Driving towards driverless

Automated forklifts are on the verge of making significant headway in warehouse applications. David Oldridge, Managing Partner at BPS Global Australia, explains how some of the world’s largest retailers are set to integrate a vision-based driverless solution to meet modern demands.

Unlike other players in the market, we don’t have to rely on activity from an arm’s length away. We can get to the latest developments right from our factory floor,”  David Oldridge, Managing Partner at BPS Global Australia says.

BPS Global Australia represents the latest addition to the BPS network and has been established to provide localised expertise that supplements the BPS Global offer to the market. David explains that the company is rich in knowledge due to being based in China and at the forefront of manufacturing developments. “We’re able to direct source and bypass hand-offs. We have our own procurement team in Hong Kong and China that specialise in engineering next generation technology – monitored and overseed very closely,” he says.

David says trusting an overseas solutions provider can be risky if you’re not on the ground with them. Due to ongoing travel restrictions, it’s never been more important to have a secure and well-established relationship with overseas manufacturers and suppliers. “To have experienced teams live on-site in China ensures we are providing Australian companies with solutions that have been designed, implemented and managed to the highest standard – at every step of the way.”

The Australian arm of the business recently opened last year but is managed  by experienced senior operators with over 70 years of combined experience in supply chain operations. “We utilise long-standing relationships with core contractors to manage design, preparation, implementation, service, and maintenance under the management of BPS personnel. We utilise local knowledge wherever possible, managed by proven systems and processes, and with back up from BPS Global,” David says.

David has over 35 years’ experience in designing, implementing and managing complex Supply Chains for organisations in Australia and Asia.  His experience spans retail, pharmaceutical, FMCG, and 3PL industries including CEVA China and BAX Global. He says that BPS Global Australia allows the company to provide national businesses with a clear focus on local requirements, particularly in the area of retail logistics where the management of the Australian arm has considerable practical knowledge.

David Oldridge, Managing Partner at BPS Global Australia.

Introducing driverless technology

Under the wave of technological advancement, warehousing is rapidly developing in the direction of automation, IoT and AI, and with the rising labour costs and leasing costs, many global leading companies, especially the dramatic rise of the e-commerce industry, are moving toward the fully automated warehouse management.

BPS Global proudly provides solutions to some of the biggest retailers in the world including iKea, Samsung, Calvin Klein and Transport and 3PL’s including TNT, CEVA and DHL. Major enterprises recognise the importance of trusted automated logistics equipment, with a high efficiency and low failure rate.

David says the company is the leader in technology, innovation and flexibility. “With the pace of change in technology, you don’t want too many moving parts in a solution. We’re seeing a major drive towards autonomous robots in operations, especially in the last 18 months.”

He is excited to introduce a new technology to the Australian market that he labels as a game changer, especially in relation to coping with supply chain operations in a covid-safe manner. “We have partnered with a robotics company located in Shenzhen and is an important development in technology for Australian businesses across the materials handling landscape,” David said.

The company’s partner is focused on the development and commercialisation of vision-based autonomous driving technology for retro fit forklift vehicles, and is committed to delivering cost-effective vision-navigated autonomous driving products with high versatility and intelligence.

The driverless solution has been widely applied in various scenarios including factories, warehouses, logistics parks, ports and airports, and it has been adopted in factories and warehouses by over 50 benchmark companies in major industrial sectors including e-commerce logistics, third-party logistics, FMCG manufacturing, home appliance manufacturing, new material manufacturing, 3C electronics manufacturing, textile, and printing sectors, improving logistics efficiency.

David says its BPS Global is eager to demonstrate the value autonomous guided forklifts will bring to the local logistics sector through its exclusive international partnership.

There has been a major drive towards autonomous mobile robots in operation over the past 18 months.

Intelligent solutions

Based on visual driverless platform, autonomous guided forklifts can realise automatic material handling, storage and retrieval, whose applications are mainly for the horizontal transportation in the warehouse and between workshops, vertical picking from and placing to the racks, loading and unloading of the goods, with rated load capacity of 1.6 tons, maximum running speed of 1.5 m/s, maximum lifting height of 9.4m, and one-key manual-auto switching mode.

Vehicle carries advanced 3D visual module, and is equipped with carrier detection and rack detection function to self-adapt different carriers and racks; the central control system embraces powerful cloud computing and information storage capacity, and it can schedule multiple vehicles for collaborative operations, and flexibly integrate with automation equipment and warehouse management system.

David also highlights that the autonomous guided forklifts dual-system safety setting and 360° laser obstacle-avoidance can ensure the safety of people, vehicles and goods. “It has been widely applied in various industries including e-commerce, 3PL, 3C manufacturing, food & pharmaceuticals, automobile and new energy. There are already Australian clients who are interested in deploying this new solution,” he says.

BPS Global Australia is equipped to seamlessly assist Australian businesses from the East to the West coast with integrating self-driving industrial vehicle solutions. “Our clients can be assured that our solutions provide high flexibility to application environments and minimum change requirements of the environmental settings as well as incredible performance, adaptability and optimisation,” David says.

“Of course, safety is paramount. Our autonomous guided forklifts will even be able to replace CCTV cameras due to the bonus security monitoring that are equipped in the solution deployment. To present a forklift with 3D mapping and have a completely new way of evaluating complex warehouse environments, it’s no wonder this international technology will be a gamechanger.”

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