WO2019083199A1 - Goods transfer system using picking robot - Google Patents

Goods transfer system using picking robot

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Publication number
WO2019083199A1
WO2019083199A1 PCT/KR2018/011939 KR2018011939W WO2019083199A1 WO 2019083199 A1 WO2019083199 A1 WO 2019083199A1 KR 2018011939 W KR2018011939 W KR 2018011939W WO 2019083199 A1 WO2019083199 A1 WO 2019083199A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
goods
transport cart
picking
transport
worker
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/KR2018/011939
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Joon Pyo Park
Eun Ji GO
Young Youn Song
Koo Po Kwon
Tae Young Chung
Original Assignee
Cj Logistics Corporation
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Cj Logistics Corporation filed Critical Cj Logistics Corporation
Publication of WO2019083199A1 publication Critical patent/WO2019083199A1/en

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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65GTRANSPORT OR STORAGE DEVICES, e.g. CONVEYORS FOR LOADING OR TIPPING, SHOP CONVEYOR SYSTEMS OR PNEUMATIC TUBE CONVEYORS
    • B65G1/00Storing articles, individually or in orderly arrangement, in warehouses or magazines
    • B65G1/02Storage devices
    • B65G1/04Storage devices mechanical
    • B65G1/137Storage devices mechanical with arrangements or automatic control means for selecting which articles are to be removed
    • B65G1/1373Storage devices mechanical with arrangements or automatic control means for selecting which articles are to be removed for fulfilling orders in warehouses
    • B65G1/1378Storage devices mechanical with arrangements or automatic control means for selecting which articles are to be removed for fulfilling orders in warehouses the orders being assembled on fixed commissioning areas remote from the storage areas
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B25HAND TOOLS; PORTABLE POWER-DRIVEN TOOLS; MANIPULATORS
    • B25JMANIPULATORS; CHAMBERS PROVIDED WITH MANIPULATION DEVICES
    • B25J11/00Manipulators not otherwise provided for
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B25HAND TOOLS; PORTABLE POWER-DRIVEN TOOLS; MANIPULATORS
    • B25JMANIPULATORS; CHAMBERS PROVIDED WITH MANIPULATION DEVICES
    • B25J5/00Manipulators mounted on wheels or on carriages
    • B25J5/007Manipulators mounted on wheels or on carriages mounted on wheels
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B25HAND TOOLS; PORTABLE POWER-DRIVEN TOOLS; MANIPULATORS
    • B25JMANIPULATORS; CHAMBERS PROVIDED WITH MANIPULATION DEVICES
    • B25J9/00Programme-controlled manipulators
    • B25J9/0093Programme-controlled manipulators co-operating with conveyor means
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B25HAND TOOLS; PORTABLE POWER-DRIVEN TOOLS; MANIPULATORS
    • B25JMANIPULATORS; CHAMBERS PROVIDED WITH MANIPULATION DEVICES
    • B25J9/00Programme-controlled manipulators
    • B25J9/16Programme controls
    • B25J9/1679Programme controls characterised by the tasks executed
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65GTRANSPORT OR STORAGE DEVICES, e.g. CONVEYORS FOR LOADING OR TIPPING, SHOP CONVEYOR SYSTEMS OR PNEUMATIC TUBE CONVEYORS
    • B65G1/00Storing articles, individually or in orderly arrangement, in warehouses or magazines
    • B65G1/02Storage devices
    • B65G1/04Storage devices mechanical
    • B65G1/137Storage devices mechanical with arrangements or automatic control means for selecting which articles are to be removed
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B19/00Programme-control systems
    • G05B19/02Programme-control systems electric
    • G05B19/418Total factory control, i.e. centrally controlling a plurality of machines, e.g. direct or distributed numerical control [DNC], flexible manufacturing systems [FMS], integrated manufacturing systems [IMS], computer integrated manufacturing [CIM]
    • G05B19/4183Total factory control, i.e. centrally controlling a plurality of machines, e.g. direct or distributed numerical control [DNC], flexible manufacturing systems [FMS], integrated manufacturing systems [IMS], computer integrated manufacturing [CIM] characterised by data acquisition, e.g. workpiece identification
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05DSYSTEMS FOR CONTROLLING OR REGULATING NON-ELECTRIC VARIABLES
    • G05D1/00Control of position, course or altitude of land, water, air, or space vehicles, e.g. automatic pilot
    • G05D1/02Control of position or course in two dimensions
    • G05D1/021Control of position or course in two dimensions specially adapted to land vehicles
    • G05D1/0212Control of position or course in two dimensions specially adapted to land vehicles with means for defining a desired trajectory
    • G05D1/0225Control of position or course in two dimensions specially adapted to land vehicles with means for defining a desired trajectory involving docking at a fixed facility, e.g. base station or loading bay
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING OR COUNTING
    • G06QINFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY [ICT] SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL OR SUPERVISORY PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL OR SUPERVISORY PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/04Forecasting or optimisation specially adapted for administrative or management purposes, e.g. linear programming or "cutting stock problem"
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING OR COUNTING
    • G06QINFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY [ICT] SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL OR SUPERVISORY PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL OR SUPERVISORY PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/08Logistics, e.g. warehousing, loading or distribution; Inventory or stock management
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING OR COUNTING
    • G06QINFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY [ICT] SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL OR SUPERVISORY PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL OR SUPERVISORY PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/08Logistics, e.g. warehousing, loading or distribution; Inventory or stock management
    • G06Q10/087Inventory or stock management, e.g. order filling, procurement or balancing against orders
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65GTRANSPORT OR STORAGE DEVICES, e.g. CONVEYORS FOR LOADING OR TIPPING, SHOP CONVEYOR SYSTEMS OR PNEUMATIC TUBE CONVEYORS
    • B65G2209/00Indexing codes relating to order picking devices in General
    • B65G2209/04Indication location means
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65GTRANSPORT OR STORAGE DEVICES, e.g. CONVEYORS FOR LOADING OR TIPPING, SHOP CONVEYOR SYSTEMS OR PNEUMATIC TUBE CONVEYORS
    • B65G2209/00Indexing codes relating to order picking devices in General
    • B65G2209/06Use of order trucks
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B2219/00Program-control systems
    • G05B2219/30Nc systems
    • G05B2219/31From computer integrated manufacturing till monitoring
    • G05B2219/31043Bin, storage identifier and workstation identifier
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B2219/00Program-control systems
    • G05B2219/30Nc systems
    • G05B2219/45Nc applications
    • G05B2219/45063Pick and place manipulator
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02PCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES IN THE PRODUCTION OR PROCESSING OF GOODS
    • Y02P90/00Enabling technologies with a potential contribution to greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions mitigation
    • Y02P90/02Total factory control, e.g. smart factories, flexible manufacturing systems [FMS] or integrated manufacturing systems [IMS]

Definitions

  • the present invention relates to a goods transfer system, which combines an autonomous combination picking and classification operation model using robots and an operation methodology.
  • the autonomous combination picking and classification operation model using robots of the present invention may mean a combination of an operation model for transferring goods while a transfer robot is connected to a transport cart and an operation model using a picking robot.
  • the DPS is a goods picking system using digital markers and may mean automatic recording of inventory or the like as a digital signal in real-time at the time of shipping goods.
  • the DPS is particularly advantageous for a shipment work of a small quantity of diverse goods.
  • the DPS is also called as a PTL distribution system.
  • the PTL is a concept including Put-to-Light or Pick-to-Light, and since the shipment work is digitally displayed according to whether the goods are distributed or picked up, a worker may easily recognize the goods and grasp the work quantity in real time. In the PTL, it is most important to quickly process goods using a limited number of cells by stacking the goods in the cells andfilling empty cells with goods when the goods in the cells are exhausted by picking.
  • the operation method of processing a shipment order at a logistics center is largely divided into two types.
  • the firstone is an order-basis picking method of picking up goods corresponding to an individual order from a storage rack (hereinafter, referred to as order picking), and the second one is a method of adding all orders and picking up a total quantity of goods (hereinafter, referred to as total picking), stacking the goods in a facility and classifying the goods byorder.
