Monday, April 11, 2016

Warehouse Danger in Moving Freight with a Fork Lift Can Be Eliminated

Aftermarket Product Can Warn Drivers of Excess Mass and Unsafe Positioning
Shipping News Feature
EUROPE – WORLDWIDE – Anyone who has trained as a fork lift truck driver will know that the little diagram, usually mounted somewhere within his or her range of vision, is supposed to help gauge whether a load can be correctly lifted given the declared weight. They will also know the total impracticality of such a judgement. Across Europe and around the globe, every year several hundred people die in forklift related accidents, many more are injured. Forklifts tipping over drop their load, damaging or toppling warehouse racking, causing serious material damage just in the everyday, essential activity of moving freight.

Now Netherlands based RAVAS has introduced a retro fitted safety system which instantly enables the truck driver to establish the exact force being exerted upon his fork lift and thus knowing if it is safe to lift away. The RAVAS-SafeLoad acts as an active load diagram: it calculates with weight, load centre point and mast tilt, in order to decide whether a load is lifted safely in the current situation. When the lifting is unsafe, the systems cabin display alerts the driver with both audio and visual signals.

The RAVAS-SafeLoad uses information from a hydraulic sensor and a set of sensors that measures the moment forces from load centre position and mast tilt, to present stability information in the display. A led bar below the weight display goes from green (safe lifting), via yellow, to red (unsafe lifting: risk of tipping over). The led bar stability indication is enhanced by the colour of the weight display (green backlight in safe situations, red backlight in unsafe situations), and by a fork in the weight display that is divided in three segments, one of them blinking to indicate the load centre position on the forks.

Using the system a 2.5 tonne lift truck with a load of 1.823 kg picked up close to the carriage plate might result in a weight indication of 1.820 kg in the display, against a green background, with the middle fork segment blinking for a load centre point at 500-600mm, and four green LEDs lit up on the LED bar. However, the same load picked up at the fork tips will result in the same 1.820 kg in the display, but against a red background for unsafe lifting, with the right side fork segment blinking (LCP at 800 – 1.000 mm), the red segments on the LED bar lit up, and a warning buzzer going off.

The indicator of the RAVAS-SafeLoad has a built-in data logging function. It automatically records every single lifting event over time. The data can be downloaded via Bluetooth connection, and provides information on safety and efficiency of the truck’s use, for fleet management. A patent is currently pending for the system and a video demonstrating its use can be seen here.