In the emerging world of RFID-enabled inventory tracking, the forklift can become a powerful supply-chain information tool. This is the view of Intermec, an RFID pioneer and leading supplier of Gen 2 RFID technology and equipment, and Cascade, the worlds largest manufacturer of forklift attachments, who have now unveiled a prototype forklift of the future. The prototype incorporates RFID technology built into a forklifts infrastructure, replacing todays cumbersome and inefficient bolt-on approach to data collection.
Imagine a mobile RFID system that provides real-time, hands-free information on what the product is and automatically making better decisions about how to handle that product, said Cascade Product Manager Brad Vandehey. When you throw out preconceived ideas of what forklifts do today and think about how RFID capabilities could be built into the very structure of a complete forklift equipment system, you begin to realise the efficiencies this type of mobile data-collection system can deliver.
Companies that use mobile RFID systems, identifying and tracking products onboard a forklift from loading to unloading, experience improvements in picking and shipping accuracy, enhanced productivity and better vehicle utilisation. Forklifts envisioned by Cascade and Intermec incorporate powerful dashboard computers positioned for maximum safety and efficiency, easy-to-reach RFID controls assimilated into the lifts control mechanisms, wireless real-time location tracking and navigational LEDs for optimal routing, and easy-to-adjust RFID readers designed into the frame of forklift attachments for flexible and accurate use with a wide range of goods and supplies. The system, which is designed specifically for the rugged environment of daily warehouse use, also engineers in a sophisticated cable management system, state-of-the-art wireless scanning capabilities and a built-in camera for cargo documentation.
Cascade and Intermec unveiled the forklift of the future this week at Intermecs 2006 Global Partner Conference in Dallas, USA.
With operations around the world, both Cascade and Intermec are ideally suited to understand the day-to-day requirements of supply chain inventory movement across enterprises. Sharing a commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction, the companies realized early on that the combination of Cascades forklift-attachment expertise with Intermecs engineering prowess and RFID experience could provide customers with mobile RFID systems that surpass anything available today in their ability to increase supply-chain tracking and real-time inventory visibility.