  • a Picking Cart System (PCS) is used to process the order picking.
  • the PCS is formed as a transport cart having about eight to twelve separated cells, and a worker confirms a picking order sheet, moves the transport cart by himself or herself to a location where a large quantity of goods are stored, confirms the goods with naked eyes or through bar code scanning, and picks and loads goods of a quantity corresponding to the order in each cell. Then, the worker moves to another location and repeats the same work.
  • the total picking is used when an automation facility like the DPS is utilized since ordered goods are collected at a time and then a shipment workby address is performed, and particularly, the total picking may efficiently process orders of large quantities.
  • Korean Patent Registration No. 10-1576026 is disclosed as a prior art related to the DPS
  • Korean Patent Registration No. 10-1533360 is disclosed as a prior art related to the order picking.
  • the order picking is capable of shipping in response to an order by using only a transport cart, there is a disadvantage in that its efficiency rapidly falls since the worker should pick the same sort of goods several times when there are a large quantity of orders.
  • the total picking is disadvantageous in that an automated classification facility is separately needed to classify a large quantity of stacked goods.
  • the present invention has been created to simultaneously compensate for the disadvantages of the two picking methods mentioned in the background art, and an object of the present invention is to configure a DPS by docking and arranging dedicated transport carts to perform the total picking function, together with the order picking, and provide an operation model for organizing cells of the transport carts using a picking robot and dynamically allocating goods among the transport carts.
  • a goods transfer system comprising: at least one transport cart including a plurality of cells on which goods are loaded; and a picking robot capable of moving the goods loaded on the transport cart, wherein the picking robot receives information on goods allocated to the plurality of cells and relocates the goods or supplements shortage of goods.
  • information on goods may include whether the goods are loaded or a quantity of the goods.
  • the goods transfer system may further comprise a server for managing at least one among location information of the transport cart, location information of the picking robot and information on the goods allocated to the plurality of cells included in the transport cart.
  • the picking robot receives the information on the goods allocated to the plurality of cells through the server.
  • the goods transfer system may further comprise a transfer robot for moving the transport cart.
  • the picking robot may include a body unit having wheels on a bottom or fixed to a floor, and at least one arm provided to individually pick up the goods.
  • the picking robot relocates the goods or supplement shortage of goods in a Goods-To-Person (GTP) method, after the worker picks up goods from the transport cart one or more times, so that goods to be classified next may be close to the worker.
  • GTP Goods-To-Person
  • the goods transfer system may further comprise a conveyor provided to transfer a plurality of goods; and a plurality of docking stations provided in a longitudinal direction of the conveyor for the transport carts, and a Digital Picking System (DPS) is configured through the conveyor and the docking stations.
  • DPS Digital Picking System
  • the transport cart moves on the docking station in a GTP method, after the worker picks up goods from the transport cart, so that goods to be classified next may be close to the worker.
  • a plurality of transport carts placed on two adjacent docking stations moves in association with each other so that goods to be classified may be close to the worker.
  • a plurality of transport carts may be arranged side by side on the docking stations along the longitudinal direction of the conveyor.
  • a rotatable circular plate may be installed on the docking station, and a plurality of transport carts may be arranged along an arc of the circular plate.
  • a lifter for moving up and down the transport cart may be provided on the docking station.
  • an automatic charging device may be provided in the docking station.
  • the picking robot changes location of goods considering information on the goods allocated to the plurality of cells of the transport cart and information on a position of a worker near the transport cart.
  • a plurality of transport carts operates at the same time, and the picking robot receives information on goods allocated to a plurality of cells of the plurality of transport carts and moves the goods between the transport carts.
  • a method of receiving order information on a quantity and a type of goods and operating a goods transfer system in a total picking method comprising the steps of: (a) docking a transport cart to a docking station using a transfer robot; (b) classifying goods picked up from the transport cart by order; and (c) relocating goods on the transport cart or supplementing shortage of goods using the picking robot.
  • the goods transfer method may further comprise the step of (d) displaying information on picking of goods allocated to a plurality of cells of the transport cart.
  • docking of the transport cart is automatically accomplished.
  • the picking robot relocates goods or supplements shortage of goods in a Goods-To-Person (GTP) method, after a worker picks up goods from the transport cart one or more times, so that goods to be classified next may be close to the worker.
  • GTP Goods-To-Person
  • the transport cart moves on the docking station in the GTP method, after a worker picks up goods from the transport cart, so that goods to be classified next may be close to the worker.
  • a plurality of transport carts placed on two adjacent docking stations moves in association with each other so that goods to be classified may be close to the worker.
  • the present invention has an advantage of effectively processing(classification and shipment work in general) a large quantity of diverse goods using limited resources of a logistics center.
  • a transport cart is used not only for order picking, but it may also operate in a way optimized to be suited to the characteristics of delivery orders as the function switches to an automated facility of total picking classification.
  • the goods loaded in the transport cart may be exhausted in an arbitrary order during the DPS work, and in this case, the worker should move to pick up goods loaded at a location far from the position of the worker, and this leads to decrease in productivity due to increase of working hours.
  • the present invention there is an advantages of reducing the moving line of the picking worker as the picking robot identifies locations of empty cells of the transport cart and performs a function of dynamically allocating goods.
  • the worker may perform the picking work with a shortest moving line.
  • the number of operating transport carts can be adjusted without consuming time and cost generated by physical changes of fixed-type facilities when a quantity of order and goods to be processed abruptly increase or decrease, there is an advantage in that it is possible to flexibly respond according to the quantity of order and a situation at a work site.
  • FIG. 1 is a view schematically showing the configuration of a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 is a conceptual view showing the configuration of a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 3 is a view showing the concept of dynamically allocating goods of a transport cart in a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 4 is a view showing a goods transfer system operated in a Good-To-Person (GTP) method when transport carts are arranged on docking stations in a straight line according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • GTP Good-To-Person
  • FIG. 5 is a view showing a goods transfer system operated in a Good-To-Person (GTP) method when transport carts are arranged in a circular shape on docking stations according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • GTP Good-To-Person
  • FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating a method of operating a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • 'including' a component is an expression of an 'open type' which merely refers to existence of corresponding components, and it should not be construed as precluding additional components.
  • FIG. 1 is a view schematically showing the configuration of a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 is a conceptual view showing the configuration of a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 3 is a view showing the concept of dynamically allocating goods of a transport cart in a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • a goods transfer system includes at least one transport cart 30 including a plurality of cells on which goods are loaded, and a picking robot 50 capable of moving the goods loaded on the transport cart 30. At this point, the picking robot 50 receives information on goods allocated to the plurality of cells and relocates the goods or supplements shortage ofgoods.
  • information on goods allocated to a plurality of cells may be interpreted as a meaning including whether the goods are loaded or a quantity of the goods.
  • the goods transfer system of the present invention may further include a server 100 for managing at least one among location information of the transport cart 30, location information of the picking robot 50 and information on the goods allocated to the cells of the transport cart 30, and at this point, the picking robot 50 receives the information on the goods allocated to the plurality of cells using the information provided by the server 100.
  • the server 100 includes software for operating the transport cart 30, the picking robot 50, and a transfer robot 40 and a docking station 41 described below, and it means that the server 100 grasps information such as location and movement of each component, a situation of the overall picking work, whether goods are loaded in each cell of the transport cart, and a quantity of the goods in real-time.
  • the goods transfer system of the present invention may further include the transfer robot 40 for moving the transport cart.
  • the transfer robot 40 is placed under the transport cart 30 to move the transport cart 30, and although it is shown in the figures that the transfer robot 40 is connected to (or combined with) the transport cart 30 at all times, contrary to the views shown in the figures, the transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30 may separately operate as needed. For example, after the docking is completed, the transport cart 30 and the transfer robot 40 may be separated from each other.
  • the transfer robot 40 may be provided with a connection unit for connecting the transport cart 30, and an information transmission and reception unit for receiving identification information of the transport cart 30 and movement information of the transport cart 30.
