PKL tests forklift trucks equipped with a new pedestrian and obstacle detection system
P KL – Concern Component Logistics/Management employees are currently testing 15 Jungheinrich forklift trucks in the M1, M2 and M6 halls and the smelters in Mladá Boleslav. In November, the electrically powered devices received their new Blaxtair safety system to reduce the risk of collisions with pedestrians or fixed obstacles at busy operational sites.
The newly installed system monitors the area behind the forklift truck, which is an area that the driver may not always be able to see clearly and where he could fail to notice an obstacle or pedestrian. “However, the system doesn’t relieve the operator or the pedestrian of responsibility. Despite the use of the novelty, the employees must maintain their vigilance and compliance with the rules for movement in the workplace”, says Tomáš Táborský from PKL/2 – Material Management. The system was deployed thanks to PL – Brand Logistics, which centrally manages the implementation of safety measures in handling equipment and also finances similar innovations.
The novelty operates on a fairly simple principle. The forklift truck now features a stereoscopic camera on the rear of the cab roof, which captures the space with its 3D field of view. The data from the dual camera are analysed in real time by the control unit, which recognises objects and people. If a person or an obstacle is present in the detection zones, the control unit displays a warning to the driver on the instrument panel display, or the truck brakes automatically. Visual warning or deceleration is also accompanied by an audible warning. “The range of detection zones (see the Detection zones sidebar) can be tuned for the system and set according to the needs of the individual workplaces”, explains Táborský. Unlike security systems that use vibration wristbands (e.g. in Kvasiny, where the robot cooperates with a human in the just-in-sequence mode), workers do not have to wear any equipment. However, Blaxtair only detects the space behind the cart and not a full 360 degrees around the cart, which is what the wristband systems do. (You can read more about them on ŠKODA Storyboard in the article entitled “Robot delivers just-in-sequence parts directly to the production line at the ŠKODA AUTO plant in Kvasiny”). ED
The system detects two types of zones – obstacles and pedestrians, which can overlap and whose sizes can be set within certain limits. The system can detect obstacles up to 3 metres behind the forklift over a width of up to 6 metres in total. Pedestrians can be detected at a distance of 1.2 to 7 metres. It is not possible to do so any closer to the forklift because then the camera cannot “see” the person’s full silhouette. In the case of pedestrians, the zone width is 5 metres. For every zone, you can set the actions that the system will perform once it detects an object. These include an audible alarm, forklift deceleration or a complete stop.