Qantas Freight replaced its entire fleet of materials handling equipment and established one of the most advanced fleets in the southern hemisphere by teaming up with Adaptalift Hyster .
Qantas Freight Enterprises, the logistics and air freight division of the national airline operates several domestic express logistic businesses and cargo handling terminals in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Los Angeles.
Qantas Freight operates a fleet of specialist materials handling equipment in excess of 130 vehicles within these cargo terminals. The vehicles range in size, application and capabilities from 1.8T IC forklifts to 16T units.
According to Manager, Safety and Environment, John Cree, the goal for Qantas Freight and Adaptalift Hyster during the MHE fleet upgrade was to improve all aspects of the fleet’s management from an OH&S and environment perspective right through to driving a reduction in avoidable damage and improving operational efficiency.
A key to achieving this goal was the utilisation of Adaptalift Hyster’s ForkTrack fleet management system.
Since introducing its Hyster MHE fleet in 2009 and utilising Adaptalift Hyster’s ForkTrack system, Qantas Freight has seen a significant number of improvements across its operations.
Qantas Freight had identified several areas within their unique business environments that needed additional controls from a traffic management perspective.
Speed controls were required to be implemented in compliance with the recommendations of the Monash University Accident Research Centre in the areas where people and mobile plant worked most closely together. The system also needed to complement driver skills and ensure control over high-risk activities.
Following an in-depth analysis conducted by Adaptalift Hyster’s engineering division, the ForkTrack zone control system utilising advanced RFID was implemented to provide site specific traffic management.
Adaptalift Hyster’s ForkTrack zone control system seamlessly adjusted the maximum operating speed of equipment in different parts of the warehouse based on minimum breaking distances, operational requirements, traffic flows and operating loads.
Accurately controlling who can operate the equipment is one of the most difficult aspects of managing an MHE fleet. Adding to the complexity is the fact that all Qantas Freight operations occur in the secure airside area of the airport.
Qantas Freight and Adaptalift Hyster established that the Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC) system held by all employees seemed the obvious choice for identifying operators authorised to use the MHE fleet.
Adaptalift Hyster and Qantas Freight were able to obtain the authority to install the same access readers associated with the airport onto the MHE fleet, enabling operator compliance with training, procedural and security processes, while reducing the cost of implementation and ongoing maintenance.
Authorised operators are required to swipe onto each piece of equipment prior to start, and the equipment is designed to automatically time out when the operator leaves the equipment. The system can also be used to restrict equipment operation to only those with the required licence and current training.
A key focus of the fleet upgrade was to eliminate collision incidents, given that a majority of the Qantas Freight fleet operated within close proximity of multi-million dollar aircraft.
The ForkTrack remote impact detection system, which constantly monitors individual equipment events above a pre-prescribed threshold, was implemented into Qantas Freight’s fleet.
In the event of an impact, the onboard console notifies the operator, and also provides management staff with information such as equipment and operator ID, date and time of the event, control settings and speed and direction of travel prior to the event through an email dispatched immediately to help with any subsequent investigation.
The system is even able to conduct a controlled vehicle shutdown according to the pre-determined impact threshold levels.
According to Qantas Freight’s John Cree, the system has resulted in some terminals being able to record a substantial reduction in serious impact events since the fleet’s introduction.
Adaptalift Hyster’s ForkTrack system also incorporates an onscreen pre-operational checklist that is completed prior to the commencement of each shift.
The system automatically reports equipment prior to use, and completed checklists and fault reports are emailed to relevant parties for immediate resolution. This minimises the time between an issue being noted and a technician being made aware of it, which improves the potential downtime on the equipment as well as the efficiency of the reporting system.
The completed checklists can also be stored electronically for auditing purposes, and can easily track and report on any attachments or modifications made to individual units.
Digital weight indicator
ForkTrack also incorporates a digital load weight indicator to advise operators on loads being carried, which sounds an overload alarm in the event the weight exceeds the capacity of the equipment pre-set in the system.
Online reporting engine
An online dashboard in the ForkTrack system provides Qantas Freight with real-time reporting on equipment utilisation, operational trends and checklist compliance, allowing both mandatory and performance reporting to be completed quickly and simply.
Qantas Freight also uses this data for positive reinforcement of behaviours by recognising outstanding operators through its recognition programs, helping the company achieve employee engagement while also monitoring and reporting improper usage.