  • the transfer robot 40 may include a control unit for controlling movement and connection operation of the transfer robot 40 according to the identification information and the movement information of the transport cart 30.
  • a method of identifying the transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30 each other is not limited to any specific embodiment.
  • a QR code scanning method, an image scanning method or a bar code scanning method may be used.
  • a method of connecting the transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30 to each other is also not limited to any specific embodiment.
  • a magnet or a connecting joint may be provided on the contacting surfaces of the transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30, or a clamping instrument capable clamping the frame of the transport cart 30 may be provided in the transfer robot 40 to connect the transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30.
  • the transfer robot 40 may be provided with an elevation unit, and configuration of the elevation unit is also not limited to any specific embodiment.
  • the elevation unit is a configuration rising or falling through an actuator provided with a screw or an elastic member.
  • the transfer robot 40 may freely move in a space below the transport cart 30 by adjusting the height of the transport cart 30 or the height of the transfer robot 40 through the configuration of the elevation unit.
  • a display unit may be provided in the transport cart 30 to display load information of goods (including whether goods are loaded and a quantity of loaded goods), and the display unit herein displays information of goods loaded in each of the plurality of cells.
  • the display unit may be provided at one side of the transport cart 30 in the form of a tablet PC or may be provided in each cell of the transport cart 30 as a display device of a small LED form and using it,
  • the PTL system mentioned in the background art can be implemented.
  • the location information of the transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30 may be stored and managed in the server 100 by communicating with the server 100, and information on the goods allocated to the plurality of cells of the transport cart 30 may also be stored and managed in the server 100.
  • the transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30 may operate to perform order pickingsuited to the order information using the information stored in the server 100.
  • the picking robot 50 of the present invention is a constitutional component distinguished from the transfer robot 40.
  • the picking robot 50 includes a body unit 51 having wheels on the bottom or fixed to the floor and has at least one arm 52 provided to individually pick up the goods.
  • a loading platform for loading a small quantity of goods may be provided on the top surface of the body unit 51.
  • the picking robot 50 operates independently from the transfer robot 40.
  • the picking robot 50 may also be provided with an information transmission and reception unit for receiving identification information of the transport cart 30 and movement information of the transport cart 30.
  • thepicking robot 50 may include a control unit for controlling movement and connection operation of the picking robot 50 according to the identification information and the movement information of the transport cart 30.
  • the picking robot 50 may be a mobile type provided with wheels on the bottom as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, according to embodiments, it may correspond to a fixed-type picking robot 50' fixed to the floor to operate. Although it will be described below, as shown in FIG. 5, it is general that the fixed-type picking robot 50' may be mainly used in a situation in which a plurality of transport carts 30 is arranged on a circular plate 31.
  • the method of identifying the picking robot 50 and the transport cart 30 each other is also not limited to any specific embodiment, like the method of identifying the transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30 each other.
  • a QR code scanning method an image scanning method or a bar code scanning method may be used.
  • the picking robot 50 is a configuration which does not move the transport cart 30 by itself, but changes the location of goods placed in the divided cells on the transport cart 30, the arm is provided as an actuating device, unlike the transfer robot 40.
  • the length of the arm can be adjusted, and a clamper capable of adjusting a location in a three-dimensional space is provided at an end portion to freely move the goods loaded on the transport cart 30.
  • the location information of the picking robot 50 may also be stored and managed in the server 100 by communicating with the server 100, and when movement of goods between the transport carts is accomplished by the picking robot 50, information generated thereby may also be stored and managed in the server 100.
  • information generated by the movement of goods between the transport carts includes information on From-To locations of the goods moved between the transport carts.
  • the server 100 of the present invention may grasp information such as the a situation of the overall picking work, whether goods are loaded in each cell of the transport cart, and a quantity of the goods in real-time and transmit information for dynamic allocation of goods to the picking robot 50. Accordingly, the control unit provided in the picking robot 50 issues a driving command to the arm to change the location of the goods loaded on the transport cart.
  • the goods transfer system may further include a conveyor 20 provided to transfer a plurality of goods, and a plurality of docking stations 41 provided in the longitudinal direction of the conveyor for the transport carts.
  • a Digital Picking System (DPS) is configured through the conveyor and the docking stations.
  • transport carts 30 adjacent to the conveyor 20 may mean configuring the DPS, and a transport cart 30 adjacent to a goods loading deck 10 may mean performing order picking.
  • FIG. 1 It is shown in FIG. 1 that five docking stations 41 (S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6, S7, ...) are provided in parallel on one side of the conveyor, and in the goods transfer system of the present invention, docking stations more or less than the number of docking stations shown in the figure may be provided according to embodiments.
  • the goods transfer system of the present invention may operate in both states of combining the transport cart 30 and the transfer robot 40 and separating the transport cart 30 from the transfer robot 40.
  • the transport carts 30 are provided on one side or both sides of the conveyor along the longitudinal direction of the conveyor 20 to configure the DPS and perform goods classification works.
  • the worker may perform a work of classifying (shipping) goods by picking up the goods from the transport cart 30 and placing the goods on the conveyor 20 or, on the contrary, perform a work of classifying (receiving) goods by picking up the goods transferred on the conveyor 20 and placing the goods on the transport cart 30 according to goods order information.
  • FIG. 4 is a view showing a goods transfer system operated in a Good-To-Person (GTP) method when transport carts are arranged on docking stations in a straight line according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 5 is a view showing a goods transfer system operated in a Good-To-Person (GTP) method when transport carts are arranged in a circular shape on docking stations according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • the picking robot 50 may perform a function of relocating empty cells after the work of picking up goods from the rear side of the transport cart 30 or perform a function of supplementing shortage of goods on the transport cart.
  • the picking robot 50 may relocate goods or supplementshortage of goods in a Goods-To-Person (GTP) method, after the worker picks up goods from the transport cart one or more times, so that the goods to be classified next may be close to the worker.
  • GTP Goods-To-Person
  • that the goods are moved to be close to the worker may mean moving the location of the goods on one transport cart or moving the location of the goods between a plurality of transport carts.
  • the picking robot 50 may move the location of goods allocated to another cell of the first transport cart 30A so that the worker may conveniently pick up the goods at the next operation.
  • the picking robot 50 performs relocation of goods allocated to the second transport cart 30B or supplement of goods while the worker performs a work of picking up goods only from the first transport cart 30A and classifying (or distributing) the goods, when the picking work and the goods relocation work are performed on the first transport cart 30A at the same time, the worker may be prevented from being confused, and productivity is not affected.
  • the GTP method may be directly applied to the transport cart 30, as well as the picking robot 50.
  • the transport cart 30 moves on the docking station in the GTP method, after the worker picks up goods from the transport cart 30, so that goods to be classified next may be close to the worker.
  • transport carts are placed on two adjacent docking stations, they may move in association with each other so that goods to be classified may be close to the worker.
  • a rail (not shown in the figure) may be installed on the docking station so that the transport cart 30 may movewithout help of the transfer robot 40.
  • the work of picking, relocating and supplementing goods as described above may be displayed through an integrated marker 70 and/or a cell marker 71 installed in the goods transfer system of the present invention.
  • the integrated marker 70 may be installed on the transport cart itself as shown in FIG. 4, it can be installed on the conveyor 20 or a monitor not shown in the figure.
  • Various means, such as lighting a lamp, displaying digits and the like, may be used as a display method, and information on picking up goods and information on relocated and supplemented goods may be provided to the worker or a manager in real-time.
  • first transport cart 30A and the second transport cart 30B move straightly in an axis direction parallel to the X-axis, it is not necessarily limited thereto. For example, they may move straightly in a direction parallel to the Y-axis or in another direction.
  • a plurality of transport carts is arranged side by side on the docking stations along the longitudinal direction of the conveyor.
  • FIG. 5 An embodiment, in which a rotatable circular plate 31 is installed on the docking station and a plurality of transport carts 30 is arranged along the arc (or the circumference) of the circular plate 31, may beadditionally included in the present invention. This embodiment is shown in FIG. 5.
