Express parcel organizations utilize the Dimensioning, weighing, and scanning systems (DWS) to recognize, measure, and weigh the products they transit. This paper brings to focus the kind of items typically handled by the DWS system, the selection of an appropriate DWS system, and it will also compare and contrast Static and Dynamic DWS systems (Toledo, 2016).

What is DWS systems?

 Express companies differ in terms of parcel volumes and automation levels. Some utilize fast-speed conveyors; others sort small products that navigate on a till-tray sorter. Some process freights that have already been packed: other companies do everything. Each processing phase has a unique necessity: conveyor monitoring and control, barcode interpretation, volume, and weight determination, and system integration.

DWS systems also provide solutions for incorrect product dimensions and weight, a problem that seems to persist in the parcel processing industry. Its automation procedures capture parcel specifications and record information essential to sorting purposes and effective usage of transportation space in vehicles and or storage locations. These systems are ideal for applications ranging from high-volume freight companies to local shipping service providers. Its utilization brings significant value to all operations in these industries (Toledo, 2016). The designs are also created to be highly efficient, reliable, and accurate in recording production and shipment data.

Some of the advantages of using DWS systems include:

  • Maximized employee productivity.
  • Elimination of manual mistakes while capturing logs and measurements.
  • Increases trust from clients and partners.
  • Higher quality control and satisfied order fulfillment.
  • Minimize errors related to storage space.

A DWS system is essential to a parcel express company, depending on how the company uses the system. The system is also necessary for the smooth and easy running of daily company activities and goals. Therefore, it is very crucial that an express company selects the right DWS solution that can directly and positively impact the company’s operation productiveness and boost its revenue. The DWS system should also clearly capture your data needs and align to the efficiency and accuracy that the company requires.

Items Handled by a DWS System.

DWS systems are used to weigh, identify and measure any product type. Any customization can be done to suit one’s needs, such as weighing and identification, identification and dimensioning, or weighing, identification, and measuring dimensions. A DWS system can either deal with singulated flow or mass flow items. Singulated flow of items is where parcel flows require a specified distance between the objects being weighed and dimensioned dynamically. Mass flow of items is where products are oddly distributed and do not enable the measurement of weight of these products as this requires singulated product flow. Cargo shipments arrive in different and diverse shapes, materials, and colors. The products handled by a DWS system can further be categorized as irregular, regular, non-conveyable, conveyable, and palletized.

Dimensioning systems can either measure the dimensions of regular shaped products or irregular shaped products, depending on the system’s approval.  Though often, if a dimensioning system can not access a whole pallet or parcel, this will lead to inaccurate measurement of irregular parcels. There are configurations designed to efficiently process:

  • Cuboidal, singulated products moving on conveyors at speeds of approximately three m/s
  • Irregular, singulated products moving at speeds of approximately 3m/s on a conveyor.
  • Mass flow parcels at speeds of approximately 1.3m/s on a conveyor.
  • Individually placed products on a tilt tray sorter.
  • Small products in totes.
  • Containers, pallets, and other stationary measured items.

Static and Dynamic DWS Systems.

Dynamic DWS systems have various designs to perform different tasks. They make up the core structures in product warehouse automation of sorting and registration. They work in convey ques and have the ability to integrate with other machinery in the company, such as the packaging equipment, telescoped conveyors, collection conveyor, folding equipment, label printer, and sorter. Dynamic DWS systems receive parcels automatically and control only a particular parcel on the weighing section, barcode recorders, and dimension measuring; all this is done in seconds and sent to the next stage. Dynamic DWS systems are characterized by accelerating conveys, photo capturing, information upload to the management system, wide-range handling of products, and automatic collection of item information for warehouse registration.

While the procedures of measuring and transferring data are automated in both static and dynamic DWS systems. Static DWS systems implement some operations manually. An equipment operator manually places the parcel onto the systems. After the weight and dimensions of the parcel have been measured, the operator again removes the parcel from the system. Dynamic DWS systems, on the other hand, do not require any manual assistance. However, the dynamic system can be paused in some situations if important information about the parcel is missing. An equipment operator will have to intervene and add the missing data. Also, a dynamic system can send messages to the sorter to exclude a parcel whose measurements it cannot capture; the parcel is then resorted or manually checked.

Selecting the Right DWS Systems

For a company to make the correct and best decision concerning a DWS system to implement, it is essential to understand the mechanisms of DWS system operations, capabilities, and performance efficiency. Purchasers should be up to date with the existing system options to determine which design will best fit their operational needs. The first factor to consider when selecting a DWS system is the components of the system. A system can consist of various combinations of weighing, dimensioning, scanning, and weighing components. Different features can be integrated depending on needed functionality, as discussed below.

  • Dimensioners- They can either be static or dynamic. Static dimensioners process stationary parcels, while dynamic dimensioners process moving parcels on a conveyor. There are different static and dynamic dimensioners depending on the parcel shape, speed of the conveyor, and spacing and width of products.
  • Scale- Diverse, dynamic scales depend on the accuracy that is required, speed, and production; for a static DWS system, a forklift or tabletop scale is simply integrated with other components of the system.
  • Bar Scanners (Readers)- Automated DWS processes utilize unattended barcode cameras and scanners. Multi-sided scanning gives the highest possible scan rate. A handheld scanner can be effective for manual validation in semi-automated procedures.
  • Data management Software- Depending on the user’s needs, a data management software may offer capabilities for enhancing the process of data capturing, enhancing the scan rate and productivity, or providing all these features at once. Data capture software is responsible for collecting and storing data from different components in the system. Merging this data and transferring it to the host
  • Accessories- Also, depending on the complexity of the parcel processes, a DWS system can be accompanied by sensors, extra cameras, data displays, traffic lights, and label printers that align with the processes and clear presentation of data

It is essential to ask yourself the following questions before selecting a DWS system: What are the types of parcels to be processed? On average, what is the daily quantity of products to be processed? What is the number of parcels processed during peak hours? Are the parcels regular or irregular in shape? What is the existing level of automation? What is the possibility of extending the automation? It is also essential to take into account the nature of the surface of the products and whether the DWS system can give the needed accuracy on the surface. Some components are not advanced to provide accurate measurements on products palleted in shiny covers, colors blending with the background, or reflective plastics.

The quality of barcodes is also an important consideration when selecting a DWS solution. If the company is responsible for the labeling of products, then it can control the barcode quality effectively. However, the barcode qualities of labels supplied by the customer can significantly vary depending on the level of technology used, geometry applied, and origin points. Image barcode scanners solve damage to the code caused by the reflection of light from the packaging by utilizing a software that analyses and rebuilds the needed information from any portion of the image that is legible.

The type of DWS system selected should be influenced by speed and production requirements. In intermediate automation categories, manual interference may be required. In this case, a fully automated system may not be necessary. However, if the goal is to achieve maximum production or increase output, a fully automated DWS system with a more significant number of barcode scanners that can view the parcel from multiple sides is recommended. Conveyor speed and production levels are inversely proportional to the weight accuracy. In some cases, one will have to forego the other and compromise between output/speed or weighing accuracy. To achieve both high precision and high output, the solution is to distribute the processes over several scales or utilize a dual-scale system. Distributing the line decreases the production over each weighing scale while constantly maintaining the overall throughput of the DWS system.

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