It’s difficult to say how much thought each conveyor company in Canada puts into their systems and integration with warehouse control systems (WCS), warehouse management systems (WMS), and warehouse execution systems (WES). That’s likely because each of these systems has both overlapping and separate functions that create a tremendous amount of variability for each manufacturing/production environment.
These are decisions that are ultimately left up to manufacturing engineers and supervisors. The list of variables from type and scale of manufacturing to level of automation and supply chain considerations among others must all be part of the mix. But when you understand how WCS, WES, and WMS operate, you can factor in all these variables to reap better throughput potential with conveyor integration.
Warehouse System Basics
Conveyor suppliers in the US and Canada already have a long list of considerations when designing standardized and customized conveyor systems for manufacturers. But you’ll find that the right conveyor company in Canada or the US also brings the system design experience that factors in warehouse systems.
In a basic sense, the WCS provides low-level machine control for communications between the different equipment in the system and the programmable logic controller (PLC). The WMS sends the work over to the WCS does the higher-level automation and intelligence. Your warehouse control system then acts as the bridge between the WMS and automation hardware like conveyors, sorters Automated Storage and Retrieval (AS/RS) systems, and more.
A WES is more of a hybrid between WMS and WCS that sits between the two to take on extra automation loads when the systems become too complex for just the WMS. These systems collectively deliver on important attributes like communication, visibility, speed, execution and integration with goods flow and other systems like ERP.
Because of its central role in throughput in the production and/or packaging process, the conveyor is always in the middle of that mix. Conveyors clearly play a role in the larger system of goods movement, whether they are part of an automated or fully manual production process.
Incremental Automation, Conveyors and Warehouse System integration
We often think of connected sensors, scanners, and electronic devices in automated manufacturing environments. It’s traditionally these systems that deliver the remote monitoring and real time information for tracking, identifying, monitoring, analyzing, and optimizing conveyor system performance in automated systems. The right conveyor company in Canada for you will take these aspects into consideration with conveyor system design.
The level of automation across manufacturing environments can vary widely. But that doesn’t stop you from getting a great deal of throughput optimization with the right WCS, WES and WMS in today’s manufacturing environments. The
Right WES supports optimizing conveyor system operation and predictive maintenance (PdM) with real-time data from the conveyor system. But simpler systems with just a motor with integrated drive requiring just power, fieldbus, and I/O sensors can also provide the needed data.
This alternative to extensive sensor fitting can work across conveyor sections and be ideal for modular conveyor systems. You can daisy chain and integrate these systems with a WES to determine product throughput across each section with this module.
Manufacturing Efficiency with Conveyor Manufacturing Partners
Leading conveyor suppliers in the US and Canada deal with manufacturers with system designs that go a similar route. There are a few ways for manufacturing engineers and supervisors to avoid complex automated system designs. Manufacturers can build best-of-breed solutions that use software and self-contained modular systems that integrate with:
- Modular conveyor systems
- Warehouse system software
- Control and process systems and machinery
These components work together to recognize conveyor objects via minimal sensors at key points of modular conveyor sections where manufacturers can integrate them in hours rather than months.
There are many ways to integrate WCS, WES and WMS with conveyors to deliver higher throughput via connected, real-time monitoring and preventative maintenance. Ideas can come from the right conveyor company in Canada with deep and varied design experience across manufacturing sectors.
These partners can bring practical engineering and design ideas that place the conveyor within an incremental automated manufacturing environment using modular conveyor systems. This holistic design view supports integration of the best options to achieve specific outcomes.
Those outcomes can all be contributors to higher throughput goals attained via:
- Improved inventory accuracy
- Picking and shipping error reductions
- Labor cost reductions
- Increased uptime via machine monitoring and PdM
- Manufacturing flexibility, agility, and responsiveness
The future looks bright for these types of integrated systems where scanning systems, programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and modular device connections enable unified system communications. WCS, WES, WMS, and conveyors will continue to expand the ways they can integrate to make incremental process automation possible. This bodes well for manufacturing environments and their conveyor manufacturing partners. They can work together to use those innovations to implement individualized solutions focused on increasing production throughput, efficiency, and accuracy.