  • a lifter 32 for moving up and down the transport cart 30 may be additionally provided on the docking station.
  • a plurality of (e.g., six) transport carts are docked to a "personal carousel" provided with a lifter 32 to form one circular type, and two circular types form one set (e.g., twelve transport carts in total), and one set may operate for one picking worker.
  • the personal carousel is a concept corresponding to one docking station.
  • the personal carousel is configured of a circular plate 31 and a lifter 32 to autonomously rotate and place a target (goods) to be processed by a picking worker in front of the worker in the GTP method.
  • a circular type rotates and waits in the GTP method while the worker picks up goods from a circular type on the opposite side, and through the operation like this, waiting time or degradation of productivity caused by rotation of the circular types may not occur.
  • the picking robot 50 attached with an arm is placed between two circular types on the opposite side of the worker to supplement goods through the rear sides of the two circular types using the arm without moving the location of the robot itself.
  • a fixed-type picking robot 50' is used as the picking robot 50 of this embodiment.
  • an automatic charging device may be provided in the docking station 41. If automatic charge is performed when the transport cart 30 is arranged on the docking station 41, this is advantageous in that separate battery charge time needed for movement of the transport cart 30 are not necessary.
  • the picking robot 50 may change location of goods considering information on goods allocated to a plurality of cells of the transport cart 30 and information on the position of a worker near the transport cart 30.
  • change of location of goods is a concept including relocation or supplement of goods.
  • one or more sensors S are provided at one side of the transport cart 30, and information on the position of the worker near the transport cart 30 may be inputted.
  • a minimum moving line for performing a work of the worker may be calculated by combining information on the position of the worker near the transport cart 30 and information on the goods allocated to a plurality of cells of the transport cart 30, and goods allocated to each of the cells may be relocated by updating the information in real-time in doing a continuous picking work.
  • the position of a worker near the transport cart 30 may be directly grasped by providing the sensors S in the transport carts 30 as shown in the embodiment described above, alternatively, the position of a worker may be indirectly grasped using information on the docking station 41 to which the transport cart 30 is docked.
  • the position of the worker may be confirmed through the collected information. For example, if transport carts 30 are placed on the docking stations 41 S1 and S2, it can be assumed that the worker is positioned there between.
  • the position of the worker may be indirectly grasped by using real-time information on whether goods are loaded in each cell of the transport cart 30 and a quantity of the goods. For example, since information on whether goods are loaded in each cell of the transport cart 30 and a quantity of the goods is collected in real-time, it is possible to grasp in which cells of the transport cart 30 the number of goods frequently increases or decreases, and it can be assumed that the worker is positioned at a place near the transport cart 30 of a side where increase and decrease of goods are frequent.
  • the worker may perform the picking work with a shortest moving line.
  • a plurality of transport carts 30 operates at the same time, and the picking robot 50 may receive information on goods allocated to a plurality of cells of the plurality of transport carts 30 and move the goods between the transport carts 30.
  • the goods transfer system of the present invention may perform order picking and total picking by independently using a plurality of transport carts 30 in the process of operating the transport carts 30, movement of goods may also be performed by interconnecting the plurality of transport carts 30 with each other.
  • transport carts 30 of A and B respectively having a plurality of cells are provided as shown in FIG. 3. If it is determined that placing goods at a location of A5 rather than B11 is effective in the process of progressing a picking work, goods placed at B11 are moved to A5 using the picking robot 50. If the distance of moving the goods is longer than the length of the arm 52 of the picking robot 50 in the process of changing the location of the goods from B11 to A5, the goods are temporarily loaded on the body unit 51 of the picking robot 50, and then location of the goods is changed after the picking robot moves toward A5.
  • the work is performed by identifying the plurality of transport carts 30 and the picking robot 50 each other or organically exchanging information on goods of each cell provided in the plurality of transport carts 30.
  • the picking work can be performed using the server 100 as a medium.
  • the system may operate to empty all the cells of transport cart B by moving goods stacked in transport cart B to the empty cells of transport cart A so that transport cart B may get out of DPS arrangement and be used for order picking.
  • the present invention has an advantage of maximizing usability of transport carts by moving goods between the transport carts through the relocation function of the picking robot.
  • the number of operating transport carts can be adjusted without consuming time and cost due to physical changes of a fixed-type facility when the quantity of order and the goods to be processed abruptly increase or decrease, there is an advantage in that it is possible to flexibly respond according to the quantity of order and a situation at a work site.
  • the goods transfer system may also include a battery charge docking station 61 as shown in FIG. 1.
  • the transfer robot 40 and the picking robot 50 may be robots docked to the battery charge docking station.
  • the battery charge docking station 61 is interconnected with a power supply unit 60 for charging the battery of the picking robot and is provided for automatic charge of the battery of the picking robot when the picking work is in an idle state.
  • the overall picking work can be automated, except essential picking works that should be performed by a worker, and furthermore, this may greatly contribute to increase efficiency of the picking work.
  • FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating a method of operating a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • the method of operating a goods transfer system may be divided into cases of order picking and total picking.
  • the order picking is a work of loading needed goods from a goods loading deck onto a transport cart 30, and this can be appropriately performed by a manual work or a worker or by a picking operation of the picking robot 50.
  • the method of operating a goods transfer system of the present invention is characterized by an operation method in a case of selecting total picking among the order picking and the total picking according to order information on a quantity and a type of goods.
  • a docking work of a transport cart 30 using the transfer robot 40 is performed (step S100), and if picking of goods (products) by order (step S200) and classification of goods by order (step S210) are performed after the docking is completed, goods can be relocated (step S300) or shortage of goods can be supplemented as needed using the picking robot 50.
  • relocation may mean dynamic allocation of goods considering the position of a worker as described above or dynamic allocation of goods between transport carts when a plurality of transport carts is provided.
  • the present invention may further includes the step of (d) displayinginformation on picking of goods allocated to a plurality of cells of the transport cart, and the work of picking, relocating and supplementing goodscan be provided to the worker or a manager in real-time.
  • the present invention has an advantage of effectively processing (classification and shipment work in general) a large quantity of diverse goods using limited resources of a logistics center.
  • a transport cart is used not only for order picking, but it may also operate in a way optimized to be suited to the characteristics of delivery orders as the function switches to an automated facility of total picking classification.
  • the goods transfer system described in the above specification may be implemented in hardware or a combination of hardware and software appropriate to a specific application.
  • the hardware includes both a general-purpose computer device, such as a personal computer, a mobile communication terminal and the like, and an enterprise-type specific computer device, in addition to the transport cart 30, the transfer robot 40, and the picking robot 50 described above.
  • the computer device may be implemented as a device, including a memory, a microprocessor, a micro controller, a digital signal processor, an application-specific integrated circuit, a programmable gate array, a programmable array organization and the like, or a combination of these.
  • the worker described in the present invention is a human being orimplemented as a combination of hardware and software other than the human being, and may correspond to a kind of driven working robot.

Abstract

The present invention relates to a goods transfer system, and more specifically, to a goods transfer system, which combines an autonomous combination picking and classification operation model using robots and an operation methodology. The autonomous combination picking and classification operation model using robots of the present invention may mean a combination of an operation model for transferring goods while a transfer robot is connected to a transport cart and an operation model using a picking robot. According to an embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a goods transfer system comprising: at least one transport cart including a plurality of cells on which goods are loaded; and a picking robot capable of moving the goods loaded on the transport cart, wherein the picking robot receives information on goods allocated to the plurality of cells and relocates the goods or supplements shortage of goods.

Description

GOODS TRANSFER SYSTEM USING PICKING ROBOT
The present invention relates to a goods transfer system, which combines an autonomous combination picking and classification operation model using robots and an operation methodology. The autonomous combination picking and classification operation model using robots of the present invention may mean a combination of an operation model for transferring goods while a transfer robot is connected to a transport cart and an operation model using a picking robot.
