The Swiss Army Knife of Forklifts Joins the #IoT
The origins of the Swiss Army knife date back to the late 1800s when it was used for military purposes. Incredibly versatile, the small folding pocket knife is still popular to this day due to its plethora of functions and many different tools. Different sized blades, Phillips head driver, bottle opener, nail file, tweezers, magnifying lens, LED light… the slender, tiny tool can transform to accomplish any task at hand.
Joining Industry 4.0 is a forklift vehicle as transformative and adaptive as a Swiss Army knife. German company, STILL, a leading supplier of forklift trucks, platform trucks, tractors, and Intralogistics systems, has collaborated with the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (FH IML) and SAP to connect one of STILL’s forklift models to a cloud based Internet of Things platform.
This prototype forklift model, CubeXX, is connected via SAP HANA Cloud Platform for the Internet of Things using its HCP IoT Services and will help businesses and manufacturers simplify the way they manage their businesses, increase agility, and enable adaptive logistics scenarios.
CubeXX is equipped with the latest sensor and scanning technology, forever changing the way businesses can manage their warehouse inventory. The vehicle can transform autonomously into six different modes of forklift needed, depending on the item and weight, truly making it the Swiss Army knife of forklifts.
The inventory information captured within the SAP ERP system is sent via the SAP HANA Cloud Platform IoT Services to the forklift. The forklift runs the SAP IoT Connector which communicates with the vehicle and provides instruction for managing the request. The forklift is then able to report back on its status and on project completion, both in real time, by sending information back into the cloud where it is processed and consumed into applications that run vehicle analytics.
STILL’s new innovation is transforming businesses in many ways:
- Predictive Maintenance: The SAP HANA Cloud Platform for the Internet of Things behind CubeXX provide insight into when a machine will need maintenance, helping employees service and fix machines before they break. The entire vehicle fleet can be mapped, including the current real-time status of each vehicle, operating hours, availability, and fleet capacity utilization.
- Adaptive logistics: In addition to changing form depending on inventory, CubeXX determines the appropriate vehicle level and fleet number necessary for each inventory project, proving more nimble and agile than the age old forklift. When a transport order is sent to the fleet, the vehicles communicate with each other and reassign the transport order amongst themselves in order to increase efficiency in the active fleet. In the future, when this scenario is implemented, the transport of inventory in warehouses will be seamlessly executed with little to no manual human labor.
- Business model Optimization: STILL now has the option to not only sell forklifts as a product, but instead as a service offering, allowing the customer to “pay per move” and optimize the way warehouses are managed. CubeXX can execute larger orders with a smaller fleet saving time and money.
STILL, in collaboration with SAP and FH IML, is providing customers with more agile and efficient logistics processes by linking business processes with the Internet of Things.
For more information on the adaptive logistics co-innovation partnership between STILL, FH IML, and SAP watch this short video:
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