For the first time, the benefits of warehouse navigation can now be enjoyed by freely manoeuvrable trucks on the basis of the Wide Aisle Warehouse Navigation module. This module works similarly to a car navigation system.
At CeMAT 2011 Jungheinrich will be the world’s first truck manufacturer to present a wide aisle warehouse navigation system — also suited to pre-zone operations. “This means that in future it will be possible to manage processes outside narrow aisles even more efficiently and safely,” comments Dr Helmut Limberg, Management Board Member with responsibility for Sales and Marketing at Jungheinrich. “Since the highly successful market launch of the RFID-based narrow aisle warehouse navigation system two years ago, up to 25 percent higher throughput rates are being achieved,” he reports.
Navigating in wide aisles differs fundamentally from narrow aisle warehouse navigation. Whereas the current position of the narrow aisle truck is calculated with RFID technology and transponders set in the floor, the wide aisle navigation module uses a special tracking system. As Limberg explains: “This is because the trucks in wide aisles are not guided the same way as in narrow aisles — instead they are freely manoeuvrable”.
The basis for the efficient implementation of wide aisle warehouse navigation systems involves the integration of all industrial trucks in the operator’s process chain — from incoming goods/haulage truck unloading to shipping/haulage truck loading. The wide aisle navigation system module is simply attached to different Jungheinrich trucks, no matter whether they are reach trucks, order pickers or battery-powered stackers.
Jungheinrich uses an optical tracking system for wide aisle navigation. This makes it possible to determine the exact position of the truck. Positioning accuracy is within the range of a few centimetres. The navigation system is built around the Jungheinrich 2475 truck data terminal and the Jungheinrich Logistics Interface. The interface translates the communications from the Warehouse Management System to the language understood by the truck and visa versa.
The new warehouse navigation system from Jungheinrich has a variety of functionalities. The Route Management function shows the driver the direction and route — similar to a modern car navigation system. For instance, if the driver takes a wrong turn, the Route Management function initially advises him of that. If the driver continues along the “wrong” route, Route Management recalculates the route. The aim is to have the forklift reach its destination via the shortest and quickest route. The Truck Tracking function ensures constant positioning of the truck. Parallel transfer of the tracking information to the Warehouse Management System or Truck Guidance System helps optimise the management and control of the entire truck fleet.
As soon as the driver has reached his destination — for example a position in the warehouse aisle — and initiates the lift function, the Lift-Height Pre-Selector allows automatic extension of the hoist frame until the pallet location pre-set by the Warehouse Management System is reached. Extra scanning or confirmation of the rack location is no longer necessary. According to Limberg: “The bottom line is that the Route Management functionality, the Lift-Height Pre-Selector and the automatic feedback to the WMS greatly reduce pressure on the driver. Stacking or retrieving goods in or from the wrong rack is now relegated to the past. The application of warehouse navigation in wide aisles will translate into significantly improved process safety in the warehouse and logistics systems.”
Jungheinrich ranks among the world’s leading companies in the material handling equipment, warehousing and material flow engineering sectors. The company is a service provider with manufacturing operations as well as an intralogistics solution provider, which offers its customers a comprehensive range of forklift trucks, shelving systems, services and consulting. Jungheinrich shares are traded on all German stock exchanges.