The Information Superhighway Runs Right Through Warehouses--Linde Presents Individualization as a Focal Point at WoMH
Visitors to WoMH 2016 can experience the precision and versatility of this technology at first-hand: guides and experts will be carrying transmitters with them, and their location on the premises will be displayed in an app on the tablet which every guest will be given at the beginning of their visit – extremely helpful if you lose sight of your tour group. What’s more, the performance of the drivers on the WoMH kart track can be monitored second-by-second – the electric karts, made by Italian manufacturer CRG, are not only fitted with Linde drive systems but also with localisation transmitters. “Using this real time tracking system as a basis, we will expand the functionality of our connect: product family, as well as developing new applications which will go above and beyond fleet management,” explains Massimiliano Sammartano, Linde’s Vice President of Sales & Service Marketing & Operations.
Virtual zones and analytical tools for path planning
The cost-effective localisation solution was developed by Linde together with tracking specialists Quantitec. In this system, ‘nodes’ are installed in warehouses or production rooms. These nodes allow the tracking system to determine the position of the transmitter on the truck in the room. This makes it possible, for example, to divide up the warehouse into virtual zones and then within those zones apply rules and permissions for drivers and trucks – regarding speed and lifting height, for instance. “Plus, the continually-recorded position of the forklifts can also be saved in a sort of ‘heat map’, showing the paths the trucks take in a certain time frame,” explains Colin Flint, head of Product Marketing for Linde Connected Solutions. “In the future, this will allow us to help our customers to optimise path planning for their fleets and reduce the risk of accidents in busy areas.”
Improved safety and truck availability through networking
WoMH promises another innovation for the connect: fleet management solution, too: the connect: app ‘pre-op check’. This allows the forklift driver to check over their truck at the beginning of a shift for important things such as tyre pressure or possible damage, using a smartphone. The forklift is unlocked only after being checked with the app. Meanwhile, the “connect: desk” software combines the information with other data and analyses it. This not only improves safety, but also improves the productivity and availability of the trucks. Trucks can be equipped with connect: units during manufacture, or they can be easily retrofitted at any time. There are numerous options for data transmission: mobile service, Bluetooth or a wireless network – whichever is most suitable for the customer’s infrastructure. Individual driver permissions and forklift settings can be configured, and the employee unlocks the truck using PIN or RFID.
Safety-relevant applications such as this are based upon an innovative sensor technology, which is also the basis for intelligent driver assistance systems such as the Linde Safety Pilot (LSP). LSP actively intervenes in forklift steering in critical driving and lifting situations, while also providing additional helpful functions such as load measurement. Already available for electric forklift trucks, the system will also be available for IC trucks in the near future. “We at Linde are definitely market leaders with regard to the productivity and safety of our trucks. In the future, however, the key to increasing efficiency in logistics and intralogistics will no longer simply involve the trucks themselves,” says Christophe Lautray, Linde’s Chief Sales Officer, “but rather the integration of the whole fleet into IT processes. At the WoMH, we will be demonstrating how that can work.”
Faster responses: Mobile Service Manager app
Linde is also keen to offer more transparency in service activities in the area of customer service going forward, and will present an application which is currently undergoing testing. With the Mobile Service Manager app, operators using Linde trucks will in the future be able to address their inquiries to Linde’s service organisation directly using the QR code of the truck and a photo of the malfunction. They will then be kept up to date on the current status of their inquiry via their smartphone. The existing ‘MyLife’ extranet system will then allow fleet operators to view information about the current workload, age distribution and maintenance status of the fleet, including a transparent overview of costs. “MyLife is aimed primarily at buyers and logistics managers at larger companies,” explains Dieter Antensteiner, Head of Fleet Management. “The data makes planning fleet compositions easier, and therefore also facilitates investment decisions. The focus is on cost efficiency.”