Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America Inc (MCFA) has introduced Jungheinrich Warehouse Navigation system technology to the North American market.

The system, designed to increase efficiency and productivity in narrow-aisle applications, uses transponder radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to control guided Jungheinrich very-narrow-aisle lift trucks within the aisles of a warehouse. Users of the system can expect an up to 25% increase in productivity.

The Warehouse Navigation system is a semi-automatic approach to reaching pallet positions within the aisles of a warehouse. Transponders are placed in the warehouse floor at specific distances and are used to communicate with a RFID reader/writer in the lift truck to identify warehouse aisle locations and distances. Armed with this information and the forklift’s height-measuring capability, the system knows its location within the aisles at all times and can be programmed to reach specific pallet positions by selecting the most efficient combination of traveling and lifting.

The system can be integrated with an existing warehouse management system (WMS), allowing for seamless transmission of orders to the operator’s RF terminal installed on the forklift. Once the order is received, the operator can activate the accelerator and the lift truck will drive to the designated pallet position. The lift truck can then store/retrieve a pallet automatically, or stop, allowing the operator to pick from the current pallet location.

Key features of the Warehouse Navigation system include:

•Increased productivity by up to 25%—The lift truck selects the optimum combination of driving and lifting to reach a pallet position in the fastest and most efficient way possible. The system also helps reduce product damage, because lifting and putting away of the pallet is controlled by the forklift in most instances, not the operator.

•High order picking and stacking accuracy—When the lift truck arrives at the designated pallet position, a spotlight (optional) illuminates the picking position, showing the operator which side of the aisle and which location to pick from. During pallet retrieval and put-away, the Warehouse Navigation system helps to ensure the correct pallet is moved based on the order received from the customer’s WMS.

•Adjustable warehouse layout—Warehouse Navigation is adaptable to future changes in the warehouse structure. If a rack row changes or if more racking bays are added, transponders are simply reprogrammed and the new configuration is stored in the controller. Changes are made using a laptop, and new layouts can be adjusted within minutes.

•Improved operator safety and control—Warehouse Navigation relies on orders from the user’s WMS to operate in a semi-automatic mode, selecting the most efficient path based on the items included on the order. However, the operator can deactivate the Warehouse Navigation system to manually operate the truck when needed.

For more information, visit www.jungheinrich-lift.com.