Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Crash sensor boosts safety in warehouses

29.04.2011
At the end of a long day on the job, the warehouse employee wants to deposit the last palettes quickly before heading home. With a little too much momentum he steers his forklift toward the shelf and collides with a shelf support.

This is an every- day situation in large warehouses in which employees often have to maneuver goods through the narrow aisles, often under time pressure. Even harmless-seeming collisions are not really safe though, because over time they may in fact destabilize the shelf supports. In the worst case, the high-rack storage can come crashing down – a serious hazard for the employees below.

This is why the supports must be routinely checked for any damage. Up until now, an employee has to inspect each shelf individually – a laborious and time-consuming process. A further drawback: If a support is damaged immediately after an inspection, it goes undetected until the next round. A more effective and reliable protection is afforded by a new monitoring system developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems IMS in Duisburg, in collaboration with IWS Handling GmbH.

With the aid of a network of wireless sensors, the condition of each individual support can be monitored around the clock. "Since DIN EN 15635 was introduced, the demands on the operation of shelf systems have increased significantly. Regular inspections have become indispensable as a result," according to Dr. Weiner, managing director at IWS Handling.

Typically, to protect them from collisions, the supports are fitted with a kind of air cushion designed to absorb the impact. "We have integrated sensors in this protective fitting that measure the pressure within the air cushion," explains Frederic Meyer, project manager at IMS. If an air cushion is collided with, the sensor registers the change in interior pressure and reports this via radio relay to a central control station. This is located in the warehouse manager's office. Repeaters positioned at several points throughout the warehouse receive the messages from the sensor nodes and smoothly pass these along to the control station.

All the warehouse manager needs to do is glance at the base station to know when and where the last collisions took place within the hall. The system automatically provides him or her a report of whether the impact was harmless, of medium strength or serious. While no immediate measures are required for light collisions, in the event of a category three incident the warehouse manager immediately will send an employee to the shelf in question.

Energy management played a central role in developing this new technology. "After all, the use of such a system only pays off if you aren't constantly having to replace the batteries in the sensors," Meyer adds. The researchers in Duisburg have configured the system so that the electronics spend most of their time in energy-saving sleep mode. Only when a fluctuation in pressure occurs do the sensor nodes "wake up" and switch to active status. At certain intervals, though – the settings can be varied individually – each sensor node sends a "sign of life" along with its current battery status to a repeater. This ensures that the failure of a signal node will not go unnoticed and is reported to the control station.

The scientists expect to have realized a first demonstrator model by the end of March, which they will then present at the Euro ID (April 5-7 in Berlin) and Sensor + Test (June 7-9 in Nuremberg) trade fairs. A field test is planned for a larger warehouse facility as well. The project is sponsored by the "Otto von Guericke" German Federation of Industrial Research Associations.

Frederic Meyer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ims.fraunhofer.de

Further reports about: Crash Crash sensor IMS IWS Wireless sensors air cushion harmless-seeming collisions

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Laser sensor LAH-G1 - optical distance sensors with measurement value display
15.08.2017 | WayCon Positionsmesstechnik GmbH

nachricht Engineers find better way to detect nanoparticles
14.08.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>