Measure irregular-shaped items

New system for weighing and dimensioning irregularly shaped items cuts shipping costs for e-commerce and omni-channel facilities.

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With space at a premium inside warehouses and distribution centers, as well as on carrier vehicles, interest in automated weighing and dimensioning systems continues to increase, says Justin Headley, marketing manager at CubiScan.

“When you consider the vast array of products available, there truly is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ dimensioner on the market. That’s why we actually offer 13 unique dimensioning solutions that can measure everything from a contact lens to an engine block,” Headley says.

Most recently, it’s the irregular-shaped items stocked by e-commerce and omni-channel facilities that have posed the greatest challenge—both in terms of maximizing the storage density within the facility and in reducing dimensional weight (DIM) carrier charges for shipping.

“Think of items such as poly-bagged clothing or sporting goods—like ski poles and backpacks—or home improvement items like rakes, paint rollers, even individual nuts and bolts,” Headley explains. “It’s simply not possible to measure those items accurately with a tape measure or even a digital caliper.”

For that reason, the company developed the CubiScan 325. The portable unit integrates infrared sensing technology as well as four load cells to capture larger, non-uniform objects’ dimensions and weight. Accurate to 0.05-inch and 0.005 pounds, the system handles items ranging from 0.1 x 0.1 x 0.1 inches to 36 x 24 x 24 inches and weighing from 0.005 to 50 pounds.

It is most commonly used at the point of receiving, then automatically transfers each object’s cube and weight data to the facility’s warehouse management system (WMS). That high level of accuracy can ultimately save anywhere from 5% to 25% in DIM charges, Headley says.

“The WMS uses the data to determine and direct the packer to select the most appropriate-sized box for shipping that item once it reaches a packing station, as well as to maximize the storage cube of the facility,” he says.

The same data can also be tied into on-demand, box-making equipment that builds a custom box for each order, adds Headley. “That minimizes the amount of total corrugate and void fill, further reducing shipping costs.”

About the Author

Sara Pearson Specter
Sara Pearson Specter has written articles and supplements for Modern Materials Handling and Material Handling Product News as an Editor at Large since 2001. Specter has worked in the fields of graphic design, advertising, marketing, and public relations for nearly 20 years, with a special emphasis on helping business-to-business industrial and manufacturing companies. She owns her own marketing communications firm, Sara Specter, Marketing Mercenary LLC. Clients include companies in a diverse range of fields, including materials handing equipment, systems and packaging, professional and financial services, regional economic development and higher education. Specter graduated from Centre College in Danville, Ky. with a bachelor’s degree in French and history. She lives in Oregon’s Willamette Valley where she and her husband are in the process of establishing a vineyard and winery.

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