EuroSort Bomb-bay Sorter

project description
Principle Business Owner:
Hey clear you calendar next week, we're going to have some folks in that I want you to talk to.
Okay, who is it?
Principle Business Owner:
EuroSort, they're a sortation company. We just made an investment in a bomb-bay sorter and we need you to get it hooked up to our systems before October.
Okay, sounds good. What's a sorter?

Eight months later, myself and the three other members of our team (two PHP devs, one iSeries dev and a BA/PM) did the longest overnight systems release/upgrade that I had ever been a part of, more than tripling the amount of code in production and with very minimal quality assurance support. This project consisted of designing a totally new and automated fulfillment workflow in a warehouse that is a million square feet large.

We separated units of skus from their orders so that they could be hive-picked in bulk via wearable computers and delivered to the sorter via conveyor systems. The sorter in turn would merge the items back into their pre-determined orders and then orders would be conveyored to pack stations, auto-tapers, shipping lanes and then right onto a truck.

Systematically, this project was a ton of fun to work on. We were able to write PHP to programatically guide pickers with wearable computers, control miles of conveyor via long-running socket connections as well as control a sorter the size of a football field that can sort up to nine thousand units per hour. Not to mention the fact that we got it all done in the amount of time required to meet our peak season promises to clients. And not to mention that the only person in the company that had ever implemented one of these things at a past company said it took them two years with a full team of developers. It's easy to imagine, but we were pretty proud of what we had accomplished.

I can easily say this is one of those large scale projects that you come across where you have to bond with your team and really "live" the project. We made many trips from Dallas, TX to Columbus, OH to personally oversee the physical implementation of all the hardware and played a large role in all the systems integrations testing. This also meant that we spent a lot of time writing code and doing last minute deployments on rubbermaid push carts and cold concrete warehouse floors. All in all, this was one of the greatest projects that I have been fortunate enough to have been a part of.

Credit to Jason Smen for making the movie above of our final project and for this sweet movie trailer of our efforts during all our trips to Columbus, OH.

project info
  • Company : Speed Commerce
  • Date : Oct 2013
  • Role : Architect, Lead Developer