2020-04-27

Maximum protection no matter what the circumstance

There is no such thing as compromise when safety is involved. It doesn’t matter whether it is at work, during a pandemic, or simply in typical everyday situations. It requires having solutions that limit risks and thus increase safety for everyone concerned. KION brands Linde Material Handling and STILL use their extensive experience to continually provide new ideas for protecting their employees on trucks, in warehouses and production sites. From practical assistance systems for our industrial trucks, to innovative warning signal solutions and intelligent clothing, safety is a 24/7 topic throughout the company.

Distance strips at the main entrance and catchy posters at supplier entrances – no matter where you approach STILL’s production buildings in Hamburg today, you cannot help but notice the special guidelines which are currently in place. They are intended to provide a healthy, safe work environment for all employees. The absolute basic prerequisite for ensuring the company can continue to operate even during the pandemic. To ensure safety, critical work areas have been examined regarding the altered requirements for occupational safety. "We have assessed whether the various work scenarios allow for the required minimum distance of 1.5 meters (five feet) and asked ourselves important questions such as ‘How are the work processes realized?’ or ‘Where does material or information need to be handed over or a joint activity carried out?’" explains Dr. Gesine Büge from the occupational health service at STILL. Based on that examination, a checklist was created, which specifies hygiene measures and rules of conduct for the most important processes. New ideas for familiar procedures were required and preventive protective measures were created for all requirements. Take a situation where one individual needs to give something to another individual. “We thought of a 'handover station' where items are first deposited and then only after a safety distance of at least 1.5 meters has been maintained, can the other employee collect the items," says Dr. Büge, describing one of the many measures implemented in Hamburg.

The same kind of thinking for developing new safety procedures is happening at many KION Group sites. At Linde Material Handling's spare parts warehouse in the German town of Kahl: "Our colleagues are paying very close attention to their behavior. Even in tasks where close contact seems unavoidable, they have found ways to maintain a minimum distance," notes an enthusiastic Dr. Michael Schüßler from the company medical service at Linde MH, stressing, "Every colleague can be at their work space with a good and safe feeling that appropriate measures have been taken.”

Physical distancing is nothing new at KION

Keeping distance from others is a clever strategy not only during a pandemic, but also where safety is involved under normal circumstances. It is true when driving a car, or if you are in the proximity of construction sites as well as in several scenarios involving the intralogistics industry. It is also a basic concept used for developing an entire range of intelligent assistance systems for industrial trucks from KION's Linde Material Handling and STILL brands. Take the "Linde Safety Guard" solution introduced in 2018. This assistance system can detect whether forklift trucks and pedestrians in the warehouse are approaching each other too closely. If this is the case, the truck operator is immediately warned via an LED display in the truck. As for the pedestrian, (s)he wears special interactive warning vests which can alert them to the approaching truck. The vest does so on three levels: visually with flashing LEDs, acoustically via a signal tone and even through touch, namely by vibration. Thus, the individual receives an alert in good time and can react immediately. It is a brilliant concept. And it should come as no surprise that the interactive warning vest has received the Dekra Award in the "Safety at Work" category.

Intelligent co-drivers who intervene in time

Yet, digital systems can do much more than ‘simply’ send a warning. At critical stages, they can actively intervene in a process. Both the "Linde Safety Guard" and the "Safety Assist" from STILL can define certain zones where the operational speed needs to be slower. If a truck enters this area, the system switches on automatically and reduces the truck’s speed to the maximum one permitted.

STILL Curve Speed Control and Linde Material Handling Curve Assist automatically adjust your speed when cornering. Assistants are also available to support goods being transported to high racks. Linde’s "Safety Pilot" automatically intervenes in the operating and lifting functions of the forklift to prevent the worst-case scenario: the truck overturning. In a matter of seconds, sensors request data such as lift height, fork tilt and load weight. Once the load limit has been reached, the assistant automatically locks the vehicle functions.

Linde's "Active Stability Control" is used for greater safety in high-bay warehouses. At a lifting height of up to 18 meters – roughly 60 feet – even the slightest irregularity in the floor can have an impact on the safe positioning of the narrow-aisle trucks in use. Linde Material Handling’s assistance system can compensate for this and assure a safe operation.

Shining options for enhanced safety

Visual warning systems can also significantly increase work safety in warehouses and production sites. How do they work? A light beam is projected on the ground from the vehicle and rushes ahead of the actual source of danger at a safe distance, either when moving forward or when reversing, which, statistics show, is much riskier. Linde Material Handling has developed this approach with its "BlueSpot" solution, an eye-catching illuminated blue beam, as well as its "TruckSpot". The latter immediately projects an entire warning triangle onto the ground. Pedestrians spot the vehicle before it turns a corner and are able to take action to avoid harm in plenty of time. STILL’s "SafetyLight" can also prevent collisions by casting a light beam approximately 5 meters, or 16 feet, ahead of the vehicle. The "STILL warning zone light" functions even more widely. It displays two light strips to the left and right of the vehicle, which serve as a visual warning for pedestrians and other operators in the immediate vicinity, thus sending a prompt to maintain a healthy distance.

A secure future requires a forward-looking approach

Whether it is during the COVID-19 pandemic or throughout a typical business day, safety is the top priority for KION Group and its brands. It is essential to remain cautious, identify dangers early on and meet new challenges with a maximum of innovative spirit. KION embraces the challenge of providing continual safety and plans to continue doing everything in its power to further improve occupational safety – today as well as tomorrow.

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