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A new 'wave' of store efficiency

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article image 2.1 metres platform height.

THE WAVE work assist vehicle is a unique concept designed by Crown to help work be performed faster and safer when restocking shelves, picking inventory, and performing any other associated store duties.

It is suitable for retail shops, store rooms, warehouses, or wherever an improvement is needed in stock picking and inventory tasks. The WAVE replaces manual tools such as ladders, while working quietly in any indoor application.

The WAVE vehicle will elevate a person to 2.1 metres platform height and travels nearly twice as fast as the average walking speed. It is narrow and very manoeuvrable, and able to turn 360º on the spot to suit operation in tight spaces and narrow isles.

By allowing the typical worker to pick and place product up to 4.2 metres high, the WAVE makes performing tasks much faster, simpler and safer, says Crown's marketing manager, Craig Kenchington.

"Tools, products, or other materials can be placed on the convenient load tray for easy handling when the worker reaches the necessary height.

"As the load tray capacity is 90kg and the load deck below capable of carrying 110kg, little effort is required to carry a load or to balance and lift it while climbing.

"In many cases this means one person on a WAVE vehicle can do what would normally take two people with a ladder - and do it faster and much more safely."

"Tasks are accomplished faster, safer and more efficiently than has ever been possible before."

WAVE's designers made the operator controls simple to use and with the requirement that the operator must have both hands on the controls and both feet positioned on the floor pedals before the vehicle can move.

Another safety feature prevents the operator's compartment from rising more than 50cm unless its gates are closed. If the operator is higher than 50cm, the speed of the vehicle automatically reduces to a walking pace (3km/h) otherwise, a top speed of 4km/h or 6.5km/h can be selected with a control switch that can be useful in tight or congested areas or in the training of new operators.

The vehicle's quiet, energy efficient power comes from maintenance-free batteries. And it can be charged anywhere at any time, because the on-board charger simply plugs into any standard 240V outlet.

The WAVE also features an interlock so that the vehicle cannot be driven off when the recharging cord is plugged in.

An independent performance test of the vehicle has been carried out by Ergonomic Systems Design in California. The study carefully compared manual and mechanical methods of performing a sample of representative tasks, and attempted to determine the possible benefits associated with the use of the WAVE in the performance of these tasks.

The study found that across a range of four typical tasks, 'in every single case the labour requirement was lower for the 'vehicle mode' than for the 'manual mode', and in every single case the 'vehicle mode' was rated as being less fatiguing than the 'manual mode'.'

Average labour saving for all these tasks was found to be more than 25%, and can be as high as 48%. The WAVE vehicle was also found to reduce the fatigue factor by between 66% and 90%.

The study also noted that while performing tasks manually with ladders, some objects were dropped unintentionally from height, and at times workers performed potentially health-damaging tasks such as carrying a large television set up a ladder without help.

Similar situations did not occur when workers performed the tasks with the aid of the WAVE.

An auto power shutdown can be programmed from 0-60 minutes to assist in preventing unauthorised use. Regenerative braking is automatic when throttle speed is reduced or when the operator removes a hand or foot from the controls. A parking brake is automatically set one-half second after the vehicle stops.

The WAVE has many wide and varied uses from small batch order picking to painting trucks, to fitting air conditioning systems to feeding Giraffes at the Zoo!. The unique nature and design of this new piece of equipment has many as yet to be discovered applications.

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