|As technologies continue to advance, it’s becoming increasingly likely that even the forklift — a vehicle responsible for manual material movement at warehouses everywhere — will soon become integrated into the “Internet of Things.”
According to a March 16 Forbes article, forklifts have been excluded from “smart” technologies for as long as they’ve been in use. These machines rely entirely on an operator’s control and input, and aren’t connected to any networks.
As part of the “Internet of Things” — a term used to describe the eventual network connectivity and intelligence virtually every object will have in the future — the “smart” forklift will be equipped with diagnostics that send out signals when it needs servicing, speed controls, anti-slip technology, collision detection and much more.
Smart forklifts, which are already in use today, are also able to raise and lower their forks much faster than would safely be possible if a human were operating the vehicle, and the forklift can even detect the height of the pallet being picked.
In addition to becoming smarter, forklifts are becoming more efficient. According to ferret.com.au, changes to the AC operating systems within electric forklift units are making them significantly more efficient, extending the lifespans of forklift batteries and reducing their carbon footprint.
Despite the fact that these smart forklifts are currently in use, they’re far from being a common implementation at warehouses, Forbes reports. The majority of warehouse control systems and architectures still need to be adjusted and re-conceptualized to enable optimum warehouse performance with the use of smart forklifts.
Even so, it might be sooner than you think before you see a smart forklift moving along the aisles of your warehouse.