Camera system reduces collision risk for manned forklift trucks
The Visionary-B CV 3D driver assistance system from SICK is impressing the company’s customer Imerys Fused Minerals Laufenburg GmbH with its efficient collision warning. This world-leading supplier of minerals-based custom solutions equipped a Linde forklift truck from the company Schöler Fördertechnik AG with SICK’s active camera system with 3D snapshot technology. The live image monitor helps the driver avoid collisions by issuing acoustic and visual warnings, even in harsh production environments.
Imerys doesn’t take occupational health and safety lightly. The rear area of a forklift truck is difficult to see, which places a significant burden on drivers, in particular in hard to navigate or narrow areas and under difficult weather conditions. Because they need to concentrate on the task of moving loads, drivers cannot always rely on their perception alone in these situations. When transporting heavy sacks of ceramic granules through warehouse areas to waiting trucks, for example, navigating safely within this space can be challenging. Especially when reversing, drivers need to pay particular attention to their environment in order to avoid collisions with static or moving objects. This was reason enough for the employees at Imerys to implement the active driver assistance system from SICK. The camera mounted on the forklift truck as a standalone solution is rugged and delivers reliable collision warnings even in poor conditions. Adrian Winkelmann, Intralogistic Services Project Manager at Schöler, is convinced that equipping forklift trucks with the 3D driver assistance system leads to few accidents and improved working conditions: “The driver can sense that the Visionary-B CV is supporting him in his everyday work and also making his work safer.” The Visionary-B CV therefore excellently supplements Schöler’s own products. The company supplies holistic logistics solutions that are optimally tailored to the customer’s needs. Following the guiding principles of productivity, safety and ergonomics, Schöler offers high-performance forklifts and comprehensive service offerings that are in line with the state-of-the-art.
Active camera system for collision avoidance
The rugged and powerful Visionary-B 3D vision sensor from SICK is unaffected by temperature fluctuations, rain or unevenness in the floor or ground. The driver assistance system operates on the stereoscopic principle: the intelligent image processing of the camera system identifies objects in difficult to see areas and classifies them. Because the 3D collision warning via the driver’s monitor is highly configurable and easy to operate, it allows the driver to concentrate on his actual task as he goes about his daily work. The employees at Imerys are delighted: The camera takes the load off the driver and increases the collision protection and productivity in the areas of use.
Flexibility for optimal vision and variable configuration
The active Visionary-B CV system detects objects at the rear of the forklift and classifies them into object classes. This avoids unnecessary false alarms while reliably and efficiently issuing warnings both acoustically and visually – a red frame flashes on the monitor. The driver can, if he wishes, specify certain obstacles such as walls or smaller objects that should be ignored. Thanks to the 3D snapshot technology, not only the class but also the precise position of objects relative to the vehicle can be analyzed. Furthermore, intelligent algorithms filter out irrelevant ambient information, for example fog or reflections off the ground. The camera offers the driver an optimal view, regardless of the work environment.
Dr. Fabian Zimmer, Application Engineer at SICK and responsible for 3D snapshot cameras explains the configuration options: “It is possible to vary the width and length of the detection zone depending on the size and speed of the vehicle. And within the individual detection zones, it is also possible to distinguish: What objects do I actually want to warn about?”
Accessories for every application
In conjunction with Schöler, SICK delivers a plug and play solution for a wide variety of applications from manufacturing environments right through to garbage disposal. Whether it be in tight passages, over uneven ground, or in strong sunlight: the camera ensures optimal vision. If not already ordered immediately when purchasing the forklift truck, the camera system is easy to retrofit and the forklift truck is quickly ready for operation again.
Thanks to the versatile mountable accessories, the intelligent camera system provides a better oversight even for larger special-purpose vehicles and complicated infrastructures and can be used for collision avoidance. And when it is necessary to have an all-round view of the areas behind and in front of the vehicle, the assistance system reliably supports the driver with its two sensor heads and an evaluation unit that switches between the sensor heads.
Customers worldwide are putting their trust in the driver assistance system from SICK
This application of the camera system has not only impressed Imerys. Schöler’s customer Samvardhana Motherson Peguform (SMP), one of the largest automotive suppliers in Germany, also plans to employ the driver assistance system from SICK at all its manufacturing sites after a successful field test.