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Comprehensive proximity warnings

29 June 2018

Elokon’s mobile driver assistance system ELOshield provided the safe solution for a particularly demanding set of circumstances for a large shoe retailer.

P&P Schuhvertriebs in Germany has a network of outlets in the country as well as an online shop, and stores and packs stock at its Central Distribution Centre in the State of Saxony.

Many safety systems give just acoustic and optical warnings to alert personnel to hazardous situations, but for employee Sybille Großer, who is deaf, this would not have been sufficient to ensure her safety in a busy warehouse environment.

The 1,000 sq m premises consist of two warehouses, with some narrow aisles which enables high density storage and efficient picking, but it also poses considerably more risks for warehouse personnel compared to wide aisle operation. Ms. Großer is at particular risk when she enters this area as she cannot hear the forklifts approaching – and they are travelling down the aisles at high speed to keep to the best possible loading and handling cycles.

A very specific solution for this scenario was therefore needed, and ELOshield fitted the bill perfectly. This radio based mobile driver assistance system automatically detects the presence of personnel in a forklift’s danger zone, and crucially, it features not only acoustic and visual alerts but also a further warning in the form of vibration on a personal module. It is available in three options: truck to person, truck to truck and zoning.

"This extra layer of protection makes it much safer for Ms. Großer and was therefore the ideal choice for our requirements," said P&P MD Christian Penciulescu.     

The ELOshield forklift module is installed in an easily visible location above the dashboard of the truck. This transmits a radio signal, which is received by personal modules carried or worn by personnel; Ms. Großer wears hers, which is just the size of a smartphone, on an armband. The system was installed and operational in just one day, having previously been configured with circular warning and protective zones. The warning zone is active from a distance of 3m, whilst the protective zone is active from 1.5m.

On the basis of a so called run-time measurement of the radio signal, the system continually detects the distance between the forklift and the person. If a specific distance is breached, the forklift driver is alerted to imminent danger and at the same time the module emits an acoustic signal as well as a vibrating alarm. Should the vehicle get closer, the vibrations become more pronounced.

"This twofold warning system for Ms. Großer therefore gives her plenty of time to react to keep her out of danger," said Christian Penciulescu.