Frigoscandia, one of the world's leading companies in the field of cold storage, transport and freezing technology, has been using bar codes in its stock and load handling processes for many years, and is currently developing a new technique.
At the cold stores in Helsingborg and Paris, the system has been extended and now uses laser scanners that have been adapted to operate at low temperatures and to withstand large temperature fluctuations. Each truck is equipped with two scanners: Datalogic's DS45A and LS50ADX.
These standard scanners have been equipped with heat elements and thermostats, incorporated to keep them free from frost and condensation. The original design has been retained and, as a result of thick aluminium casing on the scanners, the desired temperature can be maintained.
The requirements have been rigorous, as the scanners, which are fitted on the trucks, have to work in a very special environment.
In the Frigoscandia cold stores warehouse, the temperature is as low as -30 °C. In the refrigerated section next door, where the pallets are brought for loading and unloading, the temperature is about 0 °C.In some cases, the trucks are also used outdoors, where it is usually warmer. In the summer, the trucks can work in ambient temperatures ranging from -30 to +30 °C. There are two scanners on each truck. Pallets with EAN128 labels are registered by the DS45A scanner when the truck arrives, and the LS50ADX then reads the shelf point identity, a code 128 label which is attached to each pallet point. DS45A, the upper scanner, reads at a distance of about 40-70 centimetres, while LS50ADX, the lower scanner, reads at 120 to 170 centimetres.
In the past, Frigoscandia's cold stores used lists which were checked off by hand as the pallets were loaded or unloaded in the warehouse.
Today, the bar codes provide the truck driver with information and register where and when he should put the pallet, and which pallet is involved.
The system also features an automatic warning indication if the truck driver takes the wrong pallet or uses the wrong shelf point. Communication with the controlling AS/400 system takes place directly via truck terminals on each truck. The truck drivers also receive their unloading orders on these terminals. CAP Programmator Syd is responsible for the system software.