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Sensor and Material Handling Equipment Technology to Improve Warehouse Performance and Safety

Description:

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Information Systems, Materials/Processes, Sensors

OBJECTIVE: Implement warehouse technology strategy employing automated equipment and related systems best practices which enable the prevention and reduction of employee exposure to physical injuries resulting from Material Handling Equipment (MHE) and/or Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) vehicle collisions, falling objects, demanding and/or extreme repetitive motion activities. Introduce innovative technology and automation practices for the DLA Disposition Services warehouse environment utilizing emerging technologies such as sensor technology, robotics, and/or other automation that reduces fatigue and exposure to work tasks that have the potential to result in lost time, injuries, warehouse equipment damage, or materiel losses.

DESCRIPTION: The commercial potential of these technologies is with DLA Disposition Services warehouse and field locations dependent on the strength of the impact on disposition operations. The capabilities of interest are technologies that will result in:

• A reduction in the number of incidences involving MHE, PIT, and equipment damage, or materiel losses resulting from collisions inside warehouse environments
• Reductions in the incidences involving an injury of an employee due to MHE or PIT mishaps/collisions inside warehouse environments
• Reduction or elimination of Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) mishaps through automated operator certification validation prior to operation and impact sensing
• Reduction and/or minimization of the need to pick property at dangerous elevations
• Reduction in the number incidences involving injuries or incidences of property damage due to lifting heavy/maximum allowed weights by the evaluation/use of scale sensors on MHE equipment
• Improvement of the ergonomics associated with reaching into pallet racking and stacking during the property pick-up
• Ensuring that property movement tasks occur at ergonomically correct heights and reach ranges at engineered workstations as opposed to bending/stretching to reach low/high shelves in bin shelving/carton flow racking or pallet racking
• Reduction or minimization of the need to manually write information and handle documents, with voice recognition technology, both hands are free for handling equipment and/or other products
• Reduction or minimization of the physical effort required to lift and stack cases or totes to build shipping pallets

Candidate technologies should balance commercial considerations and DoD requirements.

PHASE I: The research and development goals of Phase I are to identify MHE, PIT, and equipment related systems opportunities to improve safety/ergonomics/environment in DLA Disposition Services warehouses. Develop a plan designed to reduce employee exposure to physical injuries resulting from vehicle collisions, falling objects, demanding and/or extreme repetitive motion activities within the warehouse environment. Examine feasibility of implementing the new technologies through analysis or proof of concept. The small business firm shall deliver a data package to include an ergonomic assessment of the work environment, simulation results, and a plan that identifies technologies and automation improvements to support objective.

PHASE II: Based on the results achieved in Phase I, DLA Disposition Services will decide whether to continue the effort based on the technical, commercial merit, and feasibility of the proposed solution. The research and development goals of Phase II are to conduct a limited demonstration and test of the new technology in one or more of the DLA Disposition Services warehouses and quantifiably demonstrate a reduction in employee exposure to physical injuries resulting from MHE and/or PIT vehicle collisions, falling objects, demanding and/or extreme repetitive motion activities.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: At this point, no specific funding is associated with Phase III. The vendor will use its solution and quantifiable results to build a compelling business case where the agency may choose to pursue a sole source contract utilizing the technology developed through the Phase I and Phase II effort.

KEYWORDS: safety, warehouse, warehousing, automation, robotics, sensor, sensors, material handling equipment, powered industrial truck, ergonomics

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