In a logistics center, in which goods are managed and classified according to the types and quantities of ordered goods, it is most important to reduce the working time of shipping the goods and enhance accuracy of the shipping work.
Recently, owing to increase of diversity and quantity of goods delivered through advanced logistics networks, demands on efficiency in shipment works at a logistics center are increasing day by day.
Logistics centers adopt a Digital Picking System (DPS), which is an automated facility, to enhance efficiency in shipment works and reduce errors in classification of goods. The DPS is a goods picking system using digital markers and may mean automatic recording of inventory or the like as a digital signal in real-time at the time of shipping goods. The DPS is particularly advantageous for a shipment work of a small quantity of diverse goods. The DPS is also called as a PTL distribution system. The PTL is a concept including Put-to-Light or Pick-to-Light, and since the shipment work is digitally displayed according to whether the goods are distributed or picked up, a worker may easily recognize the goods and grasp the work quantity in real time. In the PTL, it is most important to quickly process goods using a limited number of cells by stacking the goods in the cells andfilling empty cells with goods when the goods in the cells are exhausted by picking.
Meanwhile, it is general that the operation method of processing a shipment order at a logistics center is largely divided into two types. The firstone is an order-basis picking method of picking up goods corresponding to an individual order from a storage rack (hereinafter, referred to as order picking), and the second one is a method of adding all orders and picking up a total quantity of goods (hereinafter, referred to as total picking), stacking the goods in a facility and classifying the goods byorder.
Generally, a Picking Cart System (PCS) is used to process the order picking. The PCS is formed as a transport cart having about eight to twelve separated cells, and a worker confirms a picking order sheet, moves the transport cart by himself or herself to a location where a large quantity of goods are stored, confirms the goods with naked eyes or through bar code scanning, and picks and loads goods of a quantity corresponding to the order in each cell. Then, the worker moves to another location and repeats the same work.
The total picking is used when an automation facility like the DPS is utilized since ordered goods are collected at a time and then a shipment workby address is performed, and particularly, the total picking may efficiently process orders of large quantities.
For example, Korean Patent Registration No. 10-1576026 is disclosed as a prior art related to the DPS, and Korean Patent Registration No. 10-1533360 is disclosed as a prior art related to the order picking.
Although the order picking is capable of shipping in response to an order by using only a transport cart, there is a disadvantage in that its efficiency rapidly falls since the worker should pick the same sort of goods several times when there are a large quantity of orders. In addition, the total picking is disadvantageous in that an automated classification facility is separately needed to classify a large quantity of stacked goods.
The present invention has been created to simultaneously compensate for the disadvantages of the two picking methods mentioned in the background art, and an object of the present invention is to configure a DPS by docking and arranging dedicated transport carts to perform the total picking function, together with the order picking, and provide an operation model for organizing cells of the transport carts using a picking robot and dynamically allocating goods among the transport carts.
To accomplish the above object, according to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a goods transfer system comprising: at least one transport cart including a plurality of cells on which goods are loaded; and a picking robot capable of moving the goods loaded on the transport cart, wherein the picking robot receives information on goods allocated to the plurality of cells and relocates the goods or supplements shortage of goods.
Here, information on goods may include whether the goods are loaded or a quantity of the goods.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, the goods transfer system may further comprise a server for managing at least one among location information of the transport cart, location information of the picking robot and information on the goods allocated to the plurality of cells included in the transport cart.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, the picking robot receives the information on the goods allocated to the plurality of cells through the server.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, the goods transfer system may further comprise a transfer robot for moving the transport cart.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, the picking robot may include a body unit having wheels on a bottom or fixed to a floor, and at least one arm provided to individually pick up the goods.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, the picking robot relocates the goods or supplement shortage of goods in a Goods-To-Person (GTP) method, after the worker picks up goods from the transport cart one or more times, so that goods to be classified next may be close to the worker.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, the goods transfer system may further comprise a conveyor provided to transfer a plurality of goods; and a plurality of docking stations provided in a longitudinal direction of the conveyor for the transport carts, and a Digital Picking System (DPS) is configured through the conveyor and the docking stations.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, the transport cartmoves on the docking station in a GTP method, after the worker picks up goods from the transport cart, so that goods to be classified next may be close to the worker.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, a plurality of transport carts placed on two adjacent docking stations moves in association with each other so that goods to be classified may be close to the worker.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, a plurality of transport carts may be arranged side by side on the docking stations along the longitudinal direction of the conveyor.
Alternatively, according to an embodiment of the present invention, a rotatable circular plate may be installed on the docking station, and a plurality of transport carts may be arranged along an arc of the circular plate.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, a lifter for moving up and down the transport cart may be provided on the docking station.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, an automatic charging device may be provided in the docking station.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, the picking robot changes location of goods considering information on the goods allocated to the plurality of cells of the transport cart and information on a position of a worker near the transport cart.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, a plurality of transport carts operates at the same time, and the picking robot receives information on goods allocated to a plurality of cells of the plurality of transport carts and moves the goods between the transport carts.
On the other hand, according to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of receiving order information on a quantity and a type of goods and operating a goods transfer system in a total picking method, the operation method comprising the steps of: (a) docking a transport cart to a docking station using a transfer robot; (b) classifying goods picked up from the transport cart by order; and (c) relocating goods on the transport cart or supplementing shortage of goods using the picking robot.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, the goods transfer method may further comprise the step of (d) displaying information on picking of goods allocated to a plurality of cells of the transport cart.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, docking of the transport cart is automatically accomplished.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, at step (c), the picking robot relocates goods or supplements shortage of goods in a Goods-To-Person (GTP) method, after a worker picks up goods from the transport cart one or more times, so that goods to be classified next may be close to the worker.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, after step (c), the transport cart moves on the docking station in the GTP method, after a worker picks up goods from the transport cart, so that goods to be classified next may be close to the worker.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, a plurality of transport carts placed on two adjacent docking stations moves in association with each other so that goods to be classified may be close to the worker.
The present invention has an advantage of effectively processing(classification and shipment work in general) a large quantity of diverse goods using limited resources of a logistics center.
Specifically, a transport cart is used not only for order picking, but it may also operate in a way optimized to be suited to the characteristics of delivery orders as the function switches to an automated facility of total picking classification.
The goods loaded in the transport cart may be exhausted in an arbitrary order during the DPS work, and in this case, the worker should move to pick up goods loaded at a location far from the position of the worker, and this leads to decrease in productivity due to increase of working hours. However, if the present invention is used, there is an advantages of reducing the moving line of the picking worker as the picking robot identifies locations of empty cells of the transport cart and performs a function of dynamically allocating goods.
Particularly, if the picking robot relocates the goods farest from the position of the worker to the location of empty cells near the worker whenever an empty cell appears due to exhaustion goods, the worker may perform the picking work with a shortest moving line.
In addition, there is an advantage of maximizing usability of transport carts by moving goods between the transport carts through the relocation function of the picking robot.
In addition, according to the present invention, since the number of operating transport carts can be adjusted without consuming time and cost generated by physical changes of fixed-type facilities when a quantity of order and goods to be processed abruptly increase or decrease, there is an advantage in that it is possible to flexibly respond according to the quantity of order and a situation at a work site.
FIG. 1 is a view schematically showing the configuration of a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a conceptual view showing the configuration of a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 3 is a view showing the concept of dynamically allocating goods of a transport cart in a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 4 is a view showing a goods transfer system operated in a Good-To-Person (GTP) method when transport carts are arranged on docking stations in a straight line according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 5 is a view showing a goods transfer system operated in a Good-To-Person (GTP) method when transport carts are arranged in a circular shape on docking stations according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating a method of operating a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
The embodiments disclosed in this specification should not be interpreted or used to limit the scope of the present invention. It is natural to those skilled in the art that the description including embodiments of this specification has diverse applications. Accordingly, arbitrary embodiments stated in the detailed description of the present invention are for illustrative purposes for better description of the present invention and do not intend to limit the scope of the present invention to the embodiments.
In addition, the expression of 'including' a component is an expression of an 'open type' which merely refers to existence of corresponding components, and it should not be construed as precluding additional components.
