Bae 5 Tracker

Why have wire guidance?

Product damage, operator injuries, lift truck impacts and rack damage are but a few examples of the risks that exist in a warehouse. These complications, like most warehouse accidents, some quite costly, are usually due to lift truck operator errors. But there is a way to make operations simpler, reduce accidents and increase productivity. Wire guiding a lift truck can boost operator confidence at elevated heights and can make picking processes faster as the operator doesn’t have the steer the truck. Wire guidance allows operators to concentrate on orderpicking tasks, improving orderpicking efficiency while enhancing performance and reducing or eliminating impacts within aisles.

Wire Guidance

Wire guidance is defined as an electromechanical system that controls vehicle steering by tracking an energized guidewire secured in the floor. This exclusive system frees operators from steering responsibilities in very narrow aisles. It quickly and reliably engages guide signals. Raymond’s patented no-tune design provides excellent tracking and stability.

Order pickers and Swing-Reach VNA (very narrow aisle) trucks are commonly wire-guided. A wire guidance system has a wire buried in the floor 1/2″ to 5/8″ deep in each storage aisle. The wire transmits an electrical signal that is received by sensors on the truck. A line driver energizes the wire with a low level radio frequency. The sensors on the truck acknowledge the signal from the wire and control the steering mechanism to enable the truck to follow the wire system automatically. The wire guidance system is integrated with the truck’s braking system so that if the signal is lost, the truck will automatically slow down and stop. The truck is able to travel up to full speed in aisles as narrow as 56 inches with as little as 6 inches of clearance on either side. Wire guidance is not a new technology. It made its debut in the 1960s and still is one of the most popular choices for guiding VNA trucks. The Raymond Intelliguide® wire guidance system uses a patented design to improve tracking stability and has been engineered as an integral part of the truck design. This design approach ensures the user has a completely integrated system rather than an add-on guidance system.

Rail guidance is another option. This involves the use of L-shaped rails bolted to the floor of the aisle to guide the lift truck. Rollers attached to the truck near the floor roll against the rails, keeping the truck centered in the aisle. Rail guidance can be cost-effective in small applications but is not a good solution for larger applications.

The wire guidance option costs about $6,000 to $9,000 per truck. This does not include the cost of the wire or its installation. Costs are justified by factoring in productivity improvements as well as reduced product and rack damage.

In one application of wire guidance, the warehouse of a major clothing retailer in Fresno, California, two lines of wire guidance were installed in their aisles close enough to the rack for an orderpicker to be used for case picking at height. The aisles are 11 feet wide with rack to 30 feet high. Installing wire on both sides of the aisle allowed for two-way orderpicker traffic with trucks working on opposite sides of the aisle without the worry of running into each other.

Like this major clothing retailer, the main goal of any warehouse is to maximize productivity and minimize cost. Guiding VNA trucks, no matter which method, is a great way to get more done while protecting racks, trucks, product and operators.

Get this Article as a printable White Paper

Subscribe to our Warehouse Innovator email list of industry professionals and we will will send this Article as a printable White Paper that you can share with colleagues, use as training materials, or keep in your professional library.
Click here