For the automated supply of materials to assembly points and workstations in production halls and intralogistics applications, roller conveyors within eKanban racks are fitted with intelligent sensors. If a sensor registers the removal of a small load carrier (SLC) from its rack shelf, a request for replenishment is automatically triggered in the material flow control system. This in turn triggers an order of new materials, without any need for manual activity – and provision is oriented exclusively to real requirements.
Smart rack sensors monitor individual SLC container positions – "occupied" or "free" – and inform the wireless network immediately of any changes in status. The network guarantees that status and sensor ID are passed on reliably to the material flow control system. Here there is a clear assignation between each sensor and the relevant materials. The requirement for new materials is thus detected by the system and the replenishment process automatically triggered.
Use of sensors without cables means that whole eKanban racks can be moved to a different location at any time. In addition, a wireless system means that changes within a single rack can be made easily and quickly. For fast-flowing materials, or those with longer delivery times, the relevant roller conveyors can be fitted with additional sensors one behind the other, forming a cascade. This set-up permits more precise monitoring of rack occupancy and thus more reliable advance planning of materials requirements and replenishment.
For such applications, the usual solution is to take a mechanical or optical sensor. As an efficient alternative with this specific purpose in mind, steute has developed a dedicated, state-of-the-art rack sensor. This wireless tilting sensor comes equipped with a universal bracket for roller conveyor systems from different leading manufacturers and can be mounted in commercially available racks without any need for tools, as well as later removed. Additional settings, such as the transmission interval or the angle of inclination of the sensor, can be configured in the software, achieving maximum sensor flexibility.