FIG. 1 is a view schematically showing the configuration of a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2 is a conceptual view showing the configuration of a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 3 is a view showing the concept of dynamically allocating goods of a transport cart in a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2 together, a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention includes at least one transport cart 30 including a plurality of cells on which goods are loaded, and a picking robot 50 capable of moving the goods loaded on the transport cart 30. At this point, the picking robot 50 receives information on goods allocated to the plurality of cells and relocates the goods or supplements shortage ofgoods.
Here, information on goods allocated to a plurality of cells may be interpreted as a meaning including whether the goods are loaded or a quantity of the goods.
According to embodiments, the goods transfer system of the present invention may further include a server 100 for managing at least one among location information of the transport cart 30, location information of the picking robot 50 and information on the goods allocated to the cells of the transport cart 30, and at this point, the picking robot 50 receives the information on the goods allocated to the plurality of cells using the information provided by the server 100.
Here, the server 100 includes software for operating the transport cart 30, the picking robot 50, and a transfer robot 40 and a docking station 41 described below, and it means that the server 100 grasps information such as location and movement of each component, a situation of the overall picking work, whether goods are loaded in each cell of the transport cart, and a quantity of the goods in real-time.
Meanwhile, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the goods transfer system of the present invention may further include the transfer robot 40 for moving the transport cart.
First, the transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30 will be described below in detail, and then the picking robot 50 will be described.
The transfer robot 40 is placed under the transport cart 30 to move the transport cart 30, and although it is shown in the figures that the transfer robot 40 is connected to (or combined with) the transport cart 30 at all times, contrary to the views shown in the figures, the transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30 may separately operate as needed. For example, after the docking is completed, the transport cart 30 and the transfer robot 40 may be separated from each other.
The transfer robot 40 may be provided with a connection unit for connecting the transport cart 30, and an information transmission and reception unit for receiving identification information of the transport cart 30 and movement information of the transport cart 30. In addition, the transfer robot 40 may include a control unit for controlling movement and connection operation of the transfer robot 40 according to the identification information and the movement information of the transport cart 30.
A method of identifying the transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30 each other is not limited to any specific embodiment. For example, a QR code scanning method, an image scanning method or a bar code scanning method may be used.
A method of connecting the transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30 to each other is also not limited to any specific embodiment. For example, a magnet or a connecting joint may be provided on the contacting surfaces of the transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30, ora clamping instrument capable clamping the frame of the transport cart 30 may be provided in the transfer robot 40 to connect the transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30.
The transfer robot 40 may be provided with an elevation unit, and configuration of the elevation unit is also not limited to any specific embodiment. For example, the elevation unit is a configuration rising or falling through an actuator provided with a screw or an elastic member. The transfer robot 40 may freely move in a space below the transport cart 30 by adjusting the height of the transport cart 30 or the height of the transfer robot 40 through the configuration of the elevation unit.
Meanwhile, a plurality of cells is formed in the transport cart 30 of the present invention. A display unit may be provided in the transport cart 30 to display load information of goods (including whether goods are loaded and a quantity of loaded goods), and the display unit herein displays information of goods loaded in each of the plurality of cells.
Configuration of the display unit is also not limited to any specific embodiment. The display unit may be provided at one side of the transport cart 30 in the form of a tablet PC or may be provided in each cell of the transport cart 30 as a display device of a small LED form and using it, The PTL system mentioned in the background art can be implemented.
The location information of the transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30 may be stored and managed in the server 100 by communicating with the server 100, and information on the goods allocated to the plurality of cells of the transport cart 30 may also be stored and managed in the server 100. The transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30 may operate to perform order pickingsuited to the order information using the information stored in the server 100.
Meanwhile, the picking robot 50 of the present invention is a constitutional component distinguished from the transfer robot 40. According to an embodiment, the picking robot 50 includes a body unit 51 having wheels on the bottom or fixed to the floor and has at least one arm 52 provided to individually pick up the goods. In some cases, a loading platform for loading a small quantity of goods may be provided on the top surface of the body unit 51.
The picking robot 50 operates independently from the transfer robot 40. The picking robot 50 may also be provided with an information transmission and reception unit for receiving identification information of the transport cart 30 and movement information of the transport cart 30. In addition, thepicking robot 50 may include a control unit for controlling movement and connection operation of the picking robot 50 according to the identification information and the movement information of the transport cart 30.
Although the picking robot 50 may be a mobile type provided with wheels on the bottom as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, according to embodiments, it may correspond to a fixed-type picking robot 50' fixed to the floor to operate. Although it will be described below, as shown in FIG. 5, it is general that the fixed-type picking robot 50' may be mainly used in a situation in which a plurality of transport carts 30 is arranged on a circular plate 31.
The method of identifying the picking robot 50 and the transport cart 30 each other is also not limited to any specific embodiment, like the method of identifying the transfer robot 40 and the transport cart 30 each other. For example, a QR code scanning method, an image scanning method or a bar code scanning method may be used.
However, since the picking robot 50 is a configuration which does not move the transport cart 30 by itself, but changes the location of goods placed in the divided cells on the transport cart 30, the arm is provided as an actuating device, unlike the transfer robot 40. The length of the arm can be adjusted, and a clamper capable of adjusting a location in a three-dimensional space is provided at an end portion to freely move the goods loaded on the transport cart 30.
The location information of the picking robot 50 may also be stored and managed in the server 100 by communicating with the server 100, and when movement of goods between the transport carts is accomplished by the picking robot 50, information generated thereby may also be stored and managed in the server 100. For example, information generated by the movement of goods between the transport carts includes information on From-To locations of the goods moved between the transport carts.
As shown in FIG. 3, the server 100 of the present invention may grasp information such as the a situation of the overall picking work, whether goods are loaded in each cell of the transport cart, and a quantity of the goods in real-time and transmit information for dynamic allocation of goods to the picking robot 50. Accordingly, the control unit provided in the picking robot 50 issues a driving command to the arm to change the location of the goods loaded on the transport cart.
Meanwhile, the goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention may further include a conveyor 20 provided to transfer a plurality of goods, and a plurality of docking stations 41 provided in the longitudinal direction of the conveyor for the transport carts. In addition, a Digital Picking System (DPS) is configured through the conveyor and the docking stations.
Referring FIG. 1 again, in the goods transfer system of the present invention, a plurality of transport carts 30 may operate together. Here, transport carts 30 adjacent to the conveyor 20 may mean configuring the DPS, and a transport cart 30 adjacent to a goods loading deck 10 may mean performing order picking.
It is shown in FIG. 1 that five docking stations 41 (S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6, S7, …) are provided in parallel on one side of the conveyor, and in the goods transfer system of the present invention, docking stations more or less than the number of docking stations shown in the figure may be provided according to embodiments.
The goods transfer system of the present invention may operate in both states of combining the transport cart 30 and the transfer robot 40 and separating the transport cart 30 from the transfer robot 40.
According to the present invention, the transport carts 30 are provided on one side or both sides of the conveyor along the longitudinal direction of the conveyor 20 to configure the DPS and perform goods classification works.
At this point, the worker may performa work of classifying (shipping) goods by picking up the goods from the transport cart 30 and placing the goods on the conveyor 20 or, on the contrary, perform a work of classifying (receiving) goods by picking up the goods transferred on the conveyor 20 and placing the goods on the transport cart 30 according to goods order information.
Next, a goods transfer system operating in a Good-To-Person (GTP) method will be described in more detail by additionally referring to FIGS. 4 and 5.
FIG. 4 is a view showing a goods transfer system operated in a Good-To-Person (GTP) method when transport carts are arranged on docking stations in a straight line according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 5 is a view showing a goods transfer system operated in a Good-To-Person (GTP) method when transport carts are arranged in a circular shape on docking stations according to an embodiment of the present invention.
During or after the work of classifying goods, the picking robot 50 may perform a function of relocating empty cells after the work of picking up goods from the rear side of the transport cart 30 or perform a function of supplementing shortage of goods on the transport cart.
