Wheelies on the Beltway

James M Northern

Abstract


Allan, a maintenance technician at a local technology products distribution center, shook his head in body language that meant that cartons on the sorter had jammed together for the second time on his shift. The bar codes on the cartons would have to be read by a human bar code reader and the human would have to carry the cartons to their proper destinations. The human would probably be Allan.

The problem seemed to be more that the usual random carton too flat to be detected by the photo eyes on the conveyor belts or too light to maintain traction. When two or more cartons on the sorter are closer together than a minimum distance, the sorter cannot divert the cartons to their proper destinations. The cartons were tipping backward on their trailing edge. ?Hey?, Allan exclaimed, ?The cartons are doing wheelies! We have got to get to work on this problem right away. The loss of the sorter could cost millions of dollars.?

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JSTEM. ISSN: 1557-5284