RICHMOND, VA – The energy-efficient EKX 513-515, a line of man-up turret trucks from Jungheinrich Lift Truck Corp., has been a spectacular success since their North American debut a year and half ago. What’s more, during this relatively short usage period, Jungheinrich has experienced an amazingly strong demand for the 3-wheel turrets that are equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) transponder readers as standard, as well as a state-of-the-art personnel protection system (PSS) as an important option. When utilized, both of these features can contribute significantly to improved productivity and operational safety in very narrow aisle working environments; and both systems are provided by Jungheinrich.
With Jungheinrich’s RFID system, RF transmitter/receivers are located underneath the truck and small, capsule-sized transponders are buried in the warehouse floor. During truck installation the transponders are programmed to issue a range of commands whenever the truck passes over them – e.g., reduce travel speed, limit lift height, sound the horn, etc. With appropriate programming, essentially any driving parameter can be added or changed. In effect, the truck performance can be tailored from spot to spot to ensure performance is always optimum.
According to Greg Mason, General Manager of Products and Training at Jungheinrich, “Since we first introduced the EKX turrets in North America, we’ve seen our RFID technology completely live up to its promise of maximizing not only truck productivity in very narrow aisles, but also speed profiles and safe operation characteristics. With RFID, the potential for damage to the truck, product, racking, and building surrounds is significantly reduced while productivity, measured in picks per hour, can be significantly increased. This is because operators can now concentrate more on moving and placing product, knowing that the truck control system is constantly monitoring truck position in the warehouse and optimizing performance in each position to maintain the highest levels of safe and secure operation.”
The EKX turret truck also offers Jungheinrich’s integrated, laser scanner-based personnel protection system (PSS) that can detect obstacles and pedestrians in the vehicle’s path, either in front or behind, while the truck works in very narrow aisle applications. When an obstacle or pedestrian enters its protection field, the PSS will sound an alarm, slow the truck down and stop it safely. In addition, Jungheinrich’s RFID transponder continuously acquires aisle data and travel parameters and uses this data to coordinate with the PSS, to control the activation and deactivation of the laser scanners.
Jungheinrich’s PSS is available in two versions, Professional and Professional Plus. They’re similar in many ways, but on the Plus version, the aisle-scanning distance varies directly with truck speed. The Plus version can also scan aisles of differing widths. Says Greg Mason, “To the best of my knowledge, we’re the only turret manufacturer serving North America offering an integrated PSS system as an option. More and more of our customers are requesting this option, to achieve the safest level of operation, especially when the trucks will be operating in aisles where there is even a slight possibility that pedestrians may be present.”
The EKX turrets, like all Jungheinrich electric trucks, are based on the company’s standard, high-torque, AC motor technology. And the energy efficiency gains on these latest 80V electrics are impressive. Jungheinrich took the previous EKX 513-515 series and substantially improved on the method of reclaiming energy from load and cabin lowering. The trucks are now 30% more efficient in terms of amps fed back to the battery. And the conversion of the battery’s DC power to AC is much more efficient, too, providing greater work output per battery charge. Users now experience up to 13 hours of run time vs. 10 hours on the previous models.
Other impressive features: The control console, used to lift and lower loads and drive the vehicle, can be adjusted to a position ergonomically suitable to the operator – or to suit the operation being carried out. The simple press of a switch adjusts the console position forward or back, while a knob is used to adjust the position up and down. This kind of customization should be expected from trucks that are specially built to suit the specific application. The trucks can be configured with a two or a three stage mast for various lift heights, and come in one of five basic chassis configurations with a variety of axle widths to precisely match the aisles in which they work. The advantage of this modular approach is superb adaptability to any warehousing and logistics operation. The EKX trucks can also be optionally equipped with built-in motorized stabilizers for even greater residual capacity to higher lift heights. As the load is being positioned, the stabilizers lower down into position to provide for an additional residual capacity of over 400 lbs. This provides for raising heavier loads to higher heights.
You can see an EKX truck, equipped with RFID and running on wire guidance in a simulated very narrow aisle environment, at Jungheinrich’s booth (#2019) at the ProMat show in Chicago, January 12-15, 2009. Or, for more information about the EKX 513-515 Turret Trucks, you can contact Jungheinrich Lift Truck Corp., 5601 Eastport Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23231. Call: 804-737-7400. Fax: 804-737-7467. Or, visit the website at www.jungheinrich-us.com.