Laserglow listed as one of the 66 Top Industrial Startups and Companies in Toronto (2021)

An article made by showcases their top picks for the best Toronto based Industrial companies, and Laserglow was one of them. These startups and companies are taking a variety of approaches to innovating the Industrial industry, but are all exceptional companies well worth a follow.

In the article they tried to pick companies across the size spectrum from cutting edge startups to established brands. selected these startups and companies for exceptional performance in one of these categories:


  • Innovative ideas
  • Innovative route to market
  • Innovative product


  • Exceptional growth
  • Exceptional growth strategy


Societal impact


Understanding Proximity Detection Technology for Pedestrian Detection in Warehouses

Warehouse operations present a variety of potential hazards. Despite increased awareness of these safety hazards, sadly, the fatality rate in warehouses remains higher than the average for all other industries in the U.S.

The most common accidents involve forklifts or lift trucks. About 100 employees die every year in forklift accidents and another 95,000 injuries are reported. Forklift accidents include those that have overturned or when workers have fallen off of lifts, but more than a third of these accidents involve interactions between a forklift and pedestrians.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends physical barriers where possible, signage in facilities, audible alarms, flashing lights, and regular worker training to help improve safety in warehouses. NIOSH also recognizes the value of proximity detection technology to help reduce pedestrian accidents.

What Is Proximity Detection?

Proximity detection uses sensors to detect personnel, vehicles, and other objects that come near machines. Rather than relying on employees seeing a potential hazard, sensors on machinery and workers can detect potential collisions and provide alerts for operators and nearby personnel.

The Smart Proximity Detection System (SPDS) from Laserglow TechnologiesTM uses Ultra Wide Band (UWB) radio frequency (RF) to precisely measure distances between forklifts or other machinery and pedestrians and alert both operators and pedestrians to potential danger and hazard zones.

Workers can wear tags that provide audible and vibration alarms when they are near machines to enhance awareness. Warehouse operators can designate Danger and Hazard zones around moving vehicles which provides alerts to both parties using two-way communication between the sensors.

The Vehicle Tag creates a 360-degree detection zone that constantly monitors anything entering these zones. Zones can be configured to trigger different reactions ranging from audible, visual, or vibrations alarms to forcing vehicles to slow down or stop until obstacles are cleared.

Additional sensors can also be installed at fixed locations throughout the warehouse that are more likely to be the site of accidents, such as intersections, blind spots, crossing areas, loading docks, or high-traffic aisles. Sensors can also be used to control access to areas.

How Does Ultra Wide Band RF Work?

Ultra Wide Band technology isn’t new. In the early 2000s, it was used in military radar, remote medical monitoring, and medical imaging. More recently, Apple included UWB in its iPhone 11 so that nearby users can transfer files or photos by pointing their phones at each other when they’re nearby.

Similar to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, UWB is a short-range, wireless communication system.

UWB transmitters send billions of pulses across a wide spectrum frequency. A receiver translates these pulses into data. Since pulses are sent and received within a few nanoseconds, UWB provides real-time accuracy. Used for indoor positioning, UWB is incredibly precise. UWB can measure distances within a few centimeters while Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other narrowband radio systems measure proximity in feet or yards.

UWB is extremely low power but operates at a high bandwidth. This high bandwidth is an ideal way to send significant amounts of data back and forth to nearby receivers. UWB can range about 30 feet — more than enough to provide advance warning of potential warehouse collisions.

All of this makes UWB a perfect solution for close-range proximity detection to identify potential hazards that could lead to pedestrian accidents in warehouses.

Laserglow’s SPDS can track multiple vehicles and pedestrians simultaneously with precision. When pedestrians wear active UWB tags and enter a Warning or Danger zone near a vehicle, the driver receives a Watch Out or Danger message that repeats while the pedestrian also gets a vibration or audible alarm.

When an alarm occurs, the vehicle driver must either wait for the pedestrian to clear the zone or take action to acknowledge the alarm and mute it.

Other Types of Proximity Detection

There are also other types of proximity detection available. Each has its own benefits and weaknesses.

Ultrasonic Proximity Sensor

Ultrasonic sensors use sound pulses to detect objects. Using both a transmitter and receiver, ultrasonic proximity sensors use echolocation. The transmitter chirps and then measures the time it takes for the sound to strike an object, reflect the sound, and return to the source. With additional processing, an ultrasonic sensor can not only detect other objects, but also assess distances between objects.

