How to automate hanging garment logistics: storage, transport and picking

How to automate hanging garment logistics: storage, transport and picking

We are in the digital era, characterized by an accelerated pace of consumption and the consolidation of online commerce. An era that requires the textile and fashion industry to respond quickly to changing market demands, manage stock with great precision, reduce costs and master, in an agile and error-free way, high-performance picking. 

The key? Implementing automated logistics solutions that allow garments to be quickly and efficiently sorted, counted, stored and transported on hangers, rather than folded and packed into boxes.  

This automation of hanging garment logistics not only reduces dependence on manual labor and avoids human error, it is crucial for optimizing storage space, speeding up searches and facilitating the traceability of garments. This increases the company’s competitive capacity and enables it to maintain, or even increase, its market share. 

In this post we explore several solutions that make it possible to automate the logistics of hanging garments, such as the aerial sorter and the counter for garments hung on hangers. These are systems that make it possible to supply large stores and distribution centers for e-commerce.  

5 Key solutions in the automation of hanging garment logistics 

Within the textile and fashion industry, the process of storing, picking and transporting hanging garments seeks to preserve the quality of textile products and guarantee their perfect presentation to consumers, free of wrinkles and deformations. This also represents a cost and time saving for companies. 

Basically, in the distribution center, garments are received with hangers, hung on units with steel bars and stored on special racks, which protect the garments from damage and facilitate efficient organization.  

For picking, the recovery, sorting and counting of garments hung on hangers (which must be shipped in batches) is done automatically, by conveyors, stacker cranes, hanger counters, etc. Finally, it is usual to use containers for hanging garments or special pallets for transport.  

It is possible to manage this automated storage and picking through a comprehensive intralogistics solution, including stand-alone systems capable of receiving, internal transport, storage, sorting, counting, picking and preparing hanging items for shipment. In addition to the incorporation of RFID tags, to ensure complete traceability of the goods. 

Some of the automated systems for managing the storage and preparation of hanging garments are as follows: 

1 Air conveyor system 

This solution is responsible for sorting the hanging garments and moving them (horizontally or vertically) in batches to the dispatch areas and then loading them onto the trucks. It also allows intermediate storage of the goods. 

It is usually used to transport coats, dresses, shirts, suits… hanging. But it can also be used to transport in bags some light accessories, such as hats and shoes. 

It uses a rail system installed on the ceiling, by means of an elevated structure, through which the trolleys (trolley) that hold the hangers circulate.  Although there are several types of overhead conveyors, some work without a trolley, others with a clip system. 

  • For greater traceability, a system for automatic hanger counting can be adapted to these conveyors.   
  • For the loading operation, the overhead conveyor must be equipped with motorized telescoping devices. This is the way the system can introduce the hanging garments inside the truck.  

The main advantage of this automated solution is the continuous conveying it generates. In addition, some are virtually silent systems, suitable for creating healthy operating environments. 

2 Garment counter on hangers 

In an automatic system designed to accurately count, identify and record garments hung on hangers in each lot, regardless of the format or thickness of the hanger. It has the capacity to operate in extreme cases, with crossed, overlapped or plastic hangers. Its margin of error is less than 1×10,000. 

Using the local Ethernet network and the TCP/IP communication system, the garment hanger counter sends, in real time, the quantity of merchandise and the identifier of each item.  

In addition, this system facilitates RFID tagging control and error correction. When it detects differences between the number of tags and garments counted, it allows the batch to be diverted to the revision line. This enables total management and control of the transit of garment items at each stage of the chain. 

Other advantages of this counter are the following: 

  • It operates at a speed of up to 50,000 garments / hour. 
  • It adapts to any type of overhead conveyor: trolley-based (either automatic or manual) or continuous chain.  
  • Supports a maximum chain speed equal to 2 m / second.  
  • Improves the traceability of merchandise, facilitating the detection of thefts or fallen garments. 
  • It has a high reliability in case of conveyor fluctuations, as well as line stops or starts. 

3 Garment counter in dock 

It is also an automated system for counting and identifying garments hung on hangers, within each lot. The main difference with the previous solution is that it is a machine that adapts to the overhead conveyors in the loading and unloading docks.  

It is a system that records each item in greater detail. It captures the quality, color, model and size of each garment that is loaded or unloaded. While, in real time, it generates the packing list of the contents. This allows the company to verify, during the loading/unloading operation, that the contents match the quantity being shipped or received.  

The garment hanging counter sends to the operator the information and record generated in each dock, so that he can visualize it through screens. In turn, this worker can generate reports or assign new operations. 

Like the garment on hanger counter, this system can process up to 50,000 units/hour.  

4 Overhead hanging garment sorter 

It is a solution that doses the garments one by one, to be distributed to the storage centers, according to the needs of each one.  

The capacities of the systems depend on the technology suppliers and the needs of the textile or fashion company. But normally this sorter can have a maximum capacity of 12,000 garments/hour. 

5 Bag sorter, with automatic discharge 

Overhead conveyor systems can also be used to move and sort flat or light goods into hanging sorting bags, specially designed to be unloaded autonomously, without stopping the line. 

In this case, lightweight items, such as shoes or shirts, are placed in the hanging bags to be temporarily stored, sorted and transported in a certain sequence. When they reach the shipping area, the system automatically unloads the goods from the bag for shipping.  

In addition to the picking of individual parts, this system can facilitate and speed up the management of returns. 

TECNIMUSA: your trusted partner for automated solutions  

In TECNIMUSA we have innovation as a pillar to generate efficient, sustainable and customized solutions for our customers.  
We are an engineering company with the objective of increasing precision, traceability and industrial efficiency. Our team of professionals specializes in the design and manufacture of automated solutions for intralogistics in the textile and fashion sector. 
MANGO, LIWE and DÜRKOPP trust us. 


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