An RFID solution for tracking pallets with the help of a Jungheinrich forklift truck

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An RFID solution for tracking pallets with the help of a Jungheinrich forklift truck
Saturday, September 13, 2008Description :
This RFID system developed by the Group allows the recording and rapid control of pallets when simultaneous loading of several loads, such as those used in the beverage industry.

Jungheinrich has developed its own RFID solution. The highlight of the system: the transponders are positioned in the pallets and antennas integrated in the forks of the trolleys. The transponders are automatically read during the entry and exit of the forks in the pallets.

"This ensures fast, reliable identification of all pallets," says Dr. Markus Heinecker, Head of Warehouse Management and New Technologies at Jungheinrich. This newly developed solution is mainly used to record and manage pallets when simultaneously taking multiple loads.

"This is particularly interesting for applications in the beverage industry but also for other sectors," says Heinecker.

Decree EU 178/2002 applying to the beverage industry stipulates that each producer must be able to trace the complete batches of these products. This implies, among other things, that the warehouse management software (WMS) can locate each pallet at any time.

In beverage industry applications, pallet barcodes are often scanned manually, even for the simultaneous transport by forklift of several pallets. "This process often leads to errors. There is no certainty about stock levels. The challenge was to find an automatic system to minimize this inconvenience, "says Mark Heinecker.

In the current application, a forklift picks up and simultaneously transports six half plastic pallets. They carry drinks and are transported from production to the warehouse and from the warehouse to the shipping docks.

An RFID tag (transponder) is attached to the central pad of each pallet. Each transponder is assigned a specific number and is "married" with the goods in the management software as soon as the pallet is loaded with them.

The operator knows, thanks to his terminal connected by radio to the management software, whether he has entered or deposited the right pallets and is able to perform, if necessary the necessary rectification. This solution was tested by a drinking industry customer in the spring of 2008. "The test was more than conclusive with a success rate of almost 100%," says Heinecker.

Jungheinrich has paid particular attention to the design of a robust antenna. "It turned out to be one of the great challenges of our project," Mr. Heinecker continues. "On the one hand, we had to make sure that the antennas could not be damaged or even destroyed by pallets or falling loads and on the other hand, the screen effect of liquids should not bother us.

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