machine vision and machine vision systems into logistics automation as a means of enhancing the supply chain effectiveness and reliability through increased visibility and traceability of goods.

Benefits of Machine Vision Automation in Logistics

The logistics industry's supply chain consists of several processes that ensure goods are efficiently transported from suppliers to end customers. Given the increasing complexity and speed requirements of modern logistics, product identification and traceability are also becoming increasingly important.

This is where machine vision systems come in; visual analysis ensures timely and accurate product delivery, which maintains customer satisfaction and fosters further business growth.

Here are some of the most significant benefits of machine vision systems in logistics automation:

Accuracy and Reliability

Machine learning implementations into vision technology ensure object and defect detection in logistics automation, but with machine-like precision, which provides more consistent results. Since these systems aren't as prone to errors as human operators, machine vision automation significantly decreases the risk of any inventory management errors by streamlining the identification, sorting, and traceability of goods.

Efficiency and Speed

Machine vision systems for logistics automation don't relate to reading barcodes, QR codes, lot numbers, and other code data alone. Machine vision streamlines logistics operations across the board, from automating picking and sorting robots to faster quality control checks. This real-time analysis and process optimization enables immediate decision-making that keeps the logistics operations moving swiftly and smoothly at every point in the supply chain.

Cost Savings

Increased accuracy and reliability have advantages of their own. By minimizing errors associated with handling goods, vision systems also reduce the costs associated with returns, rework, and customer dissatisfaction. Furthermore, automation is much more efficient compared to human operators. While it incurs sizable one-time payments, it reduces the need for manual labor, leading to significant cost savings in terms of employee training and unexpected turnover.

Safety and Compliance

Machine vision systems in logistics automation monitor compliance with various safety standards and protocols while also taking over hazardous and physically demanding tasks. This leads to a decreased risk associated with workplace accidents, enhancing the overall safety of the logistics environment.

Overall Increased Efficiency

Automation in logistics also guides numerous processes besides mere inspection. They identify and inspect received goods, aid in labeling, sorting, and palletizing products, help optimize warehouse layout, monitor inventory levels, and track the locations of goods. Machine vision identifies and retrieves goods, which are then prepared for delivery.

Applications of Automated Logistics Solutions

Logistics and warehouses typically run mostly on barcodes due to the coding method's universality. Nearly all information can be encoded using 2D barcodes, and the more these codes are scanned within the supply chain, the better the visibility.

Though the industry was previously dominated by human operators with handheld barcode scanners, a switch to machine vision directly addresses labor shortage and efficiency issues while also providing more opportunities for further verification and decision-making.

However, modern machine vision systems, such as KEYENCE's XG-X Series, excel at object recognition. These systems can acquire accurate product dimensions, detect damage or defects, flag missing products, and even optimize warehouse storage space.

Automated warehousing implies an automated sorting system, which means goods are properly packaged and labeled before the automated system sorts them according to size, shape, and subsequent delivery.

The applications of automated logistics solutions extend beyond mere barcode readers and warehouse automation. They also verify shipments against purchase orders, update inventory levels, and streamline the overall receiving process.

Streamlining Operations with Automation in Logistics

Logistics automation relies on technology-driven automated systems that optimize various processes associated with the logistics industry. It incorporates many different advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine vision, robotics, and others. As such, it also inherits many advantages offered by said technologies.

This includes relying on visual sensors, such as the VS Series, to perform a visual analysis of each logistics process, ranging from reception and quality inspection, storage preparation, labeling, sorting, and storage to retrieval for order fulfillment and subsequent delivery to the end consumer.

By streamlining these operations, logistics automation minimizes the risk of error, positively affecting customer satisfaction and business growth while cutting operational costs.

What is Logistics Automation, and How Is It Implemented in the Industry?

Logistics automation refers to implementing automated systems powered by artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and other technologies to optimize various processes associated with the logistics industry.

The implementation is carried out by integrating automation technologies and equipment that rely on machine vision systems and data analytics for quality control, item tracking, and enhanced accuracy regarding verification and handling of goods.

How Does Machine Vision Automation Contribute to Improved Efficiency in Logistics Processes?

Machine vision systems improve the efficiency of logistics operations by increasing the processing speed of automated tasks, such as sorting, scanning, and quality inspections, and provide higher accuracy in tracking and inventory management. This leads to an overall reduction in errors, leading to further optimizations and greater reliability of logistics automation systems.

How Does Automation in Logistics Improve Safety and Security for Both Workers and Goods?

Machine vision systems are capable of detecting potential hazards before they can cause accidents and call for preventive maintenance. They're also capable of operating in environments that are potentially dangerous to humans, which reduces the risk of accidents and injuries for employees and massive financial liabilities for business owners.

KEYENCE offers comprehensive machine vision system solutions for enhancing your logistics operations, so contact us today and inquire about vision system integrations today!