Flanders Makes showcases autonomous warehouse inventory solutions
Through two proof of concepts financed by VLAIO, Flanders Make developed an autonomous drone solution to tackle the issue of counting full pallets in upper shelves and individual boxes on open pallets on the lower shelves. Both projects were combined and integrated into a single user friendly solution. It is being showcased at Log!Ville.
Keeping an accurate overview of stock levels in warehouses, remains a challenge for logistics and production companies. As flexibility is becoming increasingly important, goods have to be moved more frequently and as a result, the risk for errors is higher. It is therefore paramount that companies can perform regular inventory checks. However, this routine requires time and sometimes requires for a freeze of the operations and the mobilisation of many staff members at the same time. Another practical barrier is the height on which goods are stored and which requires personnel to check or scan barcodes with dedicated equipment that can reach the upper levels. Furthermore, humans make errors while counting stock and these result typically in accuracies less than 95%.
Flanders Make wants to assist companies in performing inventory checks more often, while removing the practical barriers, by developing a warehouse drone that can autonomously scan goods for example overnight, when no one is present. The stock count consists of two parts:
- Full pallets in the upper shelves
- Individual boxes on open pallets on the lower shelves
Pallet counting solution
The pallet counting solution has two cameras placed on each side of the drone scanning up to two levels at the same time on each side of the aisle. These cameras read and associate the QR code placed on the pallet to the Aruco marker placed on the shelf at a speed of up to 8 pallets per second and an accuracy of 98.75%
Box counting solution
The box counting solution uses a camera to read the two Aruco markers placed on the pallet to identify the product type and retrieve product information from the data base such as the dimension of a single box and the stacking pattern. A depth image overlapping with the color image is then used to count the boxes. The inventory of the boxes on a pallet is done at a rate of 8 pallets per minute and with an accuracy of 84.4%.
Demonstration at Log!Ville
A warehouse environment was replicated in Log!Ville to demonstrate the capabilities of the system. The demonstration is easy to setup and the output of the inventory is shown live on a graphical user interface. Automated stock taking offers multiple advantages such as the high speed and accuracy of the inventory, the ease to schedule and perform the inventory check, the possibility to operate at night or without anybody present and the ease to reach high levels without the need of a certified operator and without safety risks. Don’t hesitate to contact us to support your technological challenges!
- For an impression of the demo please have a look at our video on YouTube
- For further information please contact Wouter Lammens via Wouter.firstname.lastname@example.org
About Flanders Make
Flanders Make vzw, a supporting partner of Log!Ville, is a strategic research center for the manufacturing industry with focus on Flanders. It contributes to the creation of research and innovation capacity at top level and strengthens the competitiveness from the Flemish manufacturing industry. Flanders Make stimulates open innovation through excellent research from its sites in Lommel, Leuven, Kortrijk and locations at all Flemish universities.
VLAIO (Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship) is a financial partner of Log!Ville. It encourages and supports innovation and entrepreneurship in Flanders, contributing to a favourable business climate in Flanders. One of its four main tasks is to support businesses through grants so they continue to grow, transform and innovate.