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What are automated forklifts FAQ

What are automated forklifts | Raymond Courier

1. How does an automated forklift know where it is going?

Automated lift trucks, or ALTs, are simply driven in a “learn” mode by an operator, capturing odometric data as well as digital images using a multi-head camera. The ALT then uses the data and the images to replicate routes when it is in automated mode. ALTs can remember turn locations, speed changes, and where to make stops for unloading pallets.

2. Does Raymond carry an automated guided vehicle in its forklift line?

Yes. Raymond recently introduced the Courier in two models: Raymond Courier Model 3020 Tow Tractor, and the Raymond Courier Model 3010 Center Rider Pallet Truck. Both can be programmed with up to 15 miles of routes at any given time. An operator can also transfer routes between automated forklifts through the use of a USB drive.

3. What are automated forklifts most useful for?

Automated forklifts are ideal for tasks that are tedious and labor intensive but do not require much skill. Automated forklifts are well suited for long hauls, cross-docking and dock-to-aisle put-away operations. Labor is the most expensive part of the cost of ownership of forklifts taking up 72 percent of the total cost. Warehouse operators are able to cut costs with automated lift trucks while increasing productivity.

4. What happens if someone or something gets in the way of an automated forklift while in motion?

The Raymond Courier is equipped with two sensors to detect objects in its path. The primary obstruction sensor detects obstacles in front of the truck in two stages. The first stage slows the truck down. The second stage stops the truck until the obstacle is removed. The secondary obstruction sensor creates a light curtain around the front of the Raymond Courier. It detects elevated obstacles and stops the truck in the event an obstacle is detected.

5. How much does an automated guided vehicle cost?

ALTs can be more expensive than a traditional lift truck. However, the return on investment with ALTs is often higher (if they are properly used) when truck and labor costs are considered. ALTs cost significantly less than conventional automated guided vehicles.

6. How do I program an automated forklift?

To program an ALT, an operator simply drives the lift truck while in a “learn” setting. The camera will then record the images for visual reference. Other parts of the system will record steer angle, wheel rotation, speeds, turns and stops. The software will then convert this data into a travel path that an operator can set for the truck to replicate.

7. Can I change the routes on automated lift trucks once they have been programmed?

Yes. The routes on ALTs are not fixed paths. Routes can be modified as necessary. Paths can be stored on USB drives to suit the warehouse needs depending on season, week or even the shift. By using the USB drives, paths are interchangeable between ALTs.

8. Is there a difference between an automated forklift and a robotic forklift?

Although very similar, automated forklifts and robotic forklifts have their differences. An automated forklift or ALT is a conventional lift truck that does not require a driver. This allows the operator to perform other valuable tasks at the same time. A robotic forklift or an AGV is an unconventional lift truck that is built for specific tasks that are routine, timely and require unskilled labor. Robotic forklifts are usually inflexible and come with a hefty up-front cost.

If you have any questions or want to speak to someone about automated forklifts for your warehouse, contact RHCC at 1-800-675-2500 or email .

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