Crown Equipment is giving order pickers updated new technology for pallet trucks that offers a substantial efficiency boost. The company’s QuickPick Remote Order Picking Technology utilizes a special glove that remotely controls the movement of the pallet truck and is now being rolled out throughout Southeast Asia. The system uses task-automating technologies to simplify workflow and optimize the order picking process, thereby increasing productivity and reducing operator fatigue.
Greg Facer, general manager – Crown Insite and technology business development Pacific Rim, said Crown’s designers saw the potential to integrate rider pallet trucks and low level order pickers with beneficial new technology in the same way it does with its counterbalance forklifts and reach trucks. “Our design team looked at how we could improve efficiency to more of our equipment range through technological innovation,” Mr Facer said. “Research found that with rider pallet trucks, the operator steps up and down from the driving platform frequently, taking many unproductive steps during the picking process. We realized if we could design and engineer a means of remotely controlling the truck, we could save around 70 percent of the steps operators take getting on and off the platform and significantly reduce the number of unproductive steps.”
“The transceiver glove and trigger has to ‘pair’ with individual trucks in a way that would allow multiple trucks to be controlled by multiple operators in the same work environment,” Mr. Facer said. “This is similar in principle to how individuals can pair their mobile phones with a Bluetooth hands-free device in passenger vehicles but at a more advanced level, allowing operators to work independently of each other without interference.”
After pairing, operators simply double click the button embedded in the glove to move the truck to the next picking location.
“Because there are often random cartons in warehouse aisles, the truck needed to have a means of ‘sensing’ such obstacles and avoiding contact. This was achieved by mounting lasers to the front of the vehicle that inform the truck of any obstacles, activating the braking system. Through its ability to detect obstacles in the path of the truck with lasers, QuickPick Remote also enables the system to work with Crown’s Access 1 2 3® Comprehensive System Control that initiates minor corrections to the travel path to keep the truck moving down the aisle. The wireless transceiver glove and trigger modules also include horn and brake buttons for added safety and control.”
“Low-level order picking is a fast-paced, physically demanding job where operator fatigue has a significant impact on productivity. In fact, customers tell us that any improvements in the picking process would contribute to noticeable operational gains,” Mr. Facer said. “This technology enables operators to remain behind the forks, working in the optimum position for picking while maintaining a consistent rhythm and pace, resulting in increased productivity and reduced fatigue.”