Key Highlights

The SDI Solution for Cal Cartage a 3PL for Toys R Us


SDI’s innovative design and engineering approach resulted in a solution that allowed expansion within an existing footprint and maintained operations thought installation.


An expanded automated system to pack and sort products. System has capacity to handle up to 40,000 cartons per shift.


The solution has increased operational performance, accuracy and overall service to the customer.


SDI was given the opportunity to bid against industry providers for an enhancement to an existing system. The new system would be required to improve throughput, enhance accuracy and each provider would be required to interface with Red Prairie WMS solution. The system had to be installed within an existing footprint that was constrained and contained many engineering challenges. Furthermore, the final solution would need to be installed around a live operating environment and must not cause interruption to existing operations.

Fundamental to the success of this project was the SDI Warehouse Controls System (WCS). In this instance, the following modules were adopted by the client:

Interface Manager
Print and Apply Label Applicator
Carton Routing Manager
Carton Sortation System
Trailer Manifesting


SDI was selected after an extensive review by California Cartage engineering and operational personnel.

The heart of the solution is 3 print and apply lines each fed by a fluid receiving door. Cartons are simply unloaded onto conveyor manually. After this, the system takes over.

Along with the new materials handling equipment SDI implemented a total controls overhaul which included taking control of all existing conveyors, increasing carton traceability within the DC.

Containers arrive directly from the port. Each container may contain thousands of cartons. A carton may have one or many item numbers. The uploads from the WCS to the host contain carton status, real time location updates, and trailer contents to allow manifest to be built. Each receiving door feeds an automatic Print & Apply line. Each Print & Apply line is capable of handling 25 to 30 cases per minute. The lines operate using a 24 volt dc conveyor, which is energy efficient. At the start of the Print & Apply line, the first carton is stopped for a QC inspection. The operator uses a work station to scan the carton LPN. The WCS system displays QC information to help the operator perform the QC operation.

The operator either accepts or rejects the carton. If the operator rejects the carton, all cartons on the receipt will be sent to the VAS area for further inspection. If the operator accepts the first carton it is sent to the QC area for further detailed inspection. All other cartons in the receipt are routed for their original destinations. Each inbound case receives a new unique identification label. There are basically two types of labels printed during Print & Apply. Each carton either receives a shipping label for cartons ready to ship, or unique label for carton handled internally in the DC for QC.

Each carton is merged into a single line that feeds a high speed shoe sorter. This carton sorter operates at 75 cartons per minute and reads the barcode label applied earlier. At induction to the carton scanner, the cube dimensions of the carton are captured when the carton barcode is scanned. This cube data will later be transmitted to the host system. The carton is then diverted to one of three places, the value added services, shipping doors 1 thru 12, and the routing sorters. If the carton requires further handling, it is sent from the shipping sorter to the routing sorter. The routing sorter controls were taken over by SDI to offer the client a total solution and provide greater flexibility. The extendable conveyor line feeds directly into a trailer so the cartons can be easily stacked from floor to sitting within the trailer. When the operator is ready to close the trailer door, they use an RF unit to scan the first carton. The WCS System then knows that all cartons that were diverted to the trailer, prior to this carton, are on the trailer. A carton manifest is generated for that particular trailer.


SDI implemented a sophisticated controls system, Motor driven roller conveyor, traditional conveyor systems, automated print and apply machinery and a high speed carton sorter.

The entire solution was offered as a turnkey package to the client.

The system was installed and commissioned around an existing operation by trained SDI installations employees. Design, engineering, manufacturing, and installation were all delivered by SDI.

Service and Support is available to the client through SDI’s after sales program which combines mechanical support and software support

California Cartage

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