The Role of Scanning Technology in Modern Ecommerce Automation

Sep 1, 2023

In the dynamic world of ecommerce distribution centre, automation and conveyor systems are key.. For Conveyor Systems Ltd (CSL), the efficiency of these conveyor systems is paramount. A cornerstone of this efficiency is the integration of barcode scanning technology, implemented by CSL, using technology from suppliers such as SICK Sensor Intelligence, Cognex and Keyence.

The Significance of Barcode Scanners

Barcode scanners have emerged as indispensable tools in the vast ecosystem of ecommerce. They serve a dual purpose:

  1. Identification: Recognising individual items based on their unique barcode, ensuring accurate processing and dispatch.
  2. Sortation: Diverting packages onto different paths based on their destination or content.

By facilitating these core functions, barcode scanners play a pivotal role in expediting the process of parcel identification and sortation.

Enhancing Throughput and Revenue

Speed and Accuracy: Advanced barcode scanners can read barcodes at remarkable speeds, making them apt for high-volume distribution centres. With their high-resolution sensor capabilities, they guarantee accurate readings, leading to fewer errors and returns.

Value for Money: While there’s an initial investment, the payback is substantial. Increasing conveyor throughput directly correlates with increased revenue. Additionally, faster and more accurate sortation minimises errors, leading to decreased operational costs in the long run.

Challenges and Alternatives

However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that like any technology, barcode scanners have their challenges. External factors like poor lighting or damaged barcodes can sometimes hinder scanner accuracy. Another challenge arises when barcodes are not correctly placed on parcels.

Recognising these challenges, leading manufacturers like SICK Sensor Intelligence have proactively developed solutions. Their advanced scanning technology is designed not just to read conventional barcodes but also to locate and decipher barcodes even if they are not ideally placed. Furthermore, they have the capability to read various types of barcodes and even plain text, ensuring that misplacements or varying barcode formats don’t impede the sortation process.

Alternative Sortation Methods: While barcode scanning remains a dominant force, alternatives such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags are gaining traction. RFID tags store more data and don’t require line-of-sight for reading. However, they come with a higher cost per tag compared to barcodes.

The Future Landscape

For 3PL companies and others in the UK keen on enhancing their conveyor systems, understanding the potential and the limitations of scanning technology is essential. By incorporating systems like those CSL installs, organisations can remain at the forefront of e-commerce automation.

In conclusion, as ecommerce continues its growth trajectory, technologies like barcode scanners from reputable manufacturers, such as SICK Sensor Intelligence, remain pivotal in ensuring that conveyor systems keep pace with demand, facilitating swift, accurate, and efficient operations.

Creating relationships that last

We are proud to have completed installations over more than 25 years for many major organisations. We have forged strong relationships and continue to provide automation solutions through ongoing maintenance or follow-on projects. Constantly working with our customers to meet and exceed their needs.

"I have found working with CSL the ideal partnership, they understood the brief and worked closely with CEF to ensure the design met all of the criteria. The support from start to finish was excellent. The project ran smoothly from start to finish. The system has made our new warehouse very efficient and allowed us to increase the throughput"  

Craig Marks

Divisional Manager, CEF Online

“As this was a new facility it was difficult to visualise the conveyor system prior to the mezzanine floor installation, but CSL provided a detailed 3D drawing which included both the mezzanine and the conveyors which brought clarity to this. The install process was smooth and the end results have allowed us to increase control, flexibility & volumes”

Dan Corrigan

Head of Logistics & Operations Dev, Wiggle

“We have worked with CSL previously and after many years of reliable operation we decided to use CSL again to design, supply and carry out the installation. As with the last system the benefits became almost immediately evident” 



Logistics, NHS

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