Weighty solution for Palletforce

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The system has been developed by Avery Weigh-Tronix and Erwin SICK. Combining a truck scale with a barcode scanner, it allows hauliers to check the progress of their freight through the hub.

In addition, the average number of pallets the company can load onto a truck has increased by twenty per cent.

Pallet data and weight is collected during loading or unloading, so there is no loss in speed or efficiency. An onboard indicator guides the driver through the process and stores the data which can then be downloaded at the end of the shift.

Reports can show the pallet’s weight, time of unloading and reloading, its origin and destination, its contents and the total number of pallets in that consignment. The system also records who loaded and unloaded the pallet providing accountability if there is any damage.

Operations director Carl Worgan says: “In theory track and trace is possible using hand held scanners, but this is impractical because the driver has to leave his truck for scanning. This slows up the operation and is against health and safety.

“By incorporating a robust forklift truck scale and barcode scanner, we can now collect this information when a pallet is loaded and unloaded.

“Before installing a forklift truck scale, like everyone else we would exercise caution when loading a truck. Now, we can load a truck safely, often to within five kilos of its capacity. We can also check the loading of inbound trucks and advise members accordingly.”

The driver uses the WI130 indicator from Avery Weigh-Tronix to coordinate and manage the whole operation. At the start and end of the shift the driver keys in his pin number. For loading or unloading a vehicle the driver will first enter the truck’s registration number and select whether it is inbound or outbound.

On approaching a pallet, a motion sensor on the front of the truck turns on the barcode scanner. This scans a three square metre area until it records a Palletforce barcode. If no barcode is detected an onboard alarm will alert the driver. For outbound vehicles, the barcode information should then tally with the lorry’s registration number and destination to avoid error.

Next, the forklift lifts the pallet and weighs it with the onboard scale. The driver indicates where the pallet is placed on the lorry bed, or from where it was unloaded. The indicator keeps a running total of pallets and weight so that the forklift operator can manage the operation accurately. This data is collated and recorded and a detailed printout of weight distribution by deck is given to the lorry driver in case of roadside checks.

Using the system, Palletforce members can check when each pallet was delivered, its true weight, who unloaded it and at what time, when it was dispatched and its final destination.

It also records the performance of forklift truck drivers. Managers can check the number of pallets moved in a shift and any reported damages. This data helps grade drivers so that more proficient operators are rewarded.

Both the forklift truck weighing scale and the barcode scanner are designed for harsh operating environments.

The scale from Avery Weigh-Tronix features patented Weigh Bar weight sensors and out of level compensation so that readings are accurate even when fork positions change, when wheels are on uneven surfaces or if the mast is tilted.

The barcode scanner, CLV490, is the first to use auto focus technology. This allows it to read barcodes at different distances and also on uneven surfaces. The technology also allows the scanner to search large areas for a barcode and with decoding frequencies of up to 1,200hz, barcodes can even be identified at high speeds.

The SimulCast WI130 indicator, controlling the operation, provides a simple and efficient solution for capturing, integrating and managing weight data. It stores up to 750 records and can produce data and reports in several different formats.

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