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Speed zoning solution

05 April 2019

Transmon helps Snack food leader protect pedestrians from forklifts in partnership with STILL.

Pladis Global is home to brands such as McVitie’s and has been dealing with STILL Materials Handling for the last 15 years. STILL supplies the full range of materials handling equipment, from hand pallet trucks, forklift trucks to fully automated warehouse solutions. 

STILL have been supporting Pladis Global with their ongoing materials handling requirements and ever changing needs at their Ashby-de-la-Zouch site which now boasts over 25 trucks in their fleet.

During the course of ongoing health and safety surveys across the site (with continuous site improvements ensuring that the workforce is kept as safe as possible), Pladis identified 2 key ‘pinch points’ within their extensive warehouse operations. Within these key areas Pladis felt that forklift trucks and pedestrians were too close to one another, with no other option but to pass in close proximity.

The decision was made to look at a way of slowing the fleet of trucks down in these areas to ensure maximum safety and minimum risk of a pedestrian or forklift truck accident occurring. 

The challenge faced by Pladis was to find a system that would: minimise the downtime of the trucks, maximise productivity, require little or no ongoing maintenance, allow a higher speed only upon request (to stop the truck just accelerating away), to be cost effective, but most of all to be safe and as tamper-proof as possible.

Speed was identified as a key factor that the trucks would need to maintain in low risk areas to ensure that productivity was kept to a maximum. A speed zoning system was decided upon which led to inviting Transmon Engineering to site to discuss their own in-house designed systems.

"The volume of trucks meant that our system would be a perfect fit due to the arduous forklift conditions it has been specifically designed for."

Transmon put forward their own design for speed zoning which also allowed the use of switchable, in-built speeds within the STILL trucks to help keep the costs down. The speed zoning system from Transmon Engineering utilises a similar setup to fast rise door loops by installing a pair of loops into the floor at either end of the ‘zone’ to be used. This method of installation ensures longevity of the system as it is extremely hard wearing and will not fade over time unlike other systems. These loops are then detected in sequential order by the truck which is passing over them. Finally, this order is then used to determine which direction the vehicle is travelling in and therefore which speed needs to be used by the truck. 

Ross Munro, sales director, Transmon Engineering says: “Upon visiting site, it became apparent that our speed zoning system was going to be required. The volume of trucks meant that our system would be a perfect fit due to the arduous forklift conditions it has been specifically designed for. Several site visits combined with a specific modification to the system enabled it to be compatible with the electric trucks and the in-built speed controls that these already impressive trucks have. We love this system as once it is installed it simply does the job. We rarely have to worry about anything else until it is time to swap the modules on to new trucks at a contract renewal or truck replacement.”

Transmon Engineering was duly contracted to carry out the project and collaboratively worked with STILL Materials Handling to install the units and program the trucks to use the necessary speed control. The system has now been in operation for several months and the site is extremely happy with the end result.  

Julie Starling, regional service manager, STILL) says: “Having worked with Transmon in the past, I knew they would survey and advise a suitable product for the challenge presented. They modified the product to suit the application and STILL trucks whilst ensuring STILL and our customer were happy at every stage, the communication from them was excellent.  This quickly escalated and further trucks were added to the retrofit. We are now all confident that the risk presented within the ‘danger zone’ has been minimised due to the automatic slow down process now in place.”

The system has now been in operation for several months and the site is extremely happy with the end result. Mike Hellier, logistics and development manager, Pladis Global adds: “We invested in the Transmon forklift speed control system to ensure that our permanent and temporary team members were protected in key parts of the site. We were pleasantly surprised at how fast and simple the installation was and it has proven to be 100% reliable. Our forklift activity is now fully regulated and there has been a clear and demonstrable improvement in safety. We were very happy with the pricing, functionality and delivery of the system and are looking at extending it to further areas of the site.”