Further specifically, the picking robot 50 may relocate goods or supplementshortage of goods in a Goods-To-Person (GTP) method, after the worker picks up goods from the transport cart one or more times, so that the goods to be classified next may be close to the worker.
Here, that the goods are moved to be close to the worker may mean moving the location of the goods on one transport cart or moving the location of the goods between a plurality of transport carts.
Describing in more detail with reference to FIG. 4, when the worker picks up goods from a first transport cart 30A docked to a first docking station S7, the picking robot 50 may move the location of goods allocated to another cell of the first transport cart 30A so that the worker may conveniently pick up the goods at the next operation.
Alternatively, when all the goods on the first transport cart 30A are exhausted or the goods remaining on the first transport cart 30A do not correspond to an address previously set (or mapped) by a goods transfer plan, and if goods of the same type exist on a second transport cart 30B, a work of moving the goods to the first transport cart 30A may be performed.
Meanwhile, since the picking robot 50 performs relocation of goods allocated to the second transport cart 30B or supplement of goods while the worker performs a work of picking up goods only from the first transport cart 30A and classifying (or distributing) the goods, when the picking work and the goods relocation work are performed on the first transport cart 30A at the same time, the worker may be prevented from being confused, and productivity is not affected.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, the GTP method may be directly applied to the transport cart 30, as well as the picking robot 50.
The transport cart 30 moves on the docking station in the GTP method, after the worker picks up goods from the transport cart 30, so that goods to be classified next may be close to the worker.
If the transport carts are placed on two adjacent docking stations, they may move in association with each other so that goods to be classified may be close to the worker.
If goods to be classified next are on the second transport cart 30B after the worker performs the picking work at the first transport cart 30A, it may be controlled to move the first transport cart 30A away from the worker and move the second transport cart 30B to be close to the worker so that the worker may smoothly perform a picking work on the next goods.
Although movement of the transport cart 30 may be performed by the transfer robot 40, as another embodiment, a rail (not shown in the figure) may be installed on the docking station so that the transport cart 30 may movewithout help of the transfer robot 40.
Meanwhile, the work of picking, relocating and supplementing goods as described above may be displayed through an integrated marker 70 and/or a cell marker 71 installed in the goods transfer system of the present invention. For reference, here, although the integrated marker 70 may be installed on the transport cart itself as shown in FIG. 4, it can be installed on the conveyor 20 or a monitor not shown in the figure. Various means, such as lighting a lamp, displaying digits and the like, may be used as a display method, and information on picking up goods and information on relocated and supplemented goods may be provided to the worker or a manager in real-time.
Although it is shown in the figure that the first transport cart 30A and the second transport cart 30B move straightly in an axis direction parallel to the X-axis, it is not necessarily limited thereto. For example, they may move straightly in a direction parallel to the Y-axis or in another direction.
In the above embodiment, it is described that a plurality of transport carts is arranged side by side on the docking stations along the longitudinal direction of the conveyor.
Alternatively, an embodiment, in which a rotatable circular plate 31 is installed on the docking station and a plurality of transport carts 30 is arranged along the arc (or the circumference) of the circular plate 31, may beadditionally included in the present invention. This embodiment is shown in FIG. 5.
In addition, in the goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention, a lifter 32 for moving up and down the transport cart 30 may be additionally provided on the docking station.
Describing an embodiment of arranging a plurality of transport carts 30 on the circular plate in detail with reference to FIG. 5, a plurality of (e.g., six) transport carts are docked to a "personal carousel" provided with a lifter 32 to form one circular type, and two circular types form one set (e.g., twelve transport carts in total), and one set may operate for one picking worker. For reference, here, the personal carousel is a concept corresponding to one docking station.
The personal carousel is configured of a circular plate 31 and a lifter 32 to autonomously rotate and place a target (goods) to be processed by a picking worker in front of the worker in the GTP method.
For example, when one set of personal carousel operates, a circular type rotates and waits in the GTP method while the worker picks up goods from a circular type on the opposite side, and through the operation like this, waiting time or degradation of productivity caused by rotation of the circular types may not occur.
In addition, when a plurality of transport carts 30 is arranged in a circular type (docked to the personal carousel), the picking robot 50 attached with an arm is placed between two circular types on the opposite side of the worker to supplement goods through the rear sides of the two circular types using the arm without moving the location of the robot itself. For reference, it is preferable that a fixed-type picking robot 50' is used as the picking robot 50 of this embodiment.
Meanwhile, according to an embodiment of the present invention, an automatic charging device may be provided in the docking station 41. If automatic charge is performed when the transport cart 30 is arranged on the docking station 41, this is advantageous in that separate battery charge time needed for movement of the transport cart 30 are not necessary.
Furthermore, according to an embodiment of the present invention, the picking robot 50 may change location of goods considering information on goods allocated to a plurality of cells of the transport cart 30 and information on the position of a worker near the transport cart 30. Here, change of location of goods is a concept including relocation or supplement of goods.
For example, one or more sensors S are provided at one side of the transport cart 30, and information on the position of the worker near the transport cart 30 may be inputted. A minimum moving line for performing a work of the worker may be calculated by combining information on the position of the worker near the transport cart 30 and information on the goods allocated to a plurality of cells of the transport cart 30, and goods allocated to each of the cells may be relocated by updating the information in real-time in doing a continuous picking work.
Although the position of a worker near the transport cart 30 may be directly grasped by providing the sensors S in the transport carts 30 as shown in the embodiment described above, alternatively, the position of a worker may be indirectly grasped using information on the docking station 41 to which the transport cart 30 is docked.
Specifically, after collecting information on a docking station 41, on which the transport cart 30 is placed, using the server 40 as a medium, the position of the worker may be confirmed through the collected information. For example, if transport carts 30 are placed on the docking stations 41 S1 and S2, it can be assumed that the worker is positioned there between.
Alternatively, the position of the worker may be indirectly grasped by using real-time information on whether goods are loaded in each cell of the transport cart 30 and a quantity of the goods. For example, since information on whether goods are loaded in each cell of the transport cart 30 and a quantity of the goods is collected in real-time, it is possible to grasp in which cells of the transport cart 30 the number of goods frequently increases or decreases, and it can be assumed that the worker is positioned at a place near the transport cart 30 of a side where increase and decrease of goods are frequent.
If goods farthest from the position of the worker is relocated to a location of an empty cell nearest from the worker considering information on the goods in each cell of the transport cart 30 and the position of the worker when the position of the worker is directly or indirectly grasped as described above, the worker may perform the picking work with a shortest moving line.
In addition, according to an embodiment of the present invention, a plurality of transport carts 30 operates at the same time, and the picking robot 50 may receive information on goods allocated to a plurality of cells of the plurality of transport carts 30 and move the goods between the transport carts 30.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, although the goods transfer system of the present invention may perform order picking and total picking by independently using a plurality of transport carts 30 in the process of operating the transport carts 30, movement of goods may also be performed by interconnecting the plurality of transport carts 30 with each other.
For example, it is assumed that transport carts 30 of A and B respectively having a plurality of cells are provided as shown in FIG. 3. If it is determined that placing goods at a location of A5 rather than B11 is effective in the process of progressing a picking work, goods placed at B11 are moved to A5 using the picking robot 50. If the distance of moving the goods is longer than the length of the arm 52 of the picking robot 50 in the process of changing the location of the goods from B11 to A5, the goods are temporarily loaded on the body unit 51 of the picking robot 50, and then location of the goods is changed after the picking robot moves toward A5.
In this process, the work is performed by identifying the plurality of transport carts 30 and the picking robot 50 each other or organically exchanging information on goods of each cell provided in the plurality of transport carts 30. In this process, the picking work can be performed using the server 100 as a medium.
When movement of goods is performed by interconnecting a plurality of transport carts 30 like this, the system may operate to empty all the cells of transport cart B by moving goods stacked in transport cart B to the empty cells of transport cart A so that transport cart B may get out of DPS arrangement and be used for order picking. Like this, the present invention has an advantage of maximizing usability of transport carts by moving goods between the transport carts through the relocation function of the picking robot.
