at the high-bay warehouse and bottling plant
ZERO Accidents strategy for the beverage industry
Safer working practices at Feldschlösschen with ELOshield
Feldschlösschen in Rheinfelden is Switzerland’s largest brewery, producing and bottling dozens of different beers as well as a wide variety of mineral waters and soft drinks. It’s a busy place too, negotiating challenges such as seasonal fluctuations and a high level of throughput. To keep everything on the move in the production facility, employees on foot work in close proximity to those driving forklift trucks. As safety is the number one priority, the company’s “ZERO accidents” strategy aims to reduce the yearly number of safety related incidents to zero by 2030. In order to realise this goal and to generally enhance safety on a daily basis, Feldschlösschen has been using ELOKON’s ELOshield assistance system since 2022.
The project at a glance
High level of throughput
poses risks for the pedestrians
Pedestrians and forklift trucks equipped with ELOshield
Production facilities secured with ELOshield
High volume beverage production = high risk of collisions and accidents
Over the years, the brewery’s production facility at its HQ in the Canton of Aargau has undergone continued expansion and modernisation, and production is spread across a number of warehouses as well as a basement. In the bottling plant and neighbouring storage areas, both pedestrians and forklifts work alongside each other, and in areas with limited visibility, such as thoroughfares and intersections, there is a much higher risk of accidents occurring. “Our fast-paced handling prodcedures mean that our forklifts and pedestrian employees are constantly on the go. Although there have been no serious accidents so far, we wanted to take preventive action to give our team an even better level of protection," explains Martin Waldmeier, Warehouse Manager at Feldschlösschen.
Last year the company therefore decided to implement further safety measures on top of those already in place. Waldmeier: “Our goal was to exploit the latest technology to benefit from the most advanced factory logistics when it comes to safety. Together with the forklift manufacturer Junhgheinrich we chose to partner with ELOKON, as the company has a wealth of experience and technical expertise in the beverage sector.” The existing trucks were retrofitted with a digital assistance system and individual warehouse areas could be monitored and secured using stationary antennas.
ELOshield emits warnings in dangerous situations
Following on from initial contact and a site survey at Feldschlösschen‘s locations in Rheinfelden and Rhäzüns, ELOKON embarked on planning and implementation. The mobile warning system ELOshield has been in place since 2021 to protect both personnel and forklifts from accidents in all of the company’s hazardous areas. When warehouse personnel or other vehicles approach the danger zone of a forklift, the system sends out visual and acoustic warnings. The ultra-wideband technology (UWB) ensures unobstructed protection so that people and vehicles can be promptly detected and alerted in blind spots and through obstacles. In addition, UWB is insensitive to other radio signals such as WLAN, Bluetooth or RFID.
Safer working conditions thanks to automatic speed reduction
ELOKON has installed its safety systems on 30 of Feldschlösschen’s forklifts. Depending on the location, all four functions - ELOshieldGO, -DRIVE, -ZONE and -SPEED - are used as required. "It was particularly important for us to reduce the speed of our vehicles in complex and critical situations," explains Waldmeier and adds: "With some of our forklifts moving loads of up to 3.5 tonnes at peak times, this increases the risk of injury to our staff as well as the cost of damage to infrastructure."
Personnel working in these high risk zones are also supplied with portable personal transponders which they wear or carry. These modules emit acoustic or vibration warnings if a forklift or any other industrial vehicle is approaching. The warning zone can be configured to range from one to 15 metres.
Fast no-compromise installation for beverage production
In the planning stages ELOKON looked at Feldschlössen’s diverse warehousing and production areas in order to be able to best configure and install the various ELOshield functionalities acording to the individual spatial requirements. ELOshieldZONE was a popular choice for the thoroughfares between the individual warehouses and for the bottling facility. Stationary radio antennas were mounted on the walls to define individual danger zones. If a forklift truck approaches these areas, its vehicle module triggers a warning signal.
In high risk areas with limited or poor visibility such as the high-bay warehouse or the bottling plant in the basement, collisions are avoided by imposing a strict speed limit of seven Km/h, which is automatically actuated thanks to ELOshieldSPEED.
"The assistance system has been a complete success. The entire team fully endorsed the project and now feels safer in their working environment," said the warehouse manager. ELOshield’s functional diversity was a particularly strong selling point as it enabled an individual security concept to be devised for each separate area.
Feldschlösschen is headquartered in Rheinfelden and is the largest brewery and beverage distributor in Switzerland. The company was established in 1876 and employs 1200 people at 21 locations throughout Switzerland. With a range of over 40 own-brand Swiss beers and a wide range of beverages from mineral water to soft drinks and wine, Feldschlösschen supplies around 25,000 customers from the catering, retail and beverage trade sectors.