"In theory you could program
them and leave them to load with no one around, but you probably wouldn't want
to do that," she said.
Jervis B. Webb
developed the SmartLoader after a bottling company approached the company about
developing an automated system for its operations.
The company was running a three-shift
operation five to seven days a week and wanted to trim the costs of its
continuous trailer loading process.
For the past year the unnamed company has been
using 11 SmartLoaders three shifts a day, five to seven days a week. The
company has since ordered another batch of 25 loaders.
The SmartLoader maneuvers around the warehouse
using a vehicle control computer that maintains the intended path and performs
Transponders embedded in the floor are sensed by
the vehicle to identify its exact location. The vehicle integrates with
warehouse management software systems to provide real-time control by an
The vehicle runs on an eight-hour
battery, which the vehicle recharges itself without manual
SmartLoader can also move dual or
single loads, adapting to various trailer sizes and skew angles, the company
claims. It can pack loads loosely or tightly.
Various safety features also are
integrated into SmartLoader, including laser scanners that detect items in the
vehicle’s path, causing the vehicle to stop immediately. Each vehicle
is equipped with electronic “touch bumpers” and beam optics
as added precautions.