Vertical Order Pickers communicates with WMS via RFID.

Press Release Summary:

Equipped with RFID warehouse navigation unit featuring Horizontal Positioning and Rack Height Select modules, ergonomic EKS 210/312 communicates with ground and WMS to identify position and automatically navigate to proper location in aisle. EKS 312, capable of lifting up to 1,200 kg loads, has 9,500 mm max lift height and 1,650 mm turning radius. With 1,000 kg payload capacity, EKS 210 has 6,000 mm lift height and 1,550 mm turning radius.

Original Press Release:

EKS Series Communicates with Warehouse Management System

The Jungheinrich EKS 210/312 are equipped with state-of-the-art RFID technology. It enables warehouse management systems to identify the stacker's position precisely and automatically navigate the forklift to the right location in the aisle at all times. This translates into significant gains for warehouses, in terms of both flexibility and productivity.

Whereas the EKS 312 is a new iteration of an order picker series that has garnered success on the market for years, 2009 will see the 2 Series experience a world premiere.

"The introduction of this new series pays tribute to the changes in logistics and the significant rise in the importance of order picking in recent years," comments Sebastian Riedmaier, Head of Product Management and Product Marketing in the Warehousing and Systems Sector at Jungheinrich. He adds that development work focussed on meeting the demand for high pick performance, long usage periods and utmost flexibility. Says Riedmaier: "This is why we opted for two different forklift concepts."

The New EKS: RFID Provides Warehouses with Flexibility and Productivity
Jungheinrich's new EKS 210/312 vertical order picker comes standard with the RFID warehouse navigation unit showcased for the first time at CeMAT 2008. This enables the truck to communicate both with the ground and the warehouse management system. "The warehouse management system feeds information directly to the stacker's control unit," Sebastian Riedmaier explains.

The "Horizontal Positioning" and "Rack Height Select" modules are the warehouse navigation system's basic elements. The order picker receives pick jobs from the warehouse management system, and all the operator needs to do is accept them with the click of a mouse from the terminal. The warehouse management system then transmits the next pick position to the forklift's control unit. The driver makes his way to the aisle in which the goods are located. Once the aisle has been reached, the stacker commences its semi-automatic approach to the storage location. "Once the desired shelf position has been approved by the operator, it is approached via the shortest route and at optimal speed while minimizing energy consumption," Riedmaier continues. "All the driver has to do now is press the drive button."

According to initial tests, the system has the potential to increase handling turnover rates up to 25 per cent. Furthermore, this reduces the driver's workload, as he can relax as he is taken to the right spot without having to "chart a course." Similarly to the "pick-by-light" principle, a lamp lights up on the side of the truck facing the target location once it has been reached. This signals the driver whether he has to pick the order from the left or right shelf. Says Riedmaier: "The result is a considerable improvement in pick quality."

Fully Flexible: The EKS 210 Can Drive down Both Wide and Narrow Aisles
The EKS 210's compact design makes the stacker both nimble and agile. Manufactured at Jungheinrich's Moosburg plant, the forklift's frame is a mere 90 centimetres wide and just under 2.70 metres long. The truck has a top speed of nine kilometres per hour. Its turning radius is a mere 1,550 millimetres.

The stacker has a payload capacity of 1,000 kilograms and a lift height of up to 6,000 millimetres. The EKS 210 has been optimized for manoeuvrability in wide aisles. But once integrated in a system, i.e., controlled by a warehouse management system, it can be used in narrow aisles as well. "This order picker is thus every bit as flexible as currently required by the market," Riedmaier emphasizes.

Full System Integration: The EKS 312 is Extremely Effective in Narrow Aisles
The EKS 312 is a high-performance truck featuring a high payload capacity and stability. It is capable of lifting loads of up to 1,200 kilograms. The stacker has a maximum lift height of 9,500 millimetres. Its top speed is 10.5 kilometres per hour. The EKS 312's total width of one metre and length of just over 3.30 metres makes this Series 3 order picker only marginally larger than the Series 2 EKS. Its turning radius amounts to 1,650 millimetres. The stacker was engineered to handle big lift heights, communicates with warehouse management systems and is thus an icon of efficiency in narrow aisles.

Based on field trials, the Series 2 and 3 EKS models lead the market in terms of performance and consumption. According to Riedmaier, this is owed to the deployment of fourth-generation three-phase AC technology, which was successfully introduced to the market by Jungheinrich more than twelve years ago. The compact hydraulics featuring a cast hydraulics unit play an important role in this context as well: "Thanks to the unit's exceptionally low internal resistance, our order picker has a much reduced energy consumption."

Ergonomics: The Driver Takes Centre Stage
Jungheinrich's engineers actively involved the stacker driver in the development of the new EKS series. This has led to a product "which is unrivalled from an ergonomic perspective as well," says Riedmaier. Boasting a best-in-class step height of just 245 millimetres, the user-friendly entry requires the driver to exert less strength while reducing the strain on joints and improving driver safety. Besides sporting clear-cut shapes, the driver's cabin is extremely spacious. It has 50 millimetres more headroom than its predecessor and convenient storage trays, enabling the operator to keep his workspace neat and tidy. Panorama masts from Jungheinrich provide for a very good view when in forward motion (with the payload behind the driver).

Since every application places different demands on the operator and truck, the new EKS was fitted with a flexible, height-adjustable operating panel. "This allows both short and tall drivers to operate the order picker while taking full advantage of its outstanding ergonomics," says Sebastian Riedmaier. In addition, one can add the "Drive" module for high speed travel over long distances. In this mode, the truck moves in the drive direction with the payload on the back. Using the "Reverse" module, the driver can comfortably steer the EKS in load direction to enable high pick rates over short distances. When using the stacker in this "mixed mode," it is helpful that the operating panel can be used from both sides. "We didn't strike any compromises when developing the operating panel," Riedmaier recounts. "Our solution keeps the driver from having to turn around constantly and helps protect his health to boot."

A similar solution was found for the order picking process. Since the operating panel was minimized in size, the operator no longer has to bend over in order to put together partial loads on the pallet in front of him, reducing the risk of slipping a disc considerably. The standard auxiliary lift can be adjusted at the push of a button to set the order-picking height that best suits the driver.

Additional features round off Jungheinrich's new series. These include longer maintenance-free periods, which go hand in hand with a reduced cost of ownership. The use of redundant dual-channel computer systems in the EKS ensures that tomorrow's safety standards are already met today. Also on offer is a personal protection system for narrow-aisle warehouses, tailored to suit the customer's needs and built by Jungheinrich ex factory.

Jungheinrich ranks among the world's leading companies in the material handling equipment, warehousing and material flow engineering sectors. The company is a logistics service provider with manufacturing operations, which offers its customers a comprehensive range of forklift trucks, shelving systems, services and consulting covering the entire field of intralogistics. Jungheinrich shares are traded on all German stock exchanges.

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