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CASE STUDY: Automated Order Processing at Liquor Distribution Center

Written by Kang Abu on 1:59 PM

automated order processing

Class B Liquor Distributor located in Dallas, Texas uses fixed position scanners, vision systems and automatic label applicators to automatically process orders for their wholesale Liquor customers.

The Problem

Goody Liquor shipslLiquor, wine, beer and accessories from their Dallas, Texas Distribution Center to bars and restaurants in their geographical area. Prior to the installation of the current system, all order processing and tax stamp labeling was performed by hand requiring the full time attention of up to eight employees. According to Goody management, this process was both time consuming and prone to error and theft. These problems have virtually disappeared after the installation of the automated order processing system by Cornerstone Automation Systems Incorporated (CASI) that fully automated the order processing and tax stamp application  process.

integrated order processing

automatic order processing system from CASI utilizes table top chain conveyors, fixed position barcode scanners, vision systems, a label applicator, Rockwell PLC conveyor control and CASI’s SolidCount™ software to automate the process.

Hardware Description

  • Table Top
    Chain Conveyor
  • CASI-1050
    Control Console
  • Eight Data
    Logic Matrix 2000 Barcode Scanners
  • ST-600 Label
  • DVT Vision
  • Keyence Color
    Vision System
  • Rockwell
    MicroLogix 1200 PLC

Software Description

  • SolidCount™
    Production Counting Module >
  • SolidComm™
    Legacy Host Interface
  • Custom
    PLC Controls

Releasing Orders

At the beginning of a run, the system uses the SolidComm™ communication module to get the order information from the Goody Goody Liquor Enterprise System. This data contains the expected UPC barcodes from the order. A custom modification to SolidCount™ enables conversion of the 6 digit UPC-E to their twelve digit uncompressed version.

in-bound barcode scanningIn-Bound Scan

the data for the order is downloaded, the system announces via pre recorded .wav file that it is ready to run. Bottles are placed on the conveyor and the array of eight Data Logic Matrix 2000 barcode scanners read the UPC barcode from all the positions the numerous manufacturers have placed them. The Matrix 2000 was chosen for this application due to its ability to decode low contrast barcodes at up to a 70 degree pitch or skew angle, as well as a 360 degree tilt.

automatic labeling
Automatic Tax Stamp Labeling

The Matrix 2000 was chosen for this application due to its ability to decode low contrast barcodes at up to a 70 degree pitch or
skew angle, as well as a 360 degree tilt.

OCR Capture of the Tax Stamp Number

As the stamp is fed onto the bottle, a DVT Vision System is used to capture the stamp number using the OCR tool. The tax stamp information is included in the customers shipping paperwork for his order providing proof each bottle has a tax stamp number. These OCR images can be saved as well to a hard drive.


vision systems

Label Placement Confirmation
Label Placement Confirmation

Once the stamp is on the bottle, it is seated with an air knife and a secondary wipe brush. Finally, a Keyence color vision system is used to positively verify that a properly seated tax stamp is on the bottle. Great care is made to ensure the tax stamp has been captured and is on the bottle, as missing stamps have caused
bars to lose their liquor licenses in the past.


Exception Processing

OCR Label Verification
Bottles that cannot be processed due to an unreadable barcode or failure of the OCR Capture or Label Verification are diverted to an exception lane.

The No Surprises Approach

the standard CASI System Implementation Methodology, the critical parts of the system were modeled at the manufacturing center in Prosper Texas. Once all the components were working properly, the customer is invited to the manufacturing center to view the system.

Benefits from the New Efficiencies

Process Improvements have been dramatic producing a rapid payback on the original investment. Wrong items being shipped have disappeared along faster order processing. These gains allow Goody Goody Liquor to get
their orders out the door faster and more efficiently than before providing an advantage over their competition.

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