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RAVAS turns a forklift into a smart device that moves and measures


Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 ( #945 )
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RAVAS manufactures and distributes industrial mobile weighing systems, integrated in pallet trucks, forklift trucks and warehouse trucks. These mobile weighing systems provide information on material flows that enables users to reduce their cost and raise their efficiency. And the best thing about it: they do it on the fly, without taking the goods out of the process.

iForks: a smart attachment for forklift trucks

RAVAS iForks are a smart attachment for forklift trucks. These weighing forks replace the standard forks on a truck. From that moment on, everything lifted on these forks is weighed at the same time. The weight information is represented on a driver display in the cabin of the truck, and can be shared with an ERP or WMS via the user's existing wireless network. Integration with ID-scanners and other devices, like dimensioning equipment, produces extensive data on materials moving through the supply chain. Information that drives immediate cost reductions. And RAVAS mobile weighing devices provide this weight information on the fly, without disrupting work cycles or internal logistics.

RAVAS iForks-32

The trend is "Connect me". RAVAS mobile weighing systems provide connectivity and integration: from the level of system integration, right down to data collection Apps for smart phones and tablets. RAVAS iForks are the perfect example of a smart attachment for forklift trucks. Fleets of trucks, connected via the Internet of Things, provide real-time input for global supply chain management. Smart attachments are shifting truck value away from mere materials handling, in the direction of data sampling.  

Measure in motion

Take the example of an LTL carrier, handling a constant stream of inbound pallet shipments every day, and shipping them out to their destination. For invoicing and planning, every pallet needs to be weighed and dimensioned. The latest generation of pallet dimensioning systems, that allows measuring pallet dimensions on a moving forklift, combined with the advantages of mobile weighing on that same forklift, provides these companies  with an unmatched efficiency in their handling of palletized goods.

When an inbound pallet is lifted out of the freight truck, it's identified via barcode scan or RFID. This ID opens a data set on the shipment in the company's WMS or ERP system.  The system interrogates the scale on the truck for the weight of the pallet, over the company's wireless network. The truck drives through the dimensioning "gate" that provides the dimensions of the pallet load, completing the data set on the shipment in the ERP system. Finally the lift truck operator receives the internal destination for the outbound shipment, completing the work cycle.

The complete data acquisition on the pallet is done without intervention from the lift truck driver, without having to stop the forklift, without taking the goods out of the process, without losing time or efficiency. The result: optimized load factors and revenue streams for the carrier.

Pick by weight

Another process in which integrated mobile weighing can provide major cost improvements is order picking. Every order pick operation has to battle the same problem: picking errors. Errors in order picking cause return shipments, time spent on communication back and forth, credit notes, all representing considerable cost. Mobile weighing systems on order pick trucks detect and signal picking errors, allowing correction of the error while still at the pick location, where cost of correction is next to nothing.

After each pick, the WMS is triggered to interrogate the built-in scale on the truck for the weight increase on the forks. The WMS compares the weight of the picked articles on the truck against the target weight for the order line. If the two correspond, then the order line was picked correctly and the picker receives his next destination. When they do not, a picking error is signaled and corrected by the picker, on the spot, while still at the picking slot. The result: major cost reductions from reduced error levels.

Integrating RAVAS mobile weighing systems  with an ERP or WMS

The advantages realized in the applications described above are all built on seamless communication between a company's ERP or WMS and its fleet of scale trucks. But adapting an ERP system to be compatible with the communication protocol of a mobile scale fleet is cumbersome and expensive. That is why RAVAS has developed a number of software programs to facilitate data collection from and communication with RAVAS scales, ranging from data collection Apps for smart phones and tablets, to Application Programming Interfaces (API's) that manage the communication between an ERP system and a RAVAS scale fleet.

The flag ship in this software range is RIS: the RAVAS Integration Server. Using RESTful API the ERP system can send commands that are very similar in format to a URL to the RAVAS software, installed on a server in his network. RIS translates these html formatted commands into scale protocol and addresses the proper scale, identified by its fixed IP address. RIS then sends the requested weight information back to the ERP system. This service facilitates on-line communication between ERP and scale fleet, using standard html protocol, without requiring any adaptations to the ERP.    

Mobile weighing systems provide control over material flows

Mobile weighing systems installed on forklifts and pallet trucks, connected to a company's ERP system, provide information on material flows. This information in turn provides control over those flows, making internal logistics more efficient, and reducing their cost. Bottom line: mobile weighing systems make money for their users.

For more information please contact:

RAVAS Europe BV
+31 418 515220
Send an email
www.ravas.com
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