Modular Capabilities for Real-world Operations
February 9, 2021
The material handling industry is grappling with a disruptive technological revolution. Customers and e-commerce retailers are demanding ever-faster delivery, often at no cost. To keep pace, logistics distribution centers (DCs), manufacturers and other operations face a growing need to ensure peak system performance.
These challenges inevitably involve upgrading existing warehouse control systems (WCS) to fully integrated, modern systems that enable coordinated machine control, optimized operation and informed decision-making. While many such control system upgrades are emerging, operators must carefully balance the capabilities they provide against other factors, including:
- Capital expenditure and operational expenditure costs
- Ease of integration with existing equipment and infrastructure
- Future-proof scalability
- Anticipated ROI
In light of these factors, a significant gap has emerged in the market for control systems. While high-end solutions like warehouse execution systems (WES) offer robust options for practically every aspect of fulfillment and distribution, they typically provide more functionalities than most small- and medium-sized operations require. Third-party software solutions or custom workarounds can provide more affordable options in the short term, but risk becoming unsustainable over time.
The Missing Middle Ground
Despite the obvious advantages that could be gained from cost-effective modular solutions, many operations that need just one or two capabilities struggle to find cost-effective, modular and agile options.
Each of these key control functions can be used as a stand-alone service or packaged together to meet your specific needs:
- Embedded routing — Coordinates the movement of cartons from source to destination, managing movement on traditional conveyor and sortation systems. You’ll get real-time operational data that enables faster and better decision-making while reducing manual labor.
- Label printing — Flexible storage and printing of label data, compatible with Zebra (ZPL) and other major printing languages. User-friendly interfaces enable you to track print requests and printer information easily.
- Historical data tracking and business intelligence (BI) reporting — Create a self-maintaining archive that enables easy access to historical data, assisting proactive maintenance, increasing efficiency, and minimizing the chance of system failure. These metrics can also be pushed to a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) and rules can be set to create automatic work orders.
- Alarms and events — Real-time status, warning and alarm monitoring make it easy for your operational and maintenance staff to pinpoint exactly where an issue has occurred.
- Visual status modeling — Web-based models provide easy-to-use overviews of your entire operation as it appears on the floor. A color-coded system indicates each component’s status at a glance, providing a valuable troubleshooting and training tool.
Emerging WCS Alternatives
All of the functions mentioned herein are made possible by a set of cost-competitive tools from Honeywell Intelligrated. Designed for high-performance operations and easy IT support, Momentum Embedded Services is a modular collection of innovative, state-of-the-art, web-based conveyor and sortation control services.
No other solution on the market today makes the functions described above available in a format that allows you to pick and choose only the specific capabilities you need. By providing an alternative to all-inclusive control systems, this modular approach is substantially more cost-effective for many operations that only require one or more specific upgrades.
You can get a quick visual overview of Momentum Embedded Services from the infographic linked below. In addition to the options summarized herein, you’ll find information about the many additional benefits it can offer your operation, including:
- Modular design
- Low cost
- Reliable, high-performance conveyor and sortation control
- Automated maintenance routines that enable peak system performance
- Easy-to-access parts and maintenance information when needed
- Visibility to manage system resources and operations
- Modern, open-architecture design
See a visual overview of Momentum Embedded Services.
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