Crown Updates Stacker Offering with Improved M 3000 Series Walkie Straddle Stacker

Crown M3000-20

NEW BREMEN, Ohio  – Crown Equipment Corporation, one of the world’s largest material handling companies, is updating its stacker lineup with the new small footprint M 3000-20 walkie straddle stacker. The M 3000-20 delivers better visibility, productivity, and maneuverability for stacking, moving and managing product in retail, small warehouses and other businesses needing to optimize their space.

“The M 3000-20 improves upon and replaces the Crown M walkie straddle stacker with design changes and new features that raise productivity, ease of use and versatility,” said Ethan Hayes, Class 3 product manager, Crown Equipment.

“With a shorter head length, quieter operation and a 2,000-lb. capacity, the M 3000-20 is right at home in smaller spaces,” said Hayes. “And when it’s time to get to work, this new stacker stands out with an additional lift height of 144 inches – one more pallet position on the rack, double the lifting speed, nearly twice the lowering speed, adjustable straddles and a game-changing feature, the Crown X10® Handle.”

The ergonomically designed X10 Handle improves operator comfort and allows the operator to control the vehicle while standing safely to the side. This improves the operator’s view and the stacker’s maneuverability. The handle includes a thumbwheel, raise/lower buttons and a brake override feature. Brake override enables the M 3000-20 to travel with the handle in a near-vertical position while staying within the footprint of the truck. Crown stackers provide a significantly tighter turn radius than typical rider counterbalance lift trucks.

The M 3000-20 can be used in many applications as a mobile workstation, which can be precisely positioned to improve productivity and comfort. Also, available is an optional snap-on work platform that creates a work surface for a variety of applications.

Other options include Work Assist accessories, keyless on/off, remote raise/lower control, fork locks, load backrest, a soft start hydraulic package and Crown’s InfoLink® operator and fleet management system, which monitors performance and utilization of connected equipment, people and processes.

The M 3000-20 joins Crown’s wide-ranging family of stackers, including straddle, reach, counterbalance and fork over models that address specific applications and challenges. view and greater maneuverability.

MAKING AUTONOMOUS ORDER PICKING A SUCCESS

How can we derive even greater benefit by combining what humans do best with the advantages of autonomous technologies? What should an adaptive autonomous picking system be able to handle and what safety measures are necessary to operate vehicles autonomously in public spaces? Answers to these questions are being provided by the QBIIK research project, which ends in June this year after three and a half years of development work.

autonomous order picker

The QBIIK project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as part of the ‘PAiCE – Digital Technologies for The Private Sector’ technology program (see pullout). The program uses prototype solutions in specific application areas to highlight the opportunities that arise from integrating and using innovative digital technologies. “The various objectives include optimizing the use of resources and ensuring that production is as environmentally friendly as possible. The new QBIIK FTF robot system makes value-added processes more efficient while using fewer resources,” says Gerd Hembach of the German Aerospace Center, which is responsible for the project.

Robot system learns via the user interface

The project is developing an adaptive autonomous picking system that combines the advantages of autonomous technologies with human capabilities. At the heart of the system is a locally controlled truck with a gripper robot capable of moving euro containers with a maximum weight of 15 kilograms. The vehicle can position itself within the warehouse, navigate to its destination, and reach for the ordered goods – all completely autonomously. A human-machine interface can be used to request remote human support via a virtual reality user interface as necessary, for example, if a gripping process fails. In this scenario, a person takes control of the robot to complete the identification and gripping processes. This human intervention allows the robot system to learn how to handle new work processes so that it can carry out new procedures in the future.


THE QBIIK TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM

autonomous pickerThrough the PAiCE (Platforms/ Additive Manufacturing/ Imaging/ Communication/ Engineering) technology program, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) funds the testing of new digital technologies in industrial processes and applications. The QBIIK project is part of this funding program, in which the development partners BÄR Automation, STILL GmbH, Audi Sport GmbH, and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are participating. The project is scheduled to end in June 2020 after three and a half years.


