Jungheinrich has launched two very narrow aisle vertical order pickers, the EKS 210 and EKS 312, with RFID technology built in, which enables a warehouse management system to automatically guide the forklift to the right location.
The RFID warehouse navigation unit sends the operator picking instructions from the WMS, which when accepted automatically guides the truck to the location in which the goods are stored.
The truck is programmed to travel via the shortest route and at the optimal speed to ensure that energy consumption is minimised.
Upon arrival at the location a light on the side of the truck will indicate whether the worker has to pick from the right or left hand side, helping to increase accuracy.
Jungheinrich says tests have shown that this can potentially boost productivity by up to 25 per cent.
The small RFID transponders used to guide the order pickers are inserted into the floor within the aisles of the warehouse of distribution centre These are then read by the readers in the trucks when passing, allowing the truck’s location to be pinpointed within the facility.
The transponders can also sense if the truck is approaching the end of an aisle or a transfer aisle and will slow the truck’s speed accordingly. Similarly if the truck reaches an uneven floor surface it will automatically slow down, or if a height obstacle occurs the truck will be brought to a controlled stop and if the operator attempts to raise the platform too high, resulting in a collision with the roof, the lift function will cut out.
The EKS 210 has a 900mm-wide chassis which is less than 2.7m long and has a top speed of nine kilometres per hour and a turning radius of 1,550mm. It has a capacity of 1,000kg and is capable of lifting to heights of up to six metre.
The EKS 312 (pictured) can lift loads of up to 1,200kg and is 1,000mm wide by 3.3m long. It has a maximum lift height of 9.5m and a top speed of 10.5km per hour.
Steve Richmond, general manager of Jungheinrich UK’s systems and projects division, said: “The importance of order picking is increasing and improving picking efficiencies within an operation continues to be one of the biggest challenges within the supply chain.
“Our new range of trucks combine state of the art technology, along with the highest levels of ergonomic design. The result is a highly efficient combination of man and machine delivering the highest levels of performance available in the industry.”
Dr Martin Schwaiger, the company’s team leader technologies, says Jungheinrich is continually looking to meet its clients’ ever-changing needs and to develop innovative solutions for identifying, storing and picking. However, the manufacturer is starting to reach certain limits when it comes to speed, legal requirements and ergonomics, which he says, means its trucks are almost at their optimum level.