This technology is very accurate and can even be used in dark or poorly lit areas. Ambient noise, however, can limit effectiveness. Air temperature fluctuations can also impact accuracy.

Photoelectric Proximity Sensors

If your garage door has an electric eye that detects movement and stops doors from moving when an object crosses its path, it does so using a photoelectric sensor. Photoelectric sensors use a beam of light that travels between the light source and a detector.

With few moving parts, photoelectric sensors tend to last a long time and can have very fast response times. They are not made to calculate distances between objects and require alignment and tuning to maintain a line of sight.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

RFID uses radio waves to atomically identify objects. Readers and tags both use predefined radio frequencies to exchange data. Active readers typically have a transmitter and power source while passive tags do not have power. Instead, electromagnetic waves from the reader induce a current in the passive tag’s antenna so it can be read.

RFID is used most commonly to identify large system objects.

Image-Based Technology

A motion sensor uses image-based technology. When it detects movement, it can trigger an action or alert. Image-based positioning technologies use cameras and software to compare video images to static images to approximate positioning.

Line of sight is required for image-based tech. Range and coverage are limited.

UWBHigh-accuracy positioning, passes through walls and equipment, less susceptible to interference than other optionsMay be slightly higher initial costs than other options
ULTRASONICBest for detection of large objects with hard surfacesVery sensitive to temperature fluctuations and can have difficulty reading non-flat surfaces or small-sized objects
PHOTOELECTRICFast response times and long-range capabilityRequires line-of-site, sensitive to lens contamination (dust, dirt, debris)
RFIDNo line-of-sight required, can penetrate solid objectsPositioning coverage is small and lacks communications capabilities
IMAGE-BASEDCan be less expensive than some other optionsRequires line-of-sight, coverage is limited, does not provide precise positioning

Most Accidents Are Preventable

Despite safety training, investigations into worker deaths caused by forklifts and warehouse machinery show that employees often remain unaware of the potential risk of working on or in areas where forklifts operate. Often, OSHA guidelines and standards are not followed. In fact, NIOSH reports that nearly every death they investigated could have been prevented by using proper safety procedures and equipment following OSHA guidelines.

This tells us safety training simply isn’t enough. No training will be effective if employees don’t actively practice safety protocols. It’s just another reason why proximity detection is an important technology to create safer warehouses. Rather than relying on workers remembering to enact best practices, proximity detection provides another layer of protection to help avoid accidents.

Pedestrian accidents in warehouses can occur because of a variety of common situations, such as:

  • Pedestrians did not see the forklift or lift truck until it was too late.
  • Pedestrians did not hear the forklift above ambient noise.
  • Pedestrians underestimate the dangerous area around forklifts.
  • Pedestrians were caught off guard by sudden starts or turns.

Signs, painted lines, and active traffic management can help. So can cameras, monitors, and intersection mirrors, as well as regular safety training. However, safety training can too easily be ignored and static safety measures can quickly blend into the background.

Enhance Safety and Workflow in Warehouses

Laserglow’s SPDS is a Smart Proximity Detection Safety System that is designed to enhance safety and workflow by detecting:

  • Vehicle to pedestrian proximity
  • Vehicle to vehicle proximity
  • Blind spots
  • Intersections management

SPDS is OEM-independent, so it is ideal for mixed fleets. The system works on robots, cobots (collaborative robots), and AGVs (automated guided vehicles), as well as forklifts and other industrial vehicles. It can be installed on new vehicles or easily retrofitted onto your existing fleet.

Contact Laserglow today to explore the benefits of the Smart Proximity Detection System and enhance your warehouse safety.



Fish Processing In The 21st Century: A Case Study In Process Optimization

United States Seafoods, LLC – Seattle, Wa

United States Seafoods is a leading producer in Alaska (multispecies groundfish fisheries.) The company owns a fleet of five factory trawlers and five trawl catcher vessels, including the largest head and gut factory trawler in the United States. 

An important component of US Seafoods business is processing the fish that is caught and ensuring that the best possible cut is delivered to their customers. Traditionally, US Seafoods, like many other fisheries, manually sorted the fish and placed the fish on a conveyor belt prior to being run through a blade. Since the manual sorting process is subjective, this resulted in inconsistent cuts and losses attributed to recovery. 

