Volkswagen is testing Fraunhofer IIS’s innovative Pick-by-Local-Light order picking system in Dresden


Nürnberg/Dresden: In 2016, the Pick-by-Local-Light (PbLL) system was selected as one of 18 innovations for the Volkswagen Logistics Innovation Day in Wolfsburg. An initial test system has been in operation at Volkswagen’s “Gläserne Manufaktur” assembly and exhibition center in Dresden since March 2018. Its purpose is to evaluate PbLL’s basic functions and the value it adds: quick installation and easy rearrangement of shelving makes order picking flexible and efficient. Results of the first tests indicate that with the new system, orders can be processed twice as fast as before.

© Volkswagen
Pick-by-Local-Light being tested at Volkswagen: PbLL guides pickers through the order picking process and shows the required quantity on a display.

To locate the order items, traditional picking systems rely on hand scanners to read barcodes on picking lists and warehouse bays. Pickers have to print these lists out and carry them around throughout the process. Any errors, for instance when the wrong barcode is scanned or when the barcodes themselves are dirty or unreadable, cost time and lead to delays in filling orders.

More efficient order picking processes with PbLL

By way of contrast, the new PbLL system requires human pickers to do far less work. The individual displays at each bay compartment are controlled using Fraunhofer’s s-net® technology. This is tailored to each order, using multicolored LEDs to guide pickers through the picking process. Pickers see the quantity ordered on the compartment displays, confirm picking at the push of a button and move on to the next item. In a direct comparison with traditional systems, it took half the time to fill orders using the new PbLL system. The new system has gone over well within the Volkswagen Group, so much so that plants all over Germany – including the main plant in Wolfsburg – have expressed an interest.

Pick-by-Local-Light at Hannover Messe 2018

From April 23 to 27, 2018, visitors to Hannover Messe can drop by the Fraunhofer IIS booth (Hall 2, Booth C22) and experience the wireless order picking system and the underlying s-net® technology for themselves.