Rapid, automatic parcel identification and sorting is essential to the efficient running of most modern warehouses and distribution centres. VIPAC, from Vitronic, is a camera based parcel recognition system that operates over high speed conveyors.As parcels travel through the VIPAC system, high-speed, auto-focus cameras capture high-resolution, photographic images of parcel labels. Sophisticated software uses optical character recognition (OCR) techniques and algorithms to extract the customer data from the images. The system then instructs the sorter to send a parcel to a specific destination. Users can configure multiple cameras to read all six sides of a parcel.
VIPAC achieves exceptional read rates and operates over conveyors travelling at speeds of nearly five metres per second, enabling it to process thousands of parcels per hour. Unlike traditional laser scanners, VIPAC reads 2D codes, dirty, damaged or marked codes, human written address information and supplier numbers. This information is used in parcel sorting and tracking to improve efficiency.
Using cameras allows clear spot detection. VIPAC checks the captured image for clear areas on the parcel and sends the co-ordinates to an automated labelling device. It ensures new labels do not obscure existing information. Clear spot detection is useful in applications where users wish to apply a new label to their parcels prior to dispatch.
VIPAC uses Vitronic’s VICAM-ssi2 camera to capture images of parcel labels. VICAM-ssi2 features an advanced, high-speed focussing mechanism with variable lens types and an LED illumination unit that automatically adjusts light intensity to suit different belt widths and object orientations. This ensures images are clear, allowing the OCR software to locate labels, codes and addresses (regions of interest) immediately. VICAM-ssi2 is compact and benefits from low energy consumption, making it easy to handle and environmentally friendly.
Video coding is a facility that allows the manual input of non-readable labels. When used in conjunction with VIPAC, identification rates approaching 100% are achievable. The system sends images of incomplete or unidentifiable addresses or sort codes to video coding stations via a quick intelligent network. Here, operators enter the information.
VIPAC supports two types of video coding. Online video coding means the information is input immediately. As the image arrives at the terminal in less than 300ms after capture, the operator can enter the address details in time for the sorter to process the parcel and send it to its correct destination. Offline video coding is where the images are stored and the data input later.
VIPAC is compatible with volume measuring devices, such as Vitronic’s Volumec HS2s. Volumec HS2s uses lasers to determine parcel dimensions. This helps automate invoicing, reduces labour costs and speeds up dispatches. Volume measuring allows VIPAC to calculate the smallest possible cube that will surround an item, ensuring efficient use of transit space during vehicle loading.
For goods that are normally difficult to process, Vitronic’s handheld VICAM-mobile is now available. Used to scan labels on parcels and pallets in goods-in and goods-out areas, the device combines the advantages of camera technology with the portability of a handheld scanner. Weighing just 800g with user-friendly, ergonomic controls, VICAM-mobile is light and comfortable to hold, meaning operators can work longer and more efficiently.
Using Vitronic’s handheld VICAM-mobile, operators can identify customer related data quickly and accurately. It is robust, reliable and suitable for tough industrial applications. VICAM-mobile operates up to twenty times faster than handheld laser scanners and is compatible with VIPAC.
VIPAC is a cost-effective solution to automated parcel sorting and helps users achieve previously impossible levels of efficiency. Vitronic has been at the forefront of machine vision technology for over 15 years and has delivered over 2,000 systems to businesses around the world.