The iGo neo has all the right ingredients

The iGo neo from industrial truck manufacturer STILL provides the vehicle platform for the QBIIK project. The engineers at STILL incorporated intelligent robot technology – and therefore cognitive abilities – during the picking truck’s development. The result is an autonomous system that is perfectly tailored to the requirements of order picking tasks in environments such as retail, e-commerce, and spare part sales. “The truck’s equipment has proven hugely beneficial in this project. We have retained more than 90 percent of the existing software frameworks in the iGo neo and only had to make minor adjustments,” says Bengt Abel, who is responsible for the QBIIK project at STILL and at the holding company, the KION Group. “Because the vehicle is so autonomous and we know it very well, we have had more time to deal with other tasks.”

Virtual protective cage increases safety

And there have been plenty of other tasks to tackle. For example, a risk analysis identified 116 hazardous situations that could arise with the demonstrator vehicle. “That is why we looked at the necessary safety measures at great length. The biggest issue was that there is no standard to fall back on for this type of application where a robot is mounted on an autonomously moving vehicle. Simply adding a cage around the vehicle was not feasible in this case,” Abel adds. This challenge was resolved by installing a scanner that establishes a safety zone around the iGo neo. If a person or an object enters the zone, the truck and the robot arm are deactivated immediately.

Learning processes completed successfully

Another development priority was the autonomous truck’s ability to orient itself within its environment. For this, the STILL developers used Monte Carlo localization (MCL), a sample-based method for estimating the position and orientation of a mobile system. The first tests were run in the warehouse of project partner Audi. With the help of learning trips, waypoints were recorded which the autonomous system uses to find its way around. The iGo neo can then freely move between them using fixed objects such as walls and pillars as orientation points. “During the initial tests, the learning trips had to be carried out by us, but the plan, later on, is to enable system users to carry out these trips themselves,” says Abel. The containers on the shelves are detected in several stages by an artificial neural network using a combination of imaging sensors, a 3D camera, and tactile proximity sensors.

Overall, STILL development engineer Bengt Abel is very satisfied with the progress on the project. “We still have some work to do to speed up the truck and the robot, as it is currently too slow to use in the field,” he says in summary. However, this is largely due to safety requirements, which are still rather high. Gerd Hembach from the German Aerospace Center is also pleased with the results so far: “The consortium has developed reliable results within three and a half years and implemented them in an application. I expect to see a prototype of the entire system when the project concludes in June 2020.”

Source: Kion Group

FlexQube celebrates 5 years working with its online design platform, DesignOnDemand™

FlexQube

FlexQube is a material handling and industrial cart provider with experience within the logistics, distribution and manufacturing industries. Within this time, FlexQube had launched its DesignOnDemand™ platform, which allowed facility managers, engineers, and other customers to join an online design meeting. Within this meeting, everything is discussed, from transportation methods, the weight of the materials, to delivery times and manufacturing.

Now FlexQube is marking its fifth anniversary in its DesignOnDemand™ platform. This platform has been a pillar for the FlexQube brand in how we interact with our customers. In these five years, FlexQube has been able to help over 500 customers create, develop, and redesign their material handling solutions. This has led to over 1000 designs published on the FlexQube website, and this further improves the ease of creating solutions without the customer needing to leave their computer.

CEO Anders Fogelberg comments, “Without the use of our online platform, we wouldn’t have been able to help so many customers in such a short amount of time. In the beginning, some customers were a little hesitant, but as time went on, it seemed like the more obvious and beneficial method of interacting with customers, for both parties. I look forward to seeing how far we can take this platform in the future”.

We look forward to further strengthen the DesignOnDemand™ platform by using developing technology to create an even better and more valuable experience for the customer.

About FlexQube

FlexQube offers a unique and patented concept for the design and manufacture of robust, modular, and flexible carts and racks. The company has production in Sweden and the US with associated distribution in Europe and North America, including Mexico. On December 14, 2017, the company was listed on Nasdaq First North in Sweden.

