Smart Lockers Makes Last-mile Delivery Convenient

A German Collection And Storage Solution Provider Uses Kontron’s Box PC To Build A Reliable 24/7 Locker System

KBox E-303 Used In Smart Locker System
  • Product: KBox E-303
  • Application: Locker System
  • Client: A Collection and Storage Solution Provider in Germany
KBox E-300 Box PC Front View

Project Overview

As click-and-collect services are increasingly popular, locker systems are no longer limited to the usual luggage storage provided in train stations, airports, museums or other public places. Integrated with IoT-enabled computing system that synchronizes lockers with cloud-based logistics / tracking management system, they become more connected and technology-smart. More and more retailers and e-tailers introduce smart lockers as a cost-efficient pick-up or drop-off station for products ordered online or returning unwanted goods back to them to make the last-mile delivery much more efficient and convenient for customers.

A German smart locker total solution provider offers a comprehensive package covering hardware, software and support to bring a secure, efficient, convenient and trackable solution for pick-up, storage and handover lockers used in retail, e-tail, residential, commercial and public service segments.

The client has a team of specialists working on software development based on x86 platforms and Windows operating systems for cloud-based locker control and monitoring as well as automatic exchange of information between lockers, online shops, ERP systems or other IT applications. Thus, they look for a reliable industrial PC partner to help them integrate an appropriate computing platform into their smart locker system.

The locker system can be installed in both indoor and outdoor environments for 24/7 operation. Additionally, to prevent possible rain or dust ingress, there are minimum ventilation openings available on the outer housing. As a result, the candidate must be a fanless computer with VESA mounting support to acclimatize itself to any possible environments and to accommodate itself in the limited space available. It should have high reliability and excellent thermal dissipation as well to ensure uninterrupted operation.

To minimize possible hardware maintenance and replacement, high product quality and long lifetime are also important purchase criteria for the client.

Finally, the locker system has several peripheral devices available on the front face and within the housing, including touch display, bar / QR code scanner, receipt printer, payment device, router, etc. The candidate box PC must have sufficient USB, COM and LAN ports for peripheral connection.

System Requirements

  • x86 architecture
  • Windows OS
  • Fanless
  • High reliability and good thermal dissipation
  • Long lifetime
  • 2x LAN, 4x USB, 2x COM
  • VESA mounting

Solution

Since there is limited space available within the control module of each locker system, the client needs a small box PC with VESA mount support for vertical installation to minimize the footprint occupied by the box PC and optimize the overall space usage within the control module. Kontron’s KBox E-303 measures around 0.7 liters in volume and supports VESA mounting, addressing the mechanical requirements with respect to dimensions and installation.

The locker system is designed for both indoor and outdoor use and thus the computing platform integrated inside should be resistant to outdoor conditions. On account of local environmental circumstances and overall locker system design, dust and similar airborne particles are the major enemy of a computer’s long-term durability. KBox E-303 is an industrial computer with passive cooling built based on a 9.5 W TDP low-power processor, Intel® Atom® x5-E3940. With careful thermal design, it is housed within a sealed enclosure to prevent dust entering and buildup on sensitive components to block heat transfer.

The locker system provides 24/7 access to deliveries. Therefore, the sustainable and reliable operation is the vital requirement in selection of a suitable computing platform. Besides the fanless design mentioned above that can eliminate the vibration caused by the rotation of a fan to prevent interference with the operation of, or possible damage to, the components inside, KBox E-303 has more featured designs to ensure high reliability and long endurance, including high-reliability and anti-shock M.2 or mPCIe SSD to replace traditional HDD to prevent data corruption, damage and sudden restart issues; cabless design to minimize the risk of malconnection or disconnection caused by twist / rotation / tension on the cable, shock, vibration, other accident collision or deliberate vandalism; and aluminum U-shaped chassis covered with cooling fins to efficiently remove heat produced during operation to avoid performance degradation or even component failure.

Kontron implements strict material and vendor control measures to ensure the quality of components and long-term support from key component suppliers. That not only guarantees the performance, reliability and durability of the product produced from Kontron, but also delivers a tangible promise to the client in their equipment development.

Finally, KBox E-303 offers sufficient I/O interfaces that can satisfy the peripheral applications of the locker system, including HDMI connector for a 17” display, four USB 3.0 ports for display touch, bar / QR code scanner, IC card reader and NFC card reader connection, two GbE LAN ports for network redundancy to ensure interrupted connectivity from SIM card router, and two COM ports to connect receipt printer and PLC for sensors, actuators, LED indicators and a terminal with keypad.

Click here for detailed specifications of the KBox E-303.

System Diagram

System Diagram of Smart Locker