Protecting pedestrians working alongside vehicles is one of the biggest health and safety challenges for industrial vehicle fleet owners. To help reduce the risk, materials handling safety specialist, Transmon Engineering is working in partnership with SiteZone proximity warning system supplier, OnGrade, in support of its ‘Don’t Burst the Bubble’ campaign.
Well established within the construction and waste management sectors, OnGrade’s ‘SiteZone’ warning system is an audible and visual proximity warning system designed to reduce the risk of vehicle personnel collisions. Leicester-based Transmon offers a range of electronic systems to help make materials handling operations safer and more efficient, including its recently updated iTEch Control system, which restricts a vehicle’s top travel speed to enhance safety.
The two companies have joined forces to offer Site Zone and iTEch Control as a combined system that automatically restricts a vehicle’s travel speed when it comes within close range of a pedestrian, vehicle or asset with an RFID tag, worn or attached. It then warns the vehicle operator audibly and visually, automatically reducing the truck’s travel speed.
In a loading yard operation, for example, it allows forklifts to operate at maximum site speed –until a lorry driver (wearing an active RFID tag) strays into the loading area. Then the forklift operator is alerted by an alarm and flashing beacon, as the forklift’s travel speed is slowed automatically. The lorry driver can also be alerted of the forklift’s presence, with vibrations from the RFID tag.
The forklift’s travel speed and detection range can also be reduced ‘on-the-fly’ as the vehicle passes through a fast-rise door by further use of the iTEch Zone system, helping to protect the building and stock from damage. The reduced detection range also prevents unnecessary detection of the lorry driver, who is still in the yard. Any pedestrians in the warehouse would still be detected by the forklift, and also alerted by vibrations from their tags. As the forklift leaves the warehouse again, the speed and detection range are switched back to maximum, allowing the driver to continue loading the vehicle efficiently and safely.
Through the iTEch Zone system, vehicle travel speed can also be reduced in designated areas using fixed transmitters on site and receivers attached to the trucks. The outputs from the unit can also be used with various accessories, such as sirens, beacons, and the iTEch Spot Alert (a brightly-coloured spotlight on the floor to alert pedestrians of an approaching forklift truck).
Managing Director of Transmon, Steve Coley, has worked in the industry for over 40 years, and is responsible for creating most of the iTEch range. “The iTEch Control unit has a great number of potential applications on industrial vehicles. The truck’s travel speed could be slowed down if the mast is raised, if it’s reversing, if it has a load on the forks – the possibilities are almost endless to suit specific applications,” Steve says. “OnGrade has an excellent product in the ‘Site Zone’ system, and I’m excited to team up with the company and offer this unique combination of features to our customers.”
While Transmon systems are designed to help improve the safety of forklift operations, they should always be used in conjunction with the correct employee training, and necessary supervision and safety precautions. “It is important to remember that no system is designed to be an alternative to training or supervision,” explains Steve Coley. “They should always be considered as an added safety measure.”