Alerted in good time

28-Feb-2018

Linde Safety Guard assistance system prevents accidents

When pedestrians and forklifts operate together in confined space, there are still considerable risks involved. If an accident occurs, the damage can be immense. The new Linde Safety Guard assistance system from Linde Material Handling alerts pedestrians and drivers of each other early on – even through walls.

“The greatest danger within plants is where people and vehicles meet,” says Alexandra Mertel, Project Manager at Linde Material Handling. A study conducted by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work confirms this statement: 68 percent of European companies report that there is still a high risk of accidents when using industrial trucks. There are already a number of production plants and warehouses in which pedestrians and forklifts are warned of each other by beeps and flashes to prevent costly accidents. However, the problem is that these assistance systems alert everyone in the vicinity. The result is sensory overload which eventually leads to the signals no longer being fully perceived.

The Linde Safety Guard not only alerts the driver, but also indicates how many people approach the vehicle and from which direction.

The Linde Safety Guard not only alerts the driver, but also indicates how many people approach the vehicle and from which direction.

The solution: Selective warning

The Linde Safety Guard issues a warning signal only when there is real danger, since the concept is based on locating vehicles and pedestrians. “This allows for selective warning – with an accuracy of ten centimeters,” says Mertel. All it takes is the fixing of an installation measuring only 12 x 7.5 cm (truck unit) to the vehicle and a mobile unit (portable unit) for pedestrians to wear on their body. What’s special about this solution is that the pedestrian can “sense” the danger, as the mobile device issues not only acoustic and visual alarms, but also vibrates. The added value for drivers is that in addition to issuing the warning, they can see on the display how many people are in the warning zone and from which direction they are approaching the truck.

“A big advantage of the Linde Safety Guard is that it can see through walls, shelves and shutters,” says Mertel. Often buildings have been gradually expanded and feature corners and angles. As a result, it is not uncommon for driveways to pass right by doors, for example. Thanks to ultra-wideband technology in the 4-gigahertz range, the signal goes through walls so that a pedestrian is warned of the approaching truck before opening the door. Other networks such as W-LAN, Bluetooth or RFID are not affected.

Automatic speed reduction

One reason why accidents are frequent in some areas is excessive speed. “We see an increased risk of accidents at blind crossings and corners as well as in areas where people frequently cross the driveway,” says Elke Karnarski, Product Manager Service at Linde Material Handling. The Linde Safety Guard enables zones to be defined in which drivers should slow down, using the “Zone Marker”. When a truck enters such a zone, the system automatically reduces to the maximum permitted speed.

In areas where people frequently cross the driveway, the Linde Safety Guard issues acoustic and visual signals to alert drivers and pedestrians. In addition, vibrations warn pedestrians of approaching trucks.

In areas where people frequently cross the driveway, the Linde Safety Guard issues acoustic and visual signals to alert drivers and pedestrians. In addition, vibrations warn pedestrians of approaching trucks.

However, the Safety Guard does not only work from person to truck, but also from truck to truck. If two vehicles are likely to cross paths, both drivers are alerted by their truck unit and receive information concerning the direction of the approaching vehicle. Thanks to its modular design, the system is quick and easy to install. The warning zones can be individually configured. “In the future, we want to offer the Linde Safety Guard both as a retrofit solution and as optional equipment for new vehicles,” says Michael Fuchs, Product Manager Spare Parts at Linde Material Handling.

The Linde Safety Guard is thus an important component of Linde’s “Vision Zero. Safety in your World” approach which pursues a clear goal: reducing the number of occupational accidents in goods handling to zero in the medium term.