To optimize their process workflow and ensure consistency in the cuts, US Seafoods turned to Laserglow for a solution. It was determined that Brightline™ Alignment Lasers should be the best option.

Brightline Alignment Lasers are a series of lasers that are capable of projecting 2D shapes onto target objects, simplifying workflow and accelerating the alignment process. In US Seafoods case, a green line projecting laser was deemed to be an appropriate choice. This green laser line is used as a guideline for properly aligning fish on a conveyor belt prior to being run through a blade to remove the head, to ensure best cut possible cut and maximum recovery. The color green was selected, because the human eye is 4-5x more sensitive to the green over traditional red lasers.

Since implementing Laserglow’s Brightline Alignment Lasers for fish processing, US Seafoods has experienced huge process efficiencies. Not only has the recovery rate increased significantly, but there is consistency in their cuts. It is this commitment to product quality that has resulted in US Seafoods success over the years.


Safety Technology to Meet OSHA Requirements

he Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created to oversee workplace safety by publishing rules and guidelines. These standards force compliance by companies, requiring them to live up to standards and train employees to meet them.

Most of the standards were created before today’s technology existed. OSHA continues to review new technology that can provide even greater operational and safety visibility. While this is an ongoing process, many technologies are already in the marketplace that comply with OSHA regulations and enhances worker safety.

OSHA Standards for Safety Signs

OSHA regulations require signage to prevent accidents, including the use of signs or symbols to indicate specific hazards. Any new signs or replacements of old signs need to comply with the regulations.

  • Danger Signs should have no variation in either the type or design of any signs posted to warn of specific dangers. Employees should be trained and instructed that danger signs indicate immediate danger and that special precautions are needed. Red, black, and white should be used with specific guidelines on the use of color.
  • Caution Signs should be used in any areas that indicate a potential hazard where proper precautions should be implemented. Caution signs should have yellow backgrounds with black letters for high contrast used in conjunction with guidelines.
  • Slow Moving Vehicle Emblems are required to be a fluorescent yellow-orange triable with a dark red reflective border, highly visible for daylight exposure.

OSHA also requires written words, such as “Stop” or “High Voltage” or a corresponding pictograph showing an easily identified warning.

Virtual Signs vs Physical Safety Signs

Signs can be physical or virtual as long as they meet OSHA requirements and provide adequate warnings about potential hazards.

Laserglow technologies™ SafetyCast virtual sign projections are an ideal way to display bright floor or wall safety signs. These virtual signs work well in nearly all lighting conditions. Easy to mount and adjust, there is virtually no maintenance.

Unlike physical signs that are subject to wear and tear from equipment or foot traffic, the signs are highly durable. They are also cost-effective because it eliminates the need to repurchase new signs or repaint. If safety signs need to be adjusted due to workflow, you can switch out the image projection lens to project new signage instantly instead of having to buy new signs or repaint areas. Virtual signs eliminate downtime while new signs are installed or painted.

SafetyCast virtual sign projections can also use motion sensors, beam break sensors, or push buttons to trigger signage.

OSHA Standards for Line Demarcation

OSHA regulations define color codes for marking physical hazards. Color marking is meant to be universal to make it easier for workers to immediately identify potential hazards.

Similar to a stoplight, yellow indicates areas where caution is needed and for marking physical hazards, including areas where workers may be at risk for:

  • Striking against
  • Stumbling or tripping
  • Falling
  • “Caught in between”

Red means stop. Buttons, bars, switches, and anything else used to emergency stopping for machinery is designated by OSHA to be red for rapid identification.

Virtual Laser/LED Lines vs Painted/Taped Lines

Painted and taped lines are also vulnerable to wear and tear. In some cases, taped lines that come up from the surface can even be safety hazards themselves. Replacing taped or painted lines also require additional expense and downtime to repair.

By comparison, using Laserglow Technologies’ VirtualLine Walkways and Line Lasers creates a way to mark your floors that won’t wear. Plug and play laser line striping and virtual walkway projection systems are lightweight units that are easy to set up and require minimal maintenance.

Because of their dynamic projection, these lines and walkways attract more attention which can overcome complacency. Like virtual sign projections, virtual lines and walkways can also use motion sensors, beam break sensors, or push buttons to trigger signage.