FlexQube has some of the world’s largest manufacturers of automotive, energy, defense, aviation, appliances, and construction machinery among its customers. Some examples are Volvo Cars, Autoliv, Scania, Whirlpool, Eberspächer, and Oshkosh.

Creform angled cart looks at all the “angles” in brake production

material handling cart

Greer, SC—Creform Corporation, a manufacturer of unique products for material handling structures has designed and produced an angled shelf cart for an automotive parts supplier. The cart, one of several currently in the supplier’s manufacturing operation, holds a supply of brake calipers for a suspension subassembly. 

The compact cart can be loaded up and then positioned in the assembly cell for easy access, allowing the supplier to keep only what is needed in the cell to minimize the space dedicated to inventory.  The design of the cart also works well to support mixed model production or rapid changeover. 

The cart pictured features three angled shelf levels for ergonomic presentation and can easily be restocked from the rear, while still maintaining comfortable parts access from the front for the associate. The wide span is reinforced with central support and casters to create a cart that is both durable and rigid. An extra shelf is provided at the bottom for storage of miscellaneous items. Each of the cart’s levels can be repositioned or reconfigured with simple tools.

The cart features six 4 in. diameter swivel casters with urethane wheels for easy positioning, stability and safe movement.  The wheels lend themselves to easily move the structure from the warehouse to the production floor for housekeeping, or relocation. Four of the casters feature brakes that can be engaged for secure positioning. The cart has overall dimensions of 52” W x 20” D x 48” T and is designed to hold up to 750 lb.

As with all Creform carts, higher capacity and custom cart sizes and configurations are possible with the Creform system of 28 mm, 32 mm and 42 mm plastic coated steel pipes and metal joints. 

A wide variety of pipe color options are available and upgrade hitches are available for AGV delivery. Accessories include hooks, label holders for shelf levels or even shelf positions, writing surface with clipboards to name a few. Creform carts are available as a kit, assembled structure or in component form for a complete DIY solution  

The Creform System is used to create an array of material handling and efficiency-enhancing devices and is a proven component in continuous improvement and Lean Manufacturing programs. The company partners with customers in developing and implementing these programs.   

JLT Mobile Computers adds ultra-compact vehicle-mount terminal for logistic applications to its offering

New 10-inch rugged JLT1014P computer provides a cost-effective solution for warehousing and other logistics applications where space is limited, yet reliability and uptime are of utmost importance

JLT ultra-compact vehicle-mount terminal

Växjö, Sweden, 9 March 2020 * JLT Mobile Computers, a leading supplier of reliable computers for demanding environments, announces the launch of an addition to its line of vehicle-mount computers for logistic applications. The new JLT1014P provides customers in warehousing, transportation and other demanding application environments with a cost-effective rugged fixed-mount computer that is perfect for installation in small forklift cabins, trollies or other vehicles where space is at a premium.

“For years, our 12-inch JLT1214P computer has been one of the logistic industry’s most trusted and reliable workhorses,” says Per Holmberg, CEO of JLT Mobile Computers Group. “With the new 10-inch JLT1014P computer our customers get the same hassle-free operation with similar features, functionality, and performance, but in a smaller package – perfect for installation in tight places.”

With the smallest footprint in its class, the slender fixed-mount JLT1014P computer is the perfect choice whenever space in the driver’s cabin is limited. The very compact JLT1014P computer does not disrupt the view or get in the way, thereby improving operation, safety, and productivity.

The space-saving JLT1014P computer comes with a standard (400NIT) or sunlight-readable (800NIT) virtually unbreakable 10.4-inch XGA display with JLT PowerTouch™ technology and is designed to withstand the harshest environments. With an IP65 ingress protection rating, it is impervious to dust and highly resistant to water and can be used in extremely cold and hot temperatures. Furthermore, it offers a wide 9-36 VDC power input and has an internal battery for graceful shutdown in case of an unexpected vehicle power outage.

