JLT optimises switchgear maker warehouse

  • October 18, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Danish switchgear maker A/S Løgstrup-Steel has conquered downtime problems in its warehouse using hardware from JLT Mobile Computers and more robust and reliable plant-wide network connectivity

A/S Løgstrup-Steel makes and supplies low-voltage modular switchgear and switchboards. It designs and develops products that can be customised to suit a wide variety of roles in data centre, marine and offshore, energy and power transmission, building management, and manufacturing and process applications.

With such a wide variety of use cases come multiple and extensive bills of materials, all of which must be meticulously managed, re-stocked, tracked and picked correctly for each product variant. To fulfil these criteria, the company uses a central warehouse management system that interacts with forklift-mounted terminals. However, the terminals in the previous setup – introduced some years ago – faced difficulties switching between wireless access points as the trucks navigated the warehouse. The resultant crashes caused by networking issues often entailed long re-acquire or re-boot procedures, all of which cut into the warehouse’s productive hours.

The company needed to source more reliable technology but had to maintain optimum operational throughput during any trial and installation periods, so it contacted Danish warehouse IT specialist Codeex to help it evaluate several competing systems. Following evaluation, the JLT1214 rugged forklift computer proved suitable, not just for its rugged design and operator interactions, but also due to its networking capabilities.

“We have a robust scheduling and management system, which can handle several orders at once,” said Henrik Hansen, IT manager at A/S Løgstrup-Steel. “But with the terminals crashing, many of the efficiencies we gain through this software were being lost through the hardware’s failings. The JLT truck terminals supplied by Codeex worked flawlessly in relation to both our employees and the warehouse’s network connection. And the addition of a keyboard has sped up the operator’s interactions so, as well as preventing downtime, we have optimised our uptime too.”

Anette Malmström, Emea business unit director at Swedish firm JLT, added: “Connectivity is the backbone of modern warehouse operations. It enables staff to connect to business-critical systems in real time and move or pick items based on a prescribed list of actions or processes. Bad connectivity interrupts this seamless flow of goods in and deliverables out, causing frustration, a loss in productivity and, ultimately, hitting the bottom line.”

To deliver peace of mind, A/S Løgstrup-Steel was able to test the JLT terminals for a month to ensure they were not only fit for purpose in their role as rugged vehicle-mounted terminals, but also addressed the communications issues faced by the incumbent hardware. The unit on test was mounted on a shock- and vibration-damping bracket and was equipped with a keyboard.

Malmström stresses the importance of try before you buy in terms of warehouse automation.

“We guide our customers through the steps they need to take to ensure the best possible performance and return on investment,” she said. “Indeed, the testing itself is treated as part of the investment, with the mantra that you should try to identify issues as early as possible, before they become complex and potentially expensive to fix later.”

The JLT1214 computer’s WLAN and Bluetooth connectivity take advantage of JLT’s built-in sensitive planar inverted-F antenna (PIFA) technology, designed for reliable wireless connectivity even in difficult environments with weak or uneven coverage.