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 TU Graz researchers show that enzyme function inhibits battery ageing
21.03.2017 | Technische Universität Graz

nachricht New nanofiber marks important step in next generation battery development
13.03.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars

22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>