Based on the same power-efficient quad-core Intel© E3845 processor as the larger JLT1214P computer, the new JLT1014P model is optimized for Windows 10 LTSC and comes with integrated high-sensitivity PIFA antennas for reliable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth communication in challenging environments. Optional GPS/GLONASS/BeiDou and 4G LTE mobile broadband ensure connectivity and positioning over large areas.

Despite its compact size and profile, the JLT1014P computer provides a full complement of integrated I/Os, including four USB ports, a Gigabit LAN jack, external SMA antenna connectors, and a legacy serial port, all facing downward for easy, efficient use in any type of vehicle. The strong solid aluminum housing comes with all requisite mounting holes for standard brackets and mounts.

Like the existing 12-inch JLT1214P computer, the new JLT1014P model was created from the ground up for the challenges of logistics applications where productivity and customer satisfaction depend on maximum uptime and trouble-free operation in the toughest environments. Its smaller size and lower weight extend its reach into vehicles with smaller cabins, trollies or other vehicles used in warehouses, on manufacturing floors or any other situation where space is limited.

Contact JLT Mobile Computers for more information about the new JLT1014P computer, or visit www.jltmobile.com to learn more about JLT, its products, services, and solutions.

Crown Equipment Launches Small Footprint Lift Truck That’s Big on Operator Comfort

Crown C-G Series forklift

NEW BREMEN, Ohio – Crown Equipment Corporation, one of the world’s largest material handling companies, has introduced a new line of small footprint LPG lift trucks – the C-G Series Cushion Tire 3,000-4,000 lb. – designed for easy maneuvering and operator comfort in manufacturing, warehouse and beverage operations with limited space.

“Crown C-G series forklifts are space-savers for customers with limited floor space, and at the same time they are space-givers for lift truck operators who appreciate extra room to freely, efficiently and safely drive their machines,” said Rob Chaney, C-G Series marketing product manager.

The 37-inch-wide C-G chassis – about five to six inches narrower than the chassis of a typical 4,000 to 7,000 lb. forklift – allows C-G Series forklifts to nimbly navigate tight rack storage aisles. Chaney added that the new model economizes on space for end-users that utilize floor space to block stack. The truck also is well-suited for tight manufacturing areas and small businesses, such as breweries, that have limited space.

Available in 3,000-, 3,500- and 4,000-lb. capacities, the new lift truck comes with a choice of masts, with a range of lift heights, from 78 to 236 inches.

The operator compartment offers a spacious floorboard and strategic pedal placement to allow operators to easily pivot their foot from accelerator to brake, and to the inching pedal.

“And because C-G forklifts are equipped with an electronic switch parking brake, they don’t have a parking brake handle, giving operators even more room to move freely,” Chaney said. “Combined with the low step height, grab bar, extra headroom, and sculpted seat deck, this makes entry and exit easy for operators.”

Other operator comforts include the tilting and telescoping steering column, standard adjustable suspension seat, USB ports, and the standard reverse travel handle and horn button, which add to the comfort and safety of reversing with a load, allowing the operator to keep hands inside the forklift.

The new lift truck is powered by a 4-cylinder, 2-liter LP engine with powershift transmission. The 50.6 HP engine includes a selectable economy mode and top speed control.

The truck frame, heavy cast iron steer axle, and powertrain are rugged enough for transporting product outdoors between plants over concrete and black top surfaces. Several tire options are available.

An optional heavy-duty cooling package is available for heavy-use applications and for operation in high ambient temperatures.

The C-G Series’ oil-cooled disc brakes, covered by a five-year/10,000-hour warranty, are sealed to keep out dirt and contamination. “This feature cuts down on maintenance and is another plus for operator comfort,” Chaney said. “The brakes are always running in an oil bath to cool them and provide consistent pedal pressure, which means longer-lasting brakes and less operator fatigue.”

