First things first, establish logistical goals
UApple began with establishing objectives for technological improvement. These goals touched on different stages of the logistical process: binding the varieties of apples, weighing containers, identify crops coming into the warehouse, sorting the produce and automate the preparation of the necessary documents for shipping. Along with these goals also came its challenges when finding a singular technological solution. For one, can the hardware withstand the tough outdoor conditions? And how do you best organize these logistics for the most optimal results?
The road to success
Time to test whether the MT90 Orca Series is up for the task. In order to achieve sweet efficiency, Newland's flagship Mobile Computer was - quite literally - taken on a test run throughout all phases of UApple's logistical process.
Phase 1: Happy Harvesting
As with most projects, this system starts at the source, UApple’s orchards. Before heading to harvest, each collection container is given a unique barcode label. Once the container is filled with apples, both the container’s unique barcode and the barcode assigned to the specific orchard harvesting row are scanned with the MT90 Orca Android Mobile Computer. The data collected by the device is transferred to UApple’s system via a 3G mobile network, allowing orchard workers to transfer data in real-time. This data includes the variety of apples collected, the date & time of filling the container and the names of the harvesters who collected the apples. The real time data transfer and the MT90 Orca’s ability to withstand rain, dust and drops up to 1.5 meters makes it a perfect solution to use in the field.
Phase 2: Weighing
Once the apples are harvested, the container is weighed. During the weighing process, the employee scans the label using the MT90 Orca and simply presses a button in order for the weight of the container, time of weighing and the name of the employee to be synced. This data is then stored via WiFi on a cloud network.
Phase 3: Structured Storing
After the weighing process is completed, the container receives a pre-assigned storage area, based on which space is available in the system. Each warehouse zone has a unique barcode assigned to it. When the container is placed in the correct zone, the code on the container and the warehouse zone are both scanned with the MT90 Orca PDA. By scanning each container’s path along the way, it is simple to track exactly where it has been and who has handled it.
Phase 4: Smart sorting
Next, it is time to sort the fresh from the rotten in the sorting process. Once again, the barcode on the container is scanned by the Mobile Computer, as well as the barcode from the sorting line. Only the top-quality apples make it through and receive their final barcode. Now they are ready to ship! Don’t worry, the remaining apples and remnants of the harvest are not left behind. They are collected in a separate container and are assigned a quality and grade. They also get assigned their own special barcode and are ready for storage or shipment.
Finding the right data collection hardware was the key challenge in this project. The hardware needed to be able to withstand the outdoor elements in the orchard and seamlessly transfer into the warehouse. At an excellent price point, the MT90 Orca proved to be the perfect pick for UApple. Real-time data transfer via a mobile network, WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS are just a few of the extras that Newland’s MT90 Orca was able to bring to the orchards.
By enabling UApple to easily time out the process of each apple from the field to the warehouse and eventually the shops, the MT90 aided in achieving sweet efficiency. Along with structured tracking of each apple, the data received also helps to analyse yields for each particular row of apples in the orchards. Additionally, monitoring employee productivity and crops increased turnover at an excellent price point.