Narrow Aisle Autonomous Trucks Drive Throughput

Autonomous reach trucks are most valuable in the manufacturing, distribution, and 3PL environment when embedded with infrastructure-free navigation technology. After a decade of research and development, the best-in-class reach trucks use 3D cameras to pick and drop pallets safely. The reach robot drives cost savings and quality improvements. Pick and drop from conveyors, gravity racks, and mobile racks add to numerous application possibilities.

Increasingly narrow aisle widths must be navigated allowing facility layout optimization and space savings. The autonomous reach trucks interface with machines, conveyors, WMS, and ERP software for full integration within existing operations.
Narrow Aisle Autonomous Trucks Drive Throughput
Reach Truck Equipped with “Driven by Balyo” Technology

New 3D perception
Automation must never compromise accuracy particularly in FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) warehouses and distribution centers.  Autonomous reach trucks offer 20-30 times more data than 2D perception, offering higher pick/drop accuracy (+/-10mm).

Recognition is based on the 3D shape of the pallet. This considers the inside of the pallet, not just the front, and more importantly it recognizes and works with all pallet types.

Aisle space and performance

Companies using wide aisle forklifts (a sit-down counterbalanced truck), generally require aisles to be 12-13 feet wide for standard 48-inch pallets. Narrow aisle trucks allow the aisles to be 9.5 feet wide, and for very narrow aisle (VNA) trucks they can be 6 feet or less.

Some of the additional autonomous reach truck features must include a 2D barcode reader because it triggers custom actions upon scanning and ensures product traceability. There are also energy options needed from standard lead-acid or TPPL utilizing fast charging technology.

Because of the wide variety of designs in 3PLs and plant floors, load overhang detection helps to continuously monitor load size and position during a pick/drop process.  A curtain laser automatically and dynamically must be able to detect an obstacle at ground level (or at any height) maintaining optimal safety conditions.

The wheelbase of a reach truck is the same length as a normal counter-balance forklift; however, the body is more compact. When lifting a load, a reach truck moves the load back within the wheelbase. Less of the load is protruding from the reach truck, allowing it to work in much narrower aisles.

Turret type forklifts are used for operator pallet put-away and retrieval as well as order picking (case picking). A reach truck is designed for use in warehouses or 3PLs requiring high stacking in very narrow aisles.

Few reach trucks offer Integration of lasers into the chassis which make the design compact and optimizes the minimum aisle space required.
 
Load movements up to 55% faster dramatically increase throughput.
About The Author
John Hayes, Director of Sales for Balyo USA. Hayes is a widely-respected thought leader for the manufacturing, distribution, logistics, and materials handling industries. For more than twenty years Hayes has been evaluating, designing, developing, and implementing innovative technology solutions, with a particular focus in the AGV (automated guided vehicle) and AMR (automated mobile robots) space. Hayes is a Supply & Demand Chain Executive "Pros to Know" recipient. Contact Hayes at John.Hayes@balyo.com or on LinkedIn.

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Distribute complimentary product samples to potential customers to secure bulk purchases." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is the most effective way to market a manufacturing firm?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "For your target groups, write and publish richer, solution-oriented content. To make your company more known to the general public, take virtual tours of your facility and create product videos to give people a better understanding of your product and company." } }] }

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A favourite example of this is Loot Crates brilliantly innovative unboxing experience which connects, via an app, to new products and exclusive items. While technological innovation provides a novelty that encourages unboxing videos, simpler approaches can equally inspire the consumer through personal touches like VIVE Wellness’ individually packaged and addressed turquoise vitamin tubes, or M.M Lafleur’s curated and detail-oriented ‘bento box’ styling solution. These packaging creations work because they provide memorable experiences, centred on discovery, individuality and, ultimately, shareability. Packaging after purchase The third and most under-utilised part of the packaging journey is post-unboxing usage. Brands should ask themselves who the packaging is seen by – and does the packaging have the function to be seen and used by others? At this point in the packaging journey, we are hoping to harvest as many positive impressions as possible. This can include, for example, delivery drivers, photographers and stylists. The concept is not abstract. Reflect on the reaction felt by a fashion photographer the first time they received, from an enthused stylist, a Gucci item in its new opulent emerald green packaging. Or the response of a delivery driver when seeing, in amongst the more mundane boxes, MatchesFashion’s reimagining of the a cardboard parcel. Is it likely that the impression made by those stand-out packaging designs will be talked about, purred over, recommended and revered? The answer is obviously a resounding yes. When this happens online, we call it influencer marketing. And we should not dismiss this type of marketing when it happens offline. Word of mouth matters. In an increasingly online consumer market where the first – and perhaps only – physical interaction between brand/consumer is through the packaging experience, it will matter more. To our imaginary trio of driver, photographer and stylist, let’s introduce the general consumer. How likely it is that any of those would throw such packaging away? They are so wonderfully designed that reusability and repurposing are inevitable. When a packaging compels secondary usage - deployed around homes and offices as containers, storage or decoration – you are creating an item that symbolises what marketers spending entire budgets pursuing: brand as central to an aspirational lifestyle. If the retail market is moving irrevocably online, the offline journey of packaging – from manufacturer, deliverer, consumer and user – can ease that transition and become a perpetual marketing tool. This way, brands and retailers can enjoy the journey and the destination.

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