How to cover all angles with forklift cameras
Forklifts are a mainstay vehicle of any warehouse or shop floor, and especially essential in large scale commercial businesses. However, even when driven competently and carefully, they have limited visibility when they’re carrying materials.
Another complicating factor is that they often operate in busy and crowded environments, with a sizeable number of obstacles, including piles of stock, narrow warehouse shelves, other vehicles, and pedestrians.
Here at Vision Techniques, we’re well aware of the sorts of risks that forklifts can pose, even with a competent and careful driver at the wheel. In order to mitigate these dangers, we’ve developed a fantastic range of vehicle safety technology for forklifts, Today we are looking at cameras and the considerations and key questions to ask yourself before finalising a specification to ensure it can be quoted correctly.
Here are some hints and tips!
Task and environment
Understanding the type of loads and heights your FLT will be working at is important. Heights for picking or loading pallets can be up to 10-15m with one pallet deep to the front of the racking Single stack or Double stack, where you can stack on racking two pallets deep.
For an FLT to work double stack, the forks need to extend into the racking by up to 1.5m to 2m. To ensure the correct view, a narrow angle camera is required to allow the operator to see this distance beyond the tips of the fork. For example : If picking double stack, the camera will need a modified lens (6mm).
You will also need to allow some flexibility in the cable to extend from the body of the carriage.
Will the FLT be working indoors, outdoors or both? The level of light in these environments need to be considered to ensure maximum visibility for example If working in low light conditions a camera with IR’s will be needed
What type of FLT are you working with? There are many types to consider when looking at improving visibility.
Counterbalance – Traditional FLT with weight at rear. Used in indoors and external environments
Reach Truck – Used specifically in warehouses. Driver sits sideways and has double deep capabilities. Additional cable movement allowance at base of forks. Always battery powered so a DC-DC Converter required. Always used indoors.
If gas truck or diesel then generally the system can operate on the power 12/24Vdc.
If an electric truck – you will need a voltage dropper (normally 48-24Vdc dc converter)
Positioning of camera
Camera position is essential on FLTs. Cameras can be underslung between the forks or side mounted on the forks. The position of the camera is dependent of the application or task.
If underslung there must be enough space for the forks to touch the floor and not damage the camera. In some cases, there are concerns when drilling into the forks, If this is an issue the fork camera can be glued or 3M’d to the forks. Check out our full range of vehicle cameras.
Positioning of monitor
Monitors within the cab are generally the same regardless of the type of vehicle. It is critical to make sure it is visible to the driver whilst carrying out tasks. I.E if they are used to looking up to see where they are placing the forks within the racking, the monitor needs to be higher up within their eyeline. Generally, it is better to use a chrome bracket as they are more durable than a standard bracket.
Here are some key questions to ask, so that you receive the best and most comprehensive quote and specification to suit.
1. What type of truck is it? (Reach or counterbalance)
2. What’s your area of operation? (e.g. cold store/indoors/outside with cab or no cab)
3. What’s the aim of the cameras? (I.e. what do you need to see?)
4. What’s the movement of the forks? (E.g. side shift, turret rotation etc)
5. What are the typical lighting levels in the area of operation?
6. What’s the desired cable route? (E.g. manufacturer pulleys, additional cable reel)
7. Are there suitable camera mounting points on the cage? (if applicable)
8. Is there space for DVR mounting, including access? (if applicable)
9. What’s the voltage of the vehicle?
These hints and tips are a guide to help you when looking at improving visibility around your FLTs. Here at Vision Techniques, we offer a full service from safety audits to installation and after service.
For a more complete list, feel free to examine our section on forklift safety. Alternatively, you can call us on 01254 679 717, and one of our friendly team members will be only too happy to help you find the products which are best for you!