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Worker safety first

11 March 2021

A manufacturer has implemented technology from ELOKON to boost the safety of pedestrians working in close proximity to forklifts.

Mondi Ascania makes non-woven products for the hygiene, personal care and medical sectors. A year or so ago the company made the decision to reduce any risks of accidents even further by fitting ELOKON’s ELOshield assistance system on its fleet of Toyota forklift trucks. 

At Mondi’s manufacturing facility in the German state of Saxony Anhalt, four 50m long production lines operate around the clock, with the fabrics coming off the conveyor belts on large bales. While the production process is to a large extent automated, other operations such as taking the bales to the packaging and storage areas, preparation for despatch and quality management involve the use of forklifts and manual labour. 

There has not yet been a single serious accident involving collisions between personnel and vehicles on site, thanks to Mondi’s stringent implementation of occupational health and safety measures. The forklifts circulate mainly in a relatively confined area of just 300 sq m between the packing stations, so there is little room to manoeuvre. Add to this very limited visibility and a constant stream of pedestrian traffic between the halls and this makes for a challenging environment for the truck drivers.

ELOshield automatically recognises when a person enters the danger zone of an operating forklift truck, by means of two modules which communicate with each other via radio signals. The forklift module is installed in a clearly visible position in the driver’s cab whilst the personal module, around the size of a smartphone, is worn by the pedestrian. 

Constant transmission of radio signals measures the distance between the two modules in real time, and if this falls below a certain threshold the system triggers alarms. The driver receives visual and acoustic notification that a person is within the danger zone of the vehicle and the pedestrian is alerted by means of vibration and acoustic alarms, which also coincide with the truck being automatically brought to a standstill.

Mondi SHE Coordinator Maik Roemhold says: “Our employees really like this system. They feel safe and protected when they move around the production lines.”

ELOshield was installed on a number of the Toyota models, and going forward Mondi plans to fit all its new trucks with this system. In common with all of ELOKON’s safety and assistance systems, it is compatible with any forklift brand as the radio signals can be adapted to be received by any truck, and it can also be retrofitted to existing fleets.

For more information, visit www.elokon.com