For ease of maintenance, C-G forklifts provide easy access for routine upkeep such as fluid checks and replacement. And the forklift’s convenient electronic air filter minder provides an on-dash warning when the air filter is plugged.

Toyota Material Handling North America Annnounces 2020 University Research Program Grant Recipients

Program to fund two research proposals designed to advance the material handling industry.

Toyota Material Handling Research Program

Brett Wood, President and CEO, Toyota Material Handling North America (right) congratulates Khurram Afridi, professor, Cornell University, (left) for receiving a University Research Program grant

ATLANTA (March 10, 2020) — Toyota Material Handling North America (TMHNA) has selected two universities’ research proposals to receive funding through the TMHNA University Research Program.

TMHNA announced the recipients of grant funding during a joint press conference at MODEX 2020 held in conjunction with Material Handling Institute (MHI). The research proposals selected for funding include:

  • Dynamic Capacitive Wireless Charging System for Autonomous MH Vehicles

Proposal Author: Prof. Khurram Afridi, Cornell University

  • Material Handling for Industry 4.0 in Small and Medium Enterprises

Proposal Author: Prof. Jorge Dorribo Camba, Purdue University

The sponsored research program was created to drive the next generation of technology for the supply chain, logistics and material handling industries. The program encourages university professors and researchers to apply their knowledge of engineering and technical fields, drawing synergies and collaboration between collegiate research and TMHNA.

The University Research Program, now in its fourth year, attracted a record 44 research proposals from 30 leading universities across the country.

“Our University Research Program is reflective of Toyota’s mission to solve challenges creatively,” said Brett Wood, TMHNA President and CEO. “In partnering with leading universities, we seek to foster industry-led innovation by combining our resources and guidance with the fresh and new ideas coming out of academia. Together in the spirit of collaboration, we hope to build a better, safer, more efficient future for the material handling industry.”

To learn more about the TMHNA University Research Program including information on previously funded projects and how to apply, visit UniversityResearchProgram.com.

MHS introduces IoT-based predictive maintenance solution for logistics facilities

Condition-based maintenance reduces unplanned downtime, avoids unnecessary service

predictive maintenance IIoT

(Mt. Washington, Ky.) March 10, 2020 – MHS (www.mhsglobal.com), a single-source provider of material handling automation and software solutions, announces the launch of MHS Insights, a condition-based maintenance solution that monitors assets through IoT sensors and system data to provide timely maintenance recommendations and strategic health assessments.

“By not leveraging data, warehouses and distribution centers miss significant opportunities to reduce downtime and make their service operations more effective and efficient,” says John Sorensen, senior vice president, Lifecycle Performance Services, MHS. “MHS Insights is designed to address this deficiency by combining data and analytics to provide precise, timely maintenance insights.”

MHS Insights integrates readings from multiple data sources with predictive models, historical readings and detailed knowledge of failure modes. This provides service organizations with precise, condition-based predictive alerts on potential failures, rated with a red, yellow or green level of urgency. These proactive maintenance and component replacement recommendations come well ahead of when alarms would activate in the control room.

By detecting emerging failure risks early, businesses can turn unplanned downtime into strategically planned repairs that minimize system disruption and help maximize reliability. Condition-based maintenance can also avoid unnecessary routine preventive maintenance tasks based on arbitrary schedules, not asset-specific information.

Facilities can integrate MHS Insights with the company’s CMMS solution, for a seamless, effective package to optimize maintenance spend and system performance. MHS Insight alerts can auto-populate work orders and part orders, saving time and cost on administrative tasks, and arming technicians with OEM specific recommendations and equipment information to expedite service.

To learn more about MHS Insights, click here.

EnerSys® Battery Solutions Enable Hybrid Power Approach for Optimal Operational Performance and Productivity

 

EnerSys Battery Solutions

READING, Pennsylvania, March 9, 2020 – EnerSys®, the global leader in stored energy solutions for industrial applications, is featuring its virtually maintenance-free NexSys® battery solutions at MODEX® 2020 in booth no. 7632. The NexSys® battery portfolio, including NexSys® PURE and NexSys® iON batteries, offer warehouse and distribution centers varying technologies, enabling a hybrid power approach to material handling operations.

