Precision control in Lyngsoe Sort Mate™ 2000 AMH systems
Why do precision control in sorting?
At Lyngsoe Systems, we are very focused on precision control of the sorting process on the Sort Mate™ 2000 AMH (Automated Material Handling) systems for libraries. The precision means that the customer has minimal need for monitoring the system and that items get sorted correctly. Both these benefits may sound banal but should not be taken for granted.
How is precise sorting done?
The precise control is enabled through several components: photoelectric sensors, encoders, and the advanced Lyngsoe software. It is in the intelligent combination of these inputs that the precision is created.
High quality motors, belts etc. ensure, that the items are, where they are expected. By knowing how far a belt was moved by using the encoders to measure the rotation of the motor driving the belt. Combining this with the photoelectric sensors looking up at the library items passing over them and measuring the time it takes to pass, we have a good measurement of the length of an item.
Knowing the length and when an item passes a photoelectric sensor means we know, where it is on the sorter module and therefore the discharge can be done in precise positions. Discharge is done by lifting and activating the rollers to either side.
Although happening faster, than what we can easily see, the belts and rollers are speed-controlled, so there is an acceleration and deceleration for further precise control of the item movement.
Lyngsoe Sorter Controller™: Real-time Tracking for Reliable Sorting
Add to that, that the Lyngsoe Sorter Controller™ (LSC) in combination with these inputs keeps real-time track of the library items and availability of the destinations. This allows for a real-time decision-making process and therefore reliable feedback that a specific item was sorted as expected. Or why it maybe had to be discharged at another destination to ensure continuous sorting.
LSC can backtrack on item level if something unexpected happened. Likely an item being sorted to an unexpected destination was caused by a setting in the sort table, which can be easily corrected. Or the library item was sent to the exception bin at the end destination to keep sorting even though a destination has run full and needs to be emptied.
Why is precision sorting useful and important?
By doing precise discharge of library items and intelligent sorting the need to be at and physically monitor an AMH system is minimized.
Without precise control or use of the option most items will most likely be discharged in the middle section of a module. This can easily cause a pile being build in the center of the bin/receptacle. Library staff probably need to push over piles for proper filling of a bin. This manual process can mean up to three times as much labor force needed compared to a distributed discharge.
At other times it is highly beneficial to sort precisely centered, so a stable, vertical stack is built in a stacking cart like the Lyngsoe Ergo Cart™. This way stacks stay stable during the sorting process and when undocking the cart and transporting the items to the shelves. The more centered, the more stable. In the Ergo Cart™ further design details such as the patented squeeze function and a slightly offset backplate make it extremely reliable to choose ergonomy for library staff.
The same sorting precision and use of photoelectric sensors for detecting true filling of a receptacle also allows that one sorting module can be separated into two destinations. This is very useful for handling small library items groups such as DVD’s without investing in more sorter modules than necessary. Should the need decrease further so the separation is no longer necessary, this split chute, as we call it, can be combined as one logical destination in the Lyngsoe Sorter Controller™.
Other practical benefits from precision control
The precise control becomes very important in general, as sorters grow in size/length. Without precise control and tracking, incorrect discharge will occur. Mis-sorts will create an increased need for manual handling and intervention and demand more labor force.
Dividing long and short items in logical destinations are a practical way for using the available capacity to the fullest. You can for example set up a logical destination consisting of two physical destinations, assign them to children’s books and see how the longer items build a perfect ready for shelving in one cart, while the shorter items do the same in the other or go into an Ergo Bin™.