Jungheinrich has launched two new order pickers. The trucks are equipped with state-of-the-art RFID technology that enables a warehouse management system to automatically guide the forklift to the right location in the right aisle at all times. Tests have shown that this feature can potentially boost productivity within the warehouse by some 25 per cent.
The Series 2 and 3 the EKS 210 and EKS 312 - vertical order pickers, have been developed to meet the growing demand for flexibility and high picking performance over long shifts.
The trucks in-built RFID warehouse navigation unit enables the operator to receive picking instructions from the warehouse management system. Once the instructions have been transmitted, the operator simply accepts the command via a terminal and the warehouse management system automatically guides the truck to the location in which the goods are stored. The truck travels via the shortest route and at the optimal speed to ensure that energy consumption is minimised.
The operator needs only to engage the safety controls on the truck and can then relax while the truck is directed to the right spot within the aisle. The truck commences its semi-automatic approach to the storage location and as soon as the correct location has been reached, an light on the side of the truck signals to the driver whether he has to pick the order from the left or right. The result is a considerable improvement in picking accuracy as the operator cannot go to the wrong location and picking mistakes are, therefore significantly reduced.
The RFID transponders used to guide the new order pickers are no bigger than the size of a thumbnail and are quickly and easily inserted into the floor within the aisles of the warehouse or distribution centre. The trucks are equipped with readers, which, on passing over a transponder, pinpoint the trucks position within the facility rather like a cars satellite navigation system.
In addition to guiding the truck on the most time and energy efficient route around the warehouse, the RFID system offers a number of important safety benefits. For instance the transponders can sense if the truck is approaching the end of an aisle or a transfer aisle within the racking and will slow the trucks speed accordingly. The trucks travel speed will also be optimized to suit the standard of the floor over which it is traveling for example if a part of the warehouse floor is uneven, the trucks speed will be reduced automatically. In addition, if, when traveling with the operator platform raised, the truck is approaching a height obstacle likely to endanger the operator the truck is brought to a controlled stop. Furthermore, if the operator attempts to raise the platform to a height likely to bring him into collision with, say, the roof of the facility or some other object, the lift function cuts out.
Very narrow aisle (VNA) order pickers have, traditionally, been guided by magnets buried in the warehouse floor to initiate control of the trucks. However, such systems do not offer the flexibility, safety and operational efficiency benefits that RFID transponders bring.
Manufactured at Jungheinrichs Moosburg plant, the EKS 210s is quick, compact and highly manoeuvrable. Its chassis is just 900mm wide and less than 2.7 metres long and the truck has a top speed of 9 kilometres per hour and a turning radius of just 1,550mm. With a capacity of 1,000kg, it is capable of lifting to lift heights of up to 6 metres. The EKS 210 is designed for safe use in wide aisles where more than one truck might be operating.
Meanwhile, the EKS 312 is a very narrow aisle (VNA) machine capable of lifting loads of up to 1,200 kg. It has a maximum lift height of 9.5 metres and a top speed of 10.5 km per hour. With a width of 1000mm and at just over 3.3 metres long, the Series 3 is only marginally larger than the Series 2 EKS and has a turning radius of 1.65 metres.
Both the 2 and 3 Series trucks feature 4th generation, three phase AC technology which means they offer the highest performance the most efficient energy consumption and are highly reliable.
Jungheinrich developed its first generation of AC motors back in 1994 but the technology has moved on considerably since then and the companys 4th generation AC motors offer exceptionally high performance. On the new order pickers all motors- drive, lifting and steering - are AC. This means that there are fewer wearing parts which makes the trucks exceptionally service-friendly with less downtime and lower running costs as a result.
As with every Jungheinrich forklift truck, ergonomics and operator comfort were key considerations during the development of the new EKS 210 and 312 models.
Featuring a best-in-class step height of just 245mm, the user-friendly entry has been designed to make it easy for the operator to get on and off the machine. The low step height means that less strength is exerted when accessing or leaving the truck and the strain on the operators joints is also reduced. As a consequence, safety is improved.
The drivers cab is extremely spacious and has 50mm more headroom than its predecessor. Conveniently placed storage trays allow the operator to keep his workspace neat and tidy while see-through masts allow excellent forward visibility.
Because every application places different demands on the operator and the truck, the new EKS is fitted with a flexible, height-adjustable operators console. This allows both short and tall drivers to operate the order pickers. Furthermore, the console can be placed on both sides of the cab not only facing the forks, but looking through the mast to save the operator from having to turn around repeatedly during the course of his shift.
For high speed travel over long distances the operator can activate the trucks Drive module. In this mode, the truck moves forward with the load on the back. Using the Reverse module, enables the driver to comfortably steer the EKS with the load at the front to enable high pick rates over short distances
The operator consoles compact dimensions mean that, when order picking, the operator no longer has to bend over to put together partial loads on the pallet in front of him - thereby reducing the risk of back injury.
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, says Steve Richmond, general manager of Jungheinrich UK Ltds systems and projects division.
He continues: 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.
We are extremely proud of our new range of order picking trucks. They deliver market leading innovation and technologies, improving the operators environment, reaching new levels of efficiencies and improving all round performance and productivity. Exactly what you would expect from the market leader in VNA Trucks & Systems.