As an alternative for pick by light sys­tems, the Fraunhofer IML in Dortmund has deve­loped the PICK-BY-INK system using the segmented ePaper display.


With its focus on energy emphasizing on using ultra-low power electronics, heterogeneous wireless communication and energy harves­ting, PICK-BY-INK is a resource-optimized System. The PICK-BY-INK is a minimalistic variation envisioned exclusively for enabling KANBAN with low cost overhead and for make-shift picking systems where peaks in demand in the warehouse can be regulated with almost no overhead for setting up the system in comparison to setting up traditio­nal pick by light systems.

KANBAN right at the epicentre

PICK-BY-INK is a self-contained module with wireless communication interface, seg­mented ePaper display, rechargeable bat­tery and buttons for user input. It connects the picker in the warehouse directly to the warehouse management system (WMS) giving real-time insights on inventory and the events in the shop floor. Each module is flexible and can be inserted into a standard warehouse container for small components. The displays are flexible and robust to be used in industrial conditions with a standby up to six months per charge. They have a high quotient of contrast between the seg­ments, which is easy to read in normal in­dustrial lighting conditions and can also act as a stimulus for the picker by animating the background segments of the displays at high frequency creating attention. There are four buttons beneath the display em­bedded into the perspective of segments to create a clutter free user experience.

Ready for Industry 4.0

The devices communicate using the 868 MHz in a star network topology to central access-point. The WMS connects to the displays over an access-point using the standard web API interfaces. The displays receive events to be displayed on the fle­xible displays for the picker animating the 28 segments in the display. Each module is addressable and can be paired with the product or a container and can be interfaced with legacy systems using the standard web APIs to the access-point and it translates the communication from the WMS to the displays.