Engineered with the latest generation of proprietary Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) and advanced Lithium-ion (Li-ion) technologies, both NexSys® batteries are designed to deliver simple, more productive, predictable power for a wide range of material handling applications, no matter the size of the operation.

“EnerSys strives to remain at the forefront of innovation to provide our customers with premium motive power solutions that maximize productivity and profitability,” said Harold Vanasse, Senior Director of Marketing, Motive Power Americas at EnerSys. “Our suite of advanced NexSys® batteries gives operators two dependable choices exclusively tailored to meet and exceed their power demands regardless of the vehicle application. Both battery chemistries can be utilized in different applications in the same facility to achieve an overall lower total cost of ownership.”

Optimized for fast- and opportunity-charging, NexSys® PURE batteries are ideal for light- to medium-duty applications and are available in a range of capacities and configurations. Featuring a proprietary carbon additive for extended cycle life and increased lifetime energy throughput, the batteries are also equipped with an integrated Battery Management System (BMS) and Wi-iQ® battery monitoring device to track various performance metrics, including discharge current, charge current and State of Charge (SOC).

NexSys® iON batteries are built to the highest safety, design, and manufacturing standards and are an ideal solution for powering heavy-duty applications. They are engineered with large format prismatic cells and Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) cell chemistry and the control module in each battery features an integrated BMS that enables communication with the charger and truck for optimum safety and control.

EnerSys also showcased the innovation behind wireless charging with an on-site demonstration. Wireless battery charging systems free up valuable floor space by eliminating the need for dedicated charging rooms. It can also slash labor demands, as operators will not be required to manually plug or unplug batteries. Instead, lift truck operators will simply drive over a location on the floor where a unit installed beneath it will automatically charge the battery.

For more information on EnerSys and its full line of products, systems, and support, visit www.enersys.com.

Seegrid Announces New Auto-Charging Self-Driving Vehicle for Material Handling

Seegrid GT10 Series 7 Plus

PITTSBURGH, PA – March 9, 2020 – Seegrid, leader in infrastructure-free, self-driving vehicles for materials handling, today announced the launch of GT10 Series 7 Plus, the first vision guided vehicle (VGV) to feature auto-charge integration and an enhanced sensing technology, further advancing automated material movement for manufacturing, distribution and e-commerce companies.

The newest addition to the Seegrid product offering, the GT10 Series 7 Plus automated tow tractor features a shorter mast structure to accommodate facilities with height restrictions, comes standard with auto-hitch capabilities, and features reverse sensing for added functionality. 

It also boasts auto-charge technology which allows the customer to automate the VGV battery charging process. The new auto-charge functionality is integrated into Seegrid Supervisor, the company’s fleet management software, which monitors the vehicle battery levels, automatically sends vehicles to charging stations, and schedules vehicles to return to production once a full charge is reached. 

“The GT10 Series 7 Plus closes the automation loop by providing an end-to-end solution with charging in-between jobs, removing the need for human assistance to complete the repetitive and hazardous task of battery maintenance,” said Jeff Christensen, Seegrid’s vice president of product. “This not only allows for safer work environments, but it also provides a more consistent throughput for a rapid return on investment for our customers.” 

Seegrid vehicles are designed to provide maximum reliability and flexibility in dynamic environments by using the industry-proven vision technology. Every vehicle features ten cameras which collect and interpret thousands of data points every second to create a 3D map of its environment – the most robust navigation system in the industry. Already the most reliable navigation in dynamic environments, this new advancement provides better maneuverability and visibility in tight spaces, while turning, and when moving backwards for increased customer throughput.

The addition of the GT10 Series 7 Plus is another example of Seegrid’s commitment to helping customers continue process improvement in their facilities. For more information about Seegrid’s products and services, visit www.seegrid.com