Illuminated Forklift Guidance

Illuminated Forklift Guidance

The WLS27 Pro lights with discrete control and configured by Banner’s Pro Editor software now includes programmable RGBW LEDs for use in illumination, indication and inspection applications. Learn how the configurable WLS27 Pro provided forklift guidance for warehouse operators in combination with Banner’s Q5X Sensors.

Challenge: Speed & Accuracy in Pallet Dropoff

In a recent material handling application, operators would load material on the forklift for transport to the drop zone, where it would be shipped. While transporting the items on the forklift, operator line of sight would often be obstructed because the material was stacked high.

Positioning the load correctly at the drop station was vital to shipping speed, and damaging the load or forklift were risks if the driver was misaligned. These issues created delays in material delivery time, operator safety, and unnecessary downtime.

Solution: Forklift Guidance with Q5X Sensors & WLS27 Pro Lights

The warehouse manager mounted Q5X sensors to the drop zone structure and installed WS27 strip lights on the top and right sides of the drop zone. Two modes would guide the forklift driver to a fast and clean delivery.

Distance mode: enabled the vertical lights to change color and fill level based upon the proximity of the forklift to the sensor at the front of the drop zone. The manager customized the colors using Pro Editor software so the operator could identify how far away they were to the drop zone and when to stop.

Gauge Mode: connected the output of the Q5X sensor along the wall to the horizontal WLS27. After reaching the proper distance into the drop zone, the band of LEDs on the second light showed the operator the necessary horizontal adjustment to make so the band of LEDs would be centered and green

This setup allowed the forklift operator to deliver loads before, only now with clear visual information on the ideal stopping point. This saved the driver from unnecessary dismounts and optimized the transfer operation for the loading staff.

Key Benefits

The bright, high-quality light of the WLS27 Pro makes it a great illumination product, but it’s also a versatile indicator. The WLS27 Pro has a total of nineteen color options, thirteen color options plus six whites. It can display multicolor animations at different speeds and patterns and can be segmented. Three discrete inputs allow for control of up to seven states. It also has integrated timer and counter functions to convert incoming signals to time or quantity information, and processes including pulse signals to show distance and position. This work light can be programmed to have bright white light for safety or efficiency during normal operation, and then to indicate other machine statuses, such as red for a stop condition. Additionally, advanced statuses allow the WLS27 Pro to indicate alarm states, show temperature, display position information, count for process verification, and display takt time.

The WLS27 Pro can be configured to use a pulse frequency modulation (PFM) output that comes directly from the sensor and is proportional to the measured distance. The sensor and WLS27 can then be connected directly by a splitter cable and with only power provided; no external controller is required. Up to four thresholds can be configured so that the quantity and color of LEDs mirror the measured distance. The same input also works with pulse width modulation (PWM) signals.

The rugged IP69K design provides reliable indication in a wide variety of conditions, including harsh washdown, machining and outdoor environments. The sealed lights are constructed with sturdy aluminum frames in a shatterproof copolyester housing, making them resistant to wet environments, impact, and breakage. The unique shape is easily distinguished from traditional indicators.

Banner’s free Pro Editor software provides an intuitive, graphic based interface for fast device programming. Configurations can be saved to make future programming even faster. Light performance can be evaluated and adjusted before deploying the device.

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