Warehouse Control System
Datkon functionality

Datkon is a collector and executer of missions generated by a higher system, often called host. An example of such a host system, notably a WMS or ERP system, is the WMS system DatkonPLUS, also developed by Sygress.

The missions Datkon collects are combinations of pick and deposit locations of pallets or "goodstrays" in general. Datkon takes care that the logistical equipment is controled in such a way that the system carries out these missions correctly, smoothly and effectively. As soon as a mision has finished an order, Datkon gives a ready signal to its host system.

Since Datkon knows where and in what phase of the order dispatch the system is, the program will send a next mission before the last one is finished. Datkon chooses the best mission known at that moment. For this, it uses a set of configurable optimization rules.

Datkon has been set up in a way that manual corrections will be necessary seldom or never. However, errors of pallets or cranes can be easily solved and continued afterwards, without disturbing the host system. An extensive help system guides users through any problem they need to solve.

Datkon is available for Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP. Older versions are running on Windows 3.xx, OS/2, VAX-VMS and UNIX. Currently it can be delivered in 4 languages: English, German, French and Dutch.

Communication with a WMS / ERP system or hostsystem in general
Datkon can communicate with a host-system, using file-transfer, interfacing through a database, serial communication, DDE or TCP/IP messages, defined by Sygress or any clients definition.

Read and write I/O data signals (communication with a low level logistical equipment PLC system)
Datkon can use the same I/O signals the lower logistical equipment PLC system uses to control the logistical equipment.

Executing missions
Datkon executes the mission bij controling the logistical equipment. Datkon takes care of transport of pallets through the system. The conveyors and other equipment carries out the actual transport. The communication between the lower level PLC system end DATKON enables to make a pallet known to for instance the conveyor PLC that takes care of further movement and tracking. On so-called decision points, Datkon can react upon the actual situation and optimize further pallet movement, or send a new mission to itself for further transport. Datkon can visualize pallets and their details, and react upon and visualize logistical equipment events like errors or occupied deposit locations. If the protocol of the logistical equipment is known bij the client or third party verdor Datkon can control the device.

Optimization of input and output missions
Priority of input or output missions is taken care of, depending on the project situation. Datkon tries to execute double-cycles whenever possible. It will combine an input mission directly executing an output mission and v.v.

Buffering missions
Datkon stores all missions received and controls and optimizes their execution. The WMS / ERP system or host system has to take care of the supply of new missions and will be informed automatically about finished missions.

Status reports of the logistical equipment
A WMS / ERP system or host system can ask Datkon a status report of any crane. This allows the WMS to handle crane error messages, or react upon warehouse situations (e.g. positions of cranes).

Gathering messages from equipment to WMS
Datkon reports the termination of missions to the WMS. If a mission ends with an error, a difference is made between so-called platform errors and hardware errors. After a platform error a counter-mission can be given to correct the error. Hardware-errors can only be solved by intervention of an operator.

Semi-automatic control
Manually created missions can be given to the system, through the so-called semi-automatic mode. Total control to a system is given to the user: Pick and deposit missions can be created on the PC, along with move missions.

Barcode reading
Datkon can read barcodes from scanners connected to the PC or underlaying automated material handling equipment control system. It then can combine the barcode with details that were received in advance, or inform the host about the arrival of a pallet. This reduces the probability of errors and increases the processing speed at identification points

Barcode writing
DatkonPLUS can print barcodes on a barcode printer connected to the PC or automated material handling equipment control layer. It can use the barcode details that were received from the host.

Error handling with Cause and Effect help
Datkon provides the user with a tool that speeds up and simplifies error correction by clarifying the cause and effect of an error. This tool provides all necessary help to effectively solve a problem.

Warehouse lay-out visualization
The warehouse layout screen continuously visualizes the positions, status and actions of the system. The screen is updated with the rate of the communication.It can also show the availability of missions on conveyors.

Localized languages
Datkon can be delivered in 4 languages: English, German, French, Dutch

Keyboard and mouse-control of the menus
Datkon runs in a Windows environment and is completely menu controlled. The control screens are provided with on-line help functions. It can be operated both by mouse and keyboard.

Anti-collision prevention between cranes
This function is only available and necessary for switch-driving cranes and was originally developed for Lalesse warehouse cranes to prevent crane collisions, Datkon keeps a minimal distance between the several cranes. The warehouse is divided in sectors, to keep cranes at safe distances. A crane is only allowed to drive inside a sector if all connecting sectors are clear. Datkon reserves the path a crane has to drive to reach its location. If Datkon comes across an occupied sector, it tries to clear this sector by sending away the crane in it. This crane will end its mission first.



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