Proximity Detection Technology

Collisions are one of the biggest hazards on job sites. Whether on construction sites or in the warehouse, operators must be able to navigate job sites safely.

Each year in the US there are approximately 100 fatalities and 90,000 serious injuries resulting from accidents. Almost 80% of these accidents involve a pedestrian. Besides injuries to workers, the average cost from a forklift accident exceeds $180,000 in medical expenses, legal liability, lost productivity, and OSHA compliance costs.

Smart Proximity Detection Systems

A smart proximity detection system (SPDS) uses Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) RF wireless frequencies to accurately measure distances between vehicles and workers or other vehicles. When distances between objects are violated, collision warning alarms result. Laserglow Technologies has several solutions that work together:

  • Vehicle-mounted devices that monitor hazard and danger zones around moving vehicles
  • Active wearable tags to warn pedestrians of potential hazards with audible or vibration alarms
  • Fixed-site devices to monitor high-traffic aisles, intersections, blind spots, or accident-prone areas

SPDS systems from LaserGlow are highly accurate and can detect multiple vehicles and/or pedestrians simultaneously. Devices can be fitted to new forklifts or retrofitted to existing fleets. They are easy to install (no registration or calibration needed) to work right out of the box and provide simply customization.

Smart proximity detection system devices have bilateral alarms (acoustic or vibration) and users can configure detection and warning zones, including different alert zones for vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to pedestrian interactions.

Protect Your Business and Your Employees

Liberty Mutual estimates that employers paid out more than $1 billion every week for direct workers comp costs for non-fatal, but disabling, injuries. According to the National Safety Council, work-related deaths and injuries total more than $151 billion in direct costs each year.

“Employers that implement effective safety and health management systems may expect to significantly reduce injuries and illnesses and reduce the costs associated with these injuries and illnesses, including workers’ compensation payments, medical expenses, and lost productivity.” – OSHA

To learn more about technology that can comply with OSHA regulations and help keep your workers and workplace safe, contact Laserglow technologies today.



Projected signage changing how safety messages communicated

By Linda Johnson – Source:

Signs that use LED and laser light may help raise hazard awareness and combat complacency

In May 2013, a worker in a meatpacking plant in Ontario was operating a forklift when he collided with material being moved by a co-worker. The worker suffered a broken ankle. Four years later, the company, Concord Premium Meats, was found guilty of violating the province’s Industrial Establishments Regulation and fined $55,000. Among the violations was the failure “to ensure barriers, warning signs or other safeguards for the protection of all workers were used where vehicle or pedestrian traffic may endanger the safety of any worker.”

Safety signs are an essential feature of industrial work sites, where workers are in constant proximity with heavy machinery and vehicles. Traditionally, safety warnings and directives have been communicated to workers by painted or adhesive signage on floors and walls. In the last few years, new light technologies have led to a completely different kind of signage. Projected images may be set to replace conventional, fixed signage.

“We have the ability to change and create any kind of signage,” says Atul Garg, vice-president of operations at Toronto-based Laserglow Technologies. “Any kind of signage there is in the industrial space, we can create those using our projector-based technology.”

In a basic setup, a projector — mounted overhead on a beam in the ceiling — projects an image down onto the floor. Projectors consist of three main elements: the projector body, image template and lens angle.

Projectors today tend to be highly durable. According to an international enclosure rating system, most are rated IP65, indicating the units are sealed off from dust and dirt and are protected against water projected from a nozzle — a hazard in food-processing sites.

The image template determines the image to be displayed on the floor. Similar to a photographic slide, it can be changed out for another image when needed; for example, if the layout of the warehouse changes. Signs can range from standard warnings, such as “Slow” or “Fire Extinguisher,” to more customized messages, such as “Safety Shoes Required” or “Eye Protection Area.” The template is often called a gobo, or “go before optic.”

The lens angle goes in front of the image template and allows the user to focus the image on the surface where the image is to appear. Different types of angle lenses can be put on the projector to increase or decrease the size of the projection.

Projected signage systems are intended to be plug-and-play, so generally no training is needed to handle them. A maintenance worker or person with basic electrical knowledge should be able to install and operate the system.

