It’s even safer with ELOshield for Mondi Ascania

It's even safer at Mondi Ascania with the ELOshield family of products
Overcoming the safety and productivity challenges of trucks and pedestrians in close proximity

Any company operating industrial vehicles in proximity to co-workers puts safety at the top of the list.  This concern has always been the case at Mondi Ascania, a manufacturer of non-woven products for the hygiene, personal care, and medical sectors. A year ago, the company decided to further reduce the risks of accidents and injury by fitting ELOKON's ELOshield assistance system on its fleet of Toyota forklift trucks.

At Mondi's manufacturing facility in the German state of Saxony Anhalt, four 165-foot-long production lines operate around the clock, with the fabrics coming off the conveyor belts on large bales. While the production process is mostly automated, other operations such as moving the bales to the packaging and storage areas, preparation for shipping, and quality management involve forklifts and human labor.

The Project at a glance

75.000 sq. ft.

Size of the central warehouse

4 Halls

A lot of personnel traffic

165 foot

of production lines

Little space

Many areas of the hall are difficult to see

The background
Excellent safety track record

Continuously striving to maintain the highest safety record, there has not yet been a single serious accident involving collisions between personnel and vehicles on-site, thanks to Mondi's stringent implementation of occupational health and safety measures. The forklifts primarily operate in a relatively confined area of just 3,250 sq. ft.  between the packing stations, so there is little room to maneuver. Add to this minimal visibility and a constant stream of pedestrian traffic between the buildings, making for a challenging environment for the lift truck drivers.

Maik Roemhold, SHE Coordinator at Mondi, says: "We are proud of our excellent track record so far, but, we were aware that unless we constantly review and enhance our safety measures, it is only a matter of time before an accident occurs with 25 trucks and 120 employees working this closely together". We were hard to impress so we demanded an on-site pilot of ELOshield.   The test proved that, in our environment, the system's ability to send visual, acoustic and haptic warning signals would add an extra layer of safety for our workforce."

The solution
Radio technology protects the workforce

ELOshield automatically recognizes when a person enters the danger zone of an operating forklift using modules that communicate with each other via ultra-wideband radio signals. The forklift module is installed in a visible position in the driver's cab. The individual's module, about the size of a smartphone, is carried by the pedestrian.

Constant transmission of radio signals measures the distance between the two modules in real-time, and if this falls below a certain threshold, the system triggers alarms. The driver receives visual and acoustic notification that a person is within one of two configurable zones: the vehicle's warning zone and the danger zone. The pedestrian is alerted using vibration and acoustic alarms, and the forklift is slowed and then automatically brought to a standstill according to the configuration.

Happy employees, satisfied management

"Our employees really like this system," said Roemhold. "They feel safe and protected when they move around the production lines. Initially, some of them had to get used to the trucks slowing down automatically and thought that this could impact productivity, but this was just perceived, and our analyses proved that this was not the case at all. Installation went very smoothly, and the ELOKON technicians were quick to react with solutions to any feedback we had, including slightly repositioning the antennas to improve the trucks' steering."

The challenge

Compatible with all OEM products

ELOshield is installed on a number of the Toyota models. In the future, Mondi plans to fit all its new trucks with this system. In common with all of ELOKON's safety and assistance systems, it is compatible with any forklift brand as the radio signals are truck agnostic. The safety system will actuate on any MHE, allowing complete retrofitting to existing fleets.

About Mondi Ascania

Mondi Ascania manufactures high-quality non-woven materials mainly used for household, hygiene, and medical articles. Ascania products are used, for example, in diapers, wet wipes, hospital supplies, and disposable materials.

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