Keppel Logistics’ state-of-the-art warehouse facility at 7 Gul Circle serves a wide variety of customers from industries such as biomedical, book publishing, chemical and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG).
At the facility, which has more than half a million square feet of warehouse space, goods are placed on pallets, which are structural foundations usually made from wood, to allow for handling and storage efficiencies.
On average, Keppel Logistics employees have to handle up to 100 pallets per day. Some of these pallets are stored on racks as tall as five tiers, which requires the use of a forklift to stack or retrieve these pallets. Apart from a forklift operator, another employee is required to be an extra pair of eyes to watch out for the operator’s blind spots. This is to ensure safety at all times and minimise the risk of damage to the goods. Due to the height of the racks, employees often have to strain their necks for some time to make sure that the blades of the forklift are elevated to the appropriate level and aligned properly to the shelving space.
After identifying the problem and ascertaining that the safety and productivity of the pallet retrieval and storage process could be improved, Alex Liew and Jerald Lim, Logistics Executives, came up with a simple and effective solution that won a Safety Innovation Project Silver award at the eighth Keppel Safety Convention in 2014. Dubbed the ‘Laser Eye’, their solution involves attaching to the blades of the forklift a wirelessly operated laser which helps to align the blades to the rack.
The new process achieves a nearly five-fold decrease in the time required for the operator to confirm alignment of the pallet and blades. A spotter for the operator is no longer required, which means that valuable manpower can be better deployed.
“The forklift enhanced with the ‘Laser Eye’ has given greater confidence to operators when putting away pallets at high locations. This is especially so for the new operators, who previously required greater supervision to avoid accidentally hitting the beams or racking,” said Alex.
The team plans to take the successful implementation of the project to the next level by using a height-activated laser-projected line to allow for even greater accuracy in alignment.
By attaching lasers to the blades of its forklifts, Keppel Logistics forklift operators now have a clear and accurate visual indication (the orange dots in right photo) that the forklift blades are aligned to the rack, which has significantly reduced the retrieval and storage time for pallets placed on high racks