Medium to high-level order picker trucks drive through narrow aisles so that the operators can pick items from the racking onto their machine. Operating this close to racking can be stressful for the operator and could potentially cause damage to stored goods or infrastructure. Toyota’s order pickers can work with different guidance systems to travel safely in the aisles and avoid damages. We’ll explain the pros and cons of our two guidance systems.
Some definitions first
The medium and high-level BT Optio order picker range from Toyota comes with a choice of two guidance systems.
- Rail guidance
This mechanical system consists of metal profiles that are installed on the sides of the aisle at the width of the order picker wheels. Guide rollers fitted on both sides of the order picker allow the forklift to touch the rails on each side and travel down the aisle safely, with minimum risk of damaging racking, product, or the order picker.
- Wire guidance
Wire guidance is a control system for medium and high-level order pickers (and VNA trucks) to help them steer easily in a narrow aisle by mounting a powered wire in the floor. The forklift trucks have sensors that detect the wire and follow its path.
One advantage of wire guidance systems is that the operator can turn off the guidance system when needed to travel without guidance – offering more flexibility when picking.
What guidance system to choose?
Several factors can affect your decision when choosing a guidance system:
- Pricing: price of the two systems can vary greatly. Especially the size of your fleet and warehouse will determine the cost. Wire guidance systems tend to be more expensive to install because of the sensors and the equipment that must be added to the forklift and to the fitting of the wires and electrics in the aisles.
- Site: applications with wider aisles where the operator must travel on both sides of the racking may benefit more from a physical guidance system that would allow for that type of travel.
- Load: depending on the type, size, and weight of the product you are picking, the distance from the racking required to make a safe pick may vary. Finding the right balance between limiting the distance between the order picker and the racking and optimising the distance for safe, efficient picking plays a significant role in the choice you will make.
Remember, guidance systems can provide increased productivity and reduce product damage, but they are not ideal for every application. Sometimes free-range models are more suitable. When selecting the right guidance system, make sure to consult a professional who knows the requirements of your operation and can guide you through the entire process. Our sales experts are available to help with designing the optimal layout for your operation.