New Forklift Assistance Reverse System Unveiled

New Forklift Assistance Reverse System Unveiled

A new, customisable, active collision warning system for manned forklifts has been unveiled by sensor intelligence specialists Sick AG.

Process and Control Today reports that the Sick Backup Assistance System (BAS) alerts drivers to prevent collisions with people or objects when their view is restricted by blind spots or during reverse, for instance.

There are around 1,300 UK workers hospitalised every year with serious injuries following forklift accidents, and key contributing factors include driver lapses in concentration, or increased speed and movement due to increased productivity targets.

The Sick BAS has been based on the Sick LiDAR (Light Ranging and Detection) sensing technology that can be fitted to most forklift types easily with minimal investment, and without the need to attached expensive additional equipment to surrounding obstacles, thus providing an opportunity for factory and logistics environments to reduce the risk of forklift accidents.

Active Collision Warning

Neil Sandhu, Sicks UK National Systems Product Manager explained that forklifts present one of the greatest workplace safety concerns to pedestrians, particularly as forklift operators can spend several hours a day reversing.

However, many forklift collision warning systems are passive, which means they use constant audible alarms, warning lights or distracting in-cab driver camera displays,” he added.

“Although some active warning concepts, such as radar, have previously been available, the Sick BAS is an affordable, stand-alone system that does not require the installation of reflectors or transmitters all-around production and logistics halls, and staff dont need to wear special pads or tags.”

Te Sick BAS uses a LiDAR sensor to issue an alert when a stationary or moving object or person is detected. One or two of the Sick Tim351 LiDAR sensors can be mounted on forklifts to provide full coverage of required areas, and the monitored areas are scaleable, easily adjusted with flexible mounting options. 

Universal, stand-alone solution

The Sick BAS has kits available to suit the different voltages and electrical systems of common forklifts. Two warning fields can be customised to suit the vehicle type and the surrounding infrastructure. The fields are easy to set up using a standard PC and Sicks SOPAS software engineering tool.

Forklift operators are warned via a traffic light stack and an audible pulsing then constant alarm tone as the obstacle gets closer to the vehicle, allowing the driver ample time to take action when obstructions or people are in the BAS’ field of view.

The LiDAR sensor uses an invisible 270º infrared 2D scanning plane that uses built-in algorithms connected to the vehicle’s drive system and is only enabled when the forklift is reversing, thus avoiding the frequent false triggers that can prove a nuisance with other detection technologies.

The Sick BAS has already been proven in Europe and the US and is now available in the UK for the first time.

As an assistance system that has a separate function from a certified safety system, it does not replace the need for full risk assessment, appropriate training, and the provision of suitably segregated pedestrian zones.

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