Jungheinrich Lift Truck (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. has announced an RFID-based solution that permits fast recording and monitoring of multiple-depth pallet transports, such as those used in the drinks industry.
In this system transponders are positioned in the pallets, and aerials are integrated in the stacker's forks. The transponders are read automatically on entering and exiting the pallets. "This guarantees fast and above all safe identification of all pallets", said Dr. Markus Heinecker who is responsible for the warehouse management and new technologies business sectors at Jungheinrich. "This is particularly interesting for applications in the drinks industry but also for other sectors", Heinecker added.
EU standard 178/2002 applies to the drinks industry and according to this, every producer must guarantee the ability to retrace complete batches of their goods. The warehouse administration system needs to be able to find every pallet at any time. In older systems in the drinks industry barcodes on pallets were scanned manually and this also applied to multi-depth transports with forklift trucks. "This process is often prone to errors. There is no certainty about stock levels. The challenge in our solution was to reduce this disadvantage with an automatic system", said Heinecker.
In the actual application, a forklift truck picks up and transports six plastic half pallets at the same time. The pallets carry drinks and are transported from Production to the warehouse and from the warehouse to Goods-out. One RFID tag (transponder) is fixed to the center of each pallet base. Each transponder is given a clear number. The transponder is "married" to the goods in the warehouse administration system as soon as the pallet is loaded with articles. The truck driver recognises on his terminal that is connected via radio to the warehouse administration system whether he has picked up or deposited the right pallet and he is able to correct this if required. This total solution was tested in practice by a customer from the drinks industry in spring 2008. "The test was very successful with almost 100 percent readout rate", stated Heinecker.
Jungheinrich gave special attention to developing a robust aerial solution. "This proved to be one of the greatest challenges in our project", Heinecker observed. "On the one hand, we had to make sure that the aerials could not be damaged or even destroyed by pallets or falling loads and on the other hand, the screening effect of liquids would be inconsequential."
In cooperation with Munich Technical University, Jungheinrich developed a solution that integrated the aerials in the stacker forks."They are robustly and safely 'packaged' here", Heinecker continues. Pallets are recognised automatically "in passing" (both during entry and exit). "The screening effect of liquids on the pallets has no influence on identification", Heinecker added. "The developed solution is virtually indestructible compared with aerial solutions on the outer forks or on the mast."
Jungheinrich is an international companies in the forklift truck, warehousing and material flow technology sectors and offers its customers a comprehensive range of stackers, racking systems and services for complete internal logistics.