In addition, according to the present invention, since the number of operating transport carts can be adjusted without consuming time and cost due to physical changes of a fixed-type facility when the quantity of order and the goods to be processed abruptly increase or decrease, there is an advantage in that it is possible to flexibly respond according to the quantity of order and a situation at a work site.
Additionally, the goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention may also include a battery charge docking station 61 as shown in FIG. 1. The transfer robot 40 and the picking robot 50 may be robots docked to the battery charge docking station. The battery charge docking station 61 is interconnected with a power supply unit 60 for charging the battery of the picking robot and is provided for automatic charge of the battery of the picking robot when the picking work is in an idle state.
If the goods transfer system as described above is used, the overall picking work can be automated, except essential picking works that should be performed by a worker, and furthermore, this may greatly contribute to increase efficiency of the picking work.
Finally, a method of operating a goods transfer system of the present invention is described with reference to FIG. 6. FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating a method of operating a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
First, the method of operating a goods transfer system according to an embodiment of the present invention may be divided into cases of order picking and total picking.
The order picking is a work of loading needed goods from a goods loading deck onto a transport cart 30, and this can be appropriately performed by a manual work or a worker or by a picking operation of the picking robot 50.
The method of operating a goods transfer system of the present invention is characterized by an operation method in a case of selecting total picking among the order picking and the total picking according to order information on a quantity and a type of goods.
When a work to be performed is selected as total picking as shown in FIG. 4, a docking work of a transport cart 30 using the transfer robot 40 is performed (step S100), and if picking of goods (products) by order (step S200) and classification of goods by order (step S210) are performed after the docking is completed, goods can be relocated (step S300) or shortage of goods can be supplemented as needed using the picking robot 50. Here, relocation may mean dynamic allocation of goods considering the position of a worker as described above or dynamic allocation of goods between transport carts when a plurality of transport carts is provided.
Furthermore, the present invention may further includes the step of (d) displayinginformation on picking of goods allocated to a plurality of cells of the transport cart, and the work of picking, relocating and supplementing goodscan be provided to the worker or a manager in real-time.
In addition, since docking of the transport cart is automatically accomplished when total picking is selected, efficiency of the work is enhanced.
Hereinafter, details overlapped with the goods transfer system of the present invention described above will be omitted.
Through the operation method as described above, the present invention has an advantage of effectively processing (classification and shipment work in general) a large quantity of diverse goods using limited resources of a logistics center.
In addition, a transport cart is used not only for order picking, but it may also operate in a way optimized to be suited to the characteristics of delivery orders as the function switches to an automated facility of total picking classification.
The goods transfer system described in the above specification may be implemented in hardware or a combination of hardware and software appropriate to a specific application. Here, the hardware includes both a general-purpose computer device, such as a personal computer, a mobile communication terminal and the like, and an enterprise-type specific computer device, in addition to the transport cart 30, the transfer robot 40, and the picking robot 50 described above. Furthermore, the computer device may be implemented as a device, including a memory, a microprocessor, a micro controller, a digital signal processor, an application-specific integrated circuit, a programmable gate array, a programmable array organization and the like, or a combination of these.
In addition, the worker described in the present invention is a human being orimplemented as a combination of hardware and software other than the human being, and may correspond to a kind of driven working robot.
Although the accompanying drawings and techniques thereof describe the technical features of the present invention, the features should not be inferred unless a specific arrangement of software for implementing these technical features is clearly mentioned. That is, since various embodiments described above may exist and the embodiments may be partially modified while possessing technical features the same as those of the present invention, it should be regarded that this also falls within the scope of the present invention.
In addition, although a flow chart depicts operations in the drawings in a particular order, this is illustrated to obtain most desirable results, andit should not be understood as requiring that such operations should be performed in the illustrated particular order or in a sequential order, or that all illustrated operations should be performed. In a particular case, multi-tasking and parallel processing may be advantageous.
Like this, this specification is not intended to limit the present invention by the proposed specific terms. Accordingly, although the present invention has been described in detail with reference to the embodiments described above, those skilled in the art may make alterations, changes and modifications without departing from the scope of the present invention.
The scope of the present invention is defined by the claims described below, rather than the detailed descriptions described above, and it should be interpreted that the meaning and the scope of the claims and all the changed and modified forms derived from the equivalent concept thereof fall within the scope of the present invention.

Claims (20)

  1. A goods transfer system comprising;
    at least one transport cart including a plurality of cells on which goods are loaded; and
    a picking robot capable of moving the goods loaded on the transport cart, wherein
    the picking robot receives information on goods allocated to the plurality of cells and relocates the goods or supplements shortage of goods.
  2. The system according to claim 1, further comprising a server for managing at least one among location information of the transport cart, location information of the picking robot and information on the goods allocated to the plurality of cells included in the transport cart.
  3. The system according to claim 2, wherein the picking robot receives the information on the goods allocated to the plurality of cells through the server.
  4. The system according to claim 1, further comprising a transfer robot for moving the transport cart.
  5. The system according to claim 1, wherein the picking robot includes a body unit having wheels on a bottom or fixed to a floor, and at least one arm provided to individually pick up the goods.
  6. The system according to claim 1, wherein the picking robot relocates the goods or supplement shortage of goods in a Goods-To-Person (GTP) method, after the worker picks up goods from the transport cart one or more times, so that goods to be classified next may be close to the worker.
  7. The system according to claim 1, further include:
    a conveyor provided to transfer a plurality of goods; and
    a plurality of docking stations provided in a longitudinal direction of the conveyor for the transport carts.
  8. The system according to claim 7, wherein the transport cart moves on the docking station in a GTP method, after the worker picks up goods from the transport cart, so that goods to be classified next may be close to the worker.
  9. The system according to claim 7, wherein a plurality of transport carts placed on two adjacent docking stations moves in association with each other so that goods to be classified may be close to the worker.
  10. The system according to claim 7, wherein a plurality of transport carts is arranged side by side on the docking stations along the longitudinal direction of the conveyor.
  11. The system according to claim 7, wherein a rotatable circular plate is installed on the docking station, and a plurality of transport carts is arranged along an arc of the circular plate.
  12. The system according to claim 7, wherein a lifter for moving up and down the transport cart is provided on the docking station.
  13. The system according to claim 1, wherein an automatic charging device is provided in the docking station.
  14. The system according to claim 1, wherein the picking robot changes location of goods considering information on the goods allocated to the plurality of cells of the transport cart and information on a position of a worker near the transport cart.
  15. The system according to claim 1, wherein a plurality of transport carts operates at the same time, and the picking robot receives information on goods allocated to a plurality of cells of the plurality of transport carts and moves the goods between the transport carts.
  16. A method for receiving order information on a quantity and a type of goods and operating a goods transfer system in a total picking method, the operation method comprising the steps of:
    (a) docking a transport cart to a docking station using a transfer robot;
    (b) classifying goods picked up from the transport cart by order; and
    (c) relocating goods on the transport cart or supplementing shortage of goods using the picking robot.
  17. The system according to claim 16, further comprising the step of (d) displaying information on picking of goods allocated to a plurality of cells of the transport cart.
  18. The system according to claim 16, wherein at step (c), the picking robot relocates goods or supplements shortage of goods in a Goods-To-Person (GTP) method, after a worker picks up goods from the transport cart one or more times, so that goods to be classified next may be close to the worker.
  19. The system according to claim 16, wherein after step (c), the transport cart moves on the docking station in the GTP method, after a worker picks up goods from the transport cart, so that goods to be classified next may be close to the worker.
  20. The system according to claim 16, wherein a plurality of transport carts placed on two adjacent docking stations moves in association with each other so that goods to be classified may be close to the worker.
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CN111429070A (en) * 2020-04-02 2020-07-17 冯希 Warehouse management system easy for classification recording
CN111599101A (en) * 2020-04-29 2020-08-28 苏州得尔达国际物流有限公司 Unmanned distribution robot and distribution method thereof
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