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Real-time location systems optimise forklift fleet

27 AUGUST 2020

Nowadays, real-time location systems are taken for granted, accurately pinpointing our precise whereabouts on and off roads. Similar benefits can be obtained in tracking forklifts in the production area. However, common geo-spatial GPS systems are more or less useless behind thick walls.

Scania has for several years, explored the opportunities that real-time location systems (RTLS) can offer, not least in monitoring forklift movement. “There are many benefits,” says Lennart Lundgren, Senior Logistics Developer in production. “It can help us optimise and plan routes as well as locate the nearest forklift for an urgent delivery. All in all, that will help us optimise the fleet for better results.”


In the transmission machining workshop, the movement of fork lifts has earlier been unrecorded. The workshop, assisted by the Smart Factory Lab, has therefore taken the initiative to place beacons in strategic locations. Using Bluetooth Low Energy technology, the beacons ping receivers on fork lifts, enabling precise location monitoring through triangulation.


Establishing an RTLS infrastructure can also be useful for other applications, such as tracking needed tools and equipment.


In the present trials, Scania is examining how precise geo-spatial location is needed. In most cases, it may be sufficient to obtain a fair idea of the location while in other cases the location needs to be within a few centimetres. “Regardless, tracking the movement of objects can assist us in understanding what actually occurs and help us plan a better course of action.”