When IMI’s Automation Group considered the speed at which conveyance systems and complimentary technologies are changing in the logistics world, an investment decision was made for the deployment of a conveyor loop. This strategic move allows for better technician training, documentation, and the testing of various configurations to reduce install time and minimize customer risk during the installation and commissioning phase.
The conveyor test loop project, located in our Grand Rapids, Michigan office began at the end of 2018 and has blossomed into a multifaceted tool for the company. This 24 x 52 ft. conveyor loop was originally designed for the training of IMI technicians how to perform the required installation tasks and operate conveyor lines and any related complimentary technologies (e.g., barcode scanning, robots, controls, and other technologies). This flexible capability allows for the integration of different types of technology to be installed and tested when needed.
With speed capabilities of up to 600 feet per minute and automated package gapping, the system can be used to test a wide range of package types and sizes. Customers can request to test various inspections or barcode reading solutions on the conveyor loop for speed, accuracy, and repeatability in conjunction with the support of the IMI Automation Group engineering team.
IMI utilizes the loop to develop, debug and validate the customers conveyance and inspection requirements. This includes the setup of machine vision inspection and integration of robotic subsystems prior to actual installation at the customer site. If a client requires a custom solution, the test loop provides the perfect platform to design and test their various configurations while minimizing errors and delays at the warehouse.
Working with the test loop helps IMI to constantly keep up with innovative trends in the logistics industry and gain confidence in working with new and complex technologies. The result allows IMI to provide clients & customers with trained installation teams, reductions in potential production delays due to unforeseen system complications (e.g., mechanical & electrical integration issues or communication incompatibilities during the site installation phase) and cost savings related to reduced deployment timeline. From an operations and deployment execution standpoint, this is leading edge for an installation company.