What are pallet detection systems? How can these improve my warehouse’s productivity?
One issue many warehouses face is damaged pallets and goods. Sometimes, even automated forklifts cannot perfectly take and put down all these pallets. These “miss picks” can lead to delayed operations or hazardous conditions.
With speed as a priority in warehouse operations, pallets are not always positioned on the racks as they should be. They are sometimes turned at an angle instead of being perpendicular to the aisles. This situation leaves complete autonomous forklifts (AFTs), which follow pre-programmed paths, magnetic tapes, and rack reflectors with no clear approach to insert their forks into the pallets. Allowing these AFTs to “see” the racks and pallets using pallet detection systems can greatly impact warehouse efficiency. Through pallet detection systems, AFTs can avoid damaging racks and goods. They will also prevent them from being trapped between aisles that can take hours.
This technology increases overall equipment efficiency (OEE), the standard for quantifying manufacturing productivity based on availability, quality, and equipment performance.
How do pallet detection systems work?
There are many pallet detection systems available in the market; each offers different advantages and disadvantages. However, all these systems use a variety of remote sensing technologies. They employ cutting-edge time-of-flight (ToF) technology to enable ATFs to navigate through racks and pallets accurately. These stereoscopic systems provide full 3D sensing capabilities across an entire field of view without the expensive costs of additional computers.
Lidar scanning systems, a technology used for tracking and measuring distance used in some AFTs, only provide 3D cross-sections of a rack or pallet. This can cause aiming challenges on higher lifts. On the other hand, pallet detection systems can have a complete visualization of the entire rack and its pallets. Another drawback of lidar systems is that its algorithm filters out data from highly reflective materials such as reflectors and plastic wrappings, further reducing the amount of useful data it processes. It results in inferior AFT guidance and reduced OEE.
Pallet detection systems that use ToF technologies benefit from the power of the illumination systems, which can penetrate reflective materials more effectively than lasers can. They are also not affected by ambient light, a problem for lidar systems.
More intelligent software
An effective pallet detection system should allow AFTs to quickly locate any pallet, regardless of the type. For example, it should be able to work on a GMA or CHEP pallet, whether it’s US or Australian-made, and even if it’s damaged or misaligned.
Thus, engineers have to continue developing these systems in a warehouse setting to speed up the process. They need a real-world environment to have accurate calculations and adjust their configurations. They need to use different pallet types and scenarios to make the system smarter and become adaptive in any kind of situation.
A pallet detection system has to recognize the two pockets on a single pallet and an imaginary pallet created by pockets of adjacent pallets. It could be a real problem if it was not able to, so engineers have to be prepared for this scenario.
How to use this technology more efficiently
To achieve a truly efficient and productive warehouse, you need more than just technology. You need a partner who understands what it takes to run a warehouse and provides you with the best tools and equipment available in the market. It helps to get a sole supplier for your racks and pallets and give your AFTs a better time inside your warehouse.
Wholesale Industrial Parts have everything you need for your warehouse. We pride ourselves on the quality of service we provide to our customers. We have a whole collection of parts and products to provide you. Our team ensures that you get what you need at the most competitive prices. Call us at (844) 588-8455, and let’s get started!