The importance of Forklift Tracking in Logistics

Forklift Tracking with a RTLS System lets you understand how Forklifts are used.

Understanding how Forklifts move throughout a warehouse has always been a need: knowing how forklifts move, how operators use them, can significantly improve the operations management and the productivity.

Having an overview of the movements and utilization patterns of forklifts can let you cut the business expenses by optimizing the operations.

Forklifts and Lifting Trucks are a necessary part of the manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing industries. Yet, many businesses only use them to a fraction of their maximum potential.

Knowing the location of forklifts and being able to track this data over time can lead to great improvements.

How can you track forklifts?

Multiple technologies, hard to decide…

There are several technologies that promise to track forklifts in real time, claiming Real-Time updates with Active RTLS/RFID systems. Bluetooth/BLE, WiFi, Ultra Wide Band (UWB) and RFID have been used to track moving assets and people, but when it comes to forklifts tracking they are not the best options to choose from.

These technologies, based on radio frequency (RF), require the deployment and maintenance of an on-site infrastructure (“antennas”, “nodes”, “receivers”) throughout the warehouse that detect the presence of “Tags”, attached to the forklifts.

Not only the deployment is time consuming and expensive, but the final results are not even satisfactory. The average accuracy of BLE Tracking inside a warehouse, considering the open space and the amount of metallic surfaces creating interference, ranges between 5 and 8 meters: definitely not accurate enough for a Real-Time Locating System solution. Likewise, the other RF based technologies have significant accuracy and latency issues that cannot be overcome.

Forklift in warehouse

Real Innovation is here.

At Accuware we have a lot of experience with RF based location technologies: we developed WiFi and Bluetooth based tracking systems almost 10 years ago. We decided then, back in 2015, to focus our efforts on the development of a new technology able to address use cases that could not take advantage of radio frequency based systems.

In this context we created Dragonfly, our unique Visual SLAM (vSLAM) technology.

What is visual SLAM?

Dragonfly can provide centimeter accuracy using just an on-board camera. This technology does not require the deployment of “receivers” throughout the site, nor the installation of “antennas” or other fixed equipment. In addition, the precision is extremely high and the location is computed in real time, with a refresh rate up to 60 Hz (60 location updates per second).

Read more about the accuracy of Dragonfly

Forklift in warehouse

The Benefits of Forklifts Tracking

A forklift location overview is important. The amount of data that you can collect from forklift tracking is tremendous and has a crucial importance for business analysis:

  • How long does an operator take to get a pallet?
  • What are the most used routes?
  • What are the most congested areas?
  • Where and when do the most of the accidents happen?

Dragonfly is used to collect data inside the warehouse and can be used to collect data outside the warehouse (sometimes in combination with a GPS unit). The possibilities of data collection related to forklifts are many:

Raw data

  • Precise Indoor location
  • Driving speed
  • Acceleration (G-forces)
  • Custom sensors (Temperature, Humidity, Other sensors…)

Alerts in real time

  • Alarms Inside/Outside predefined area
  • Driving speed over a certain limit

Analytics and Reports

  • Most active warehouse areas
  • Average time to pick a palletet
  • Driving behaviour
  • Rest times
  • Usage time

We can also create custom analysis and reports, to let you analyze which operators finish the most orders and which operators get speed or pedestrian warnings, you can compare charts across the vehicle fleet (utilization, efficiency, accidents, average speed, average daily distance, etc.)

Forklift in warehouse

Reducing the costs

Speaking of cost, a large warehouse can have dozens of forklifts and similar vehicles operating at the same time on the floor.

A big fleet can have a significant impact on your budget: purchase or leasing of vehicles, maintenance, electricity for recharging, and the expense of extra workers to operate those vehicles are costs that businesses are constantly facing.

Implementing a Forklifts Tracking solution can help you control and reduce these costs:

Increasing Forklift Utilization

Dragonfly allows managers to analyze vehicle usage with an aim towards improving efficiency. When you are better able to use your existing equipment, you may be able to reduce the amount of vehicles on the floor.

With a smart combination of hardware and software, Dragonfly provides the manager the ability to keep their fleet at high efficiency levels and save money.

Optimizing Routes

Without a proper procedure in place, operators are forced to figure out the best routes to take across the floor on their own. This can lead to errors and accidents. Sometimes operators need to backtrack because of other vehicles, pedestrians, or even pallets that were in the way. This wasted time could be used to fill other orders.

With Dragonfly you can understand which are the most crowded routes, where operators have to backtrack often, where the most of the accidents happen, and plan the best routing model for the future.

Speed Limiter

Dragonfly is able to detect forklift and lifting truck speed and acceleration. This enables the possibility of configuring speed limits throughout the warehouse or inside specific areas and geo-fences. The operator can receive an alert when the speed is over the limit. In some cases it is also possible to configure the forklifts to limit their speed automatically and Accuware’s engineering team can design and develop the on-board controlling system.

Dragonfly also keeps a record of all the events and activities so that they can be reviewed and analyzed to improve operator efficiency and overall safety.


Real-Time Forklift Tracking Systems are Crucial for the Modern Warehouse Managers

It is fundamental nowadays to stay updates and take advantage of technical innovations: technology is progressing faster than ever, bringing new possibilities to businesses to improve their operations and reduce the costs. Lacking or staying behind in technology can create competitive disadvantages and can lead to losses of contracts when clients prefer to assign their contracts to more advanced companies. Dragonfly is a RTLS that allows businesses to remain at the cutting edge of technology when it comes to forklifts tracking: it makes it possible to have:

  • Real-time location display and recording
  • Data analytics (that leads to operation and route optimization)
  • Workplace safety

Do not let your competitors stay ahead of you!

Forklift tracking solutions can improve your business and significantly reduce the operational costs. Reduced accidents less wasted hours, and less unused vehicles mean more productivity and lower costs for maintenance and operations.

Dragonfly lets you be competitive in a sector that is continuously evolving and adopting new technologies and solutions for better operations.

Dragonfly for your Project

If you want an advanced indoor location technology for your warehouse and if you would like the advice of our experts, do not hesitate to contact us.

At Accuware we can deliver the right technology for your requirements and we provide consulting services as well, for complete custom projects. Our team will be delighted to speak with you.

Watch this video to see how Dragonfly works on a Forklift inside a Warehouse.

Do you prefer to have an on-site demonstration?

We provide on-site demos as well: contact us to know pricing and details.

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