The use of projected safety signage, made possible by the development of the 300-watt LED projector, began about four years ago and has greatly accelerated in the last two to three years. There are two different projected systems: one based on LED technology (light-emitting diodes); the other on laser light. Recent advances in light technology have made it possible to produce bright, colourful, clear and crisp imagery onto a factory floor, says Mark Wray, CEO of Old Hickory, Tenn.-based LTBLtech.

“And the image doesn’t degrade. No matter what is on that floor, no matter the condition of the floor, no matter how much transportation goes across that image, the quality of that image will remain exactly the same from the time it is deployed until the light engine dies — and depending on the harshness of the environment, that light engine can survive anywhere from 14,000 hours up to 40,000 hours” he says.


Most often, projected signage is used to display traffic control signage on walls and floors in high-traffic areas. Typically, these signs have warnings such as “Stop,” “Yield” and “Danger Forklift Traffic.”

“The most common problem in these areas is forklift traffic and pedestrian traffic. There are many accidents there — where the forklifts don’t see the pedestrians and run into them or the pedestrians walk into these aisles where the forklifts are supposed to be driving,” says Uli Theissen, CEO and owner at Scotts Valley, Calif.-based GoboSource Projection Systems.

Safety managers can also use projected signage to replace painted or taped pedestrian-safe aisles, using either projected LED or laser light. Overhead projectors casting bright LED light can be set up to create two thick, coloured lines along the floor. Projectors can also be used to create the familiar, solid-colour or striped walkway. For long walkways, more than one projector is needed.

Alternatively, high-intensity lasers can be used to produce virtual lines along floors and other surfaces to demarcate pedestrian lanes and other zones, such as staging areas where pallets or equipment are supposed to go. By installing two overhead lasers that project parallel lines or stripes along the floor, a manager can create a safe lane or walkway. If the lane is beside a wall, only one overhead laser may be needed to create the lane. Virtual laser lines are also used to create lanes to guide truck drivers into warehouses, helping them stay in their designated lanes and away from pedestrians.

“The lasers are very efficient; they can generate a very long line with a single laser,” Theissen says. “The lasers used in these environments are classified as laser class 3R, so they are absolutely eye safe. You can look into the laser beam without any problem.”

Projected signage can be used on overhead cranes. The projector casts coloured lines or spots onto the floor below to warn of a suspended overhead load. Projectors can also be mounted on forklifts where they project lines, spots, arrows or warning signs to indicate the vehicle’s approach. This application is suited to areas where alarms are difficult to hear.

While projected signage works best in indoor environments, it can be used outside, too. The challenge is that when light technology goes outdoors, it usually becomes invisible in sunlight. To be visible on bright days, the power of the projected light must be very high, and with lasers, that light intensity would need to be so high that the laser would no longer be eye safe.

However, there are products used outside. For example, a projected laser-line system developed by LTBLtech that creates pathways for docking trucks projects laser lines and safety signage inside and outside. It was designed for use in northern workplaces, where snow and ice often obscure outdoor lines. The green and red lines are visible only when there is no bright sun.


One of the main advantages of projected signage is that, unlike paint and stickers, the signs don’t wear off. As a result, companies are saved the cost, effort and downtime required by constant replacement, Garg says.

“Stickers and paint wear quickly and need to be constantly replaced. In high-traffic environments, that can be as often as every three weeks to every six weeks. To replace stickers, you have to cordon off an area and close operations. If you’re painting, you have to cure the surface, strip the old paint, lay the new one, let it dry. So, there’s lost time and productivity,” he says. “With projected signage, the projector is mounted overhead. No wear and tear can ever happen because there’s nothing on the floor.”

The safety advantage of projected signs, Garg adds, is that they are more effective at drawing attention to workplace hazards than fixed signs, which become part of the landscape and are soon ignored. Bright colours make projected signs highly visible. The use of motion sensors can also help alert workers to the signage.

Motion sensors, beam break sensors or push buttons can be used to trigger projectors to begin displaying a sign or start flashing a normally steady sign. For example, a motion sensor may detect a forklift approaching a walkway and will prompt warning signs to appear on the floor in front of any pedestrians who may be on the walkway. A sensor may detect a person opening a door and instantly project a safety image onto the floor.

“The biggest advantage of projected signs over stickers is their dynamic nature. In this technological age, people don’t pay attention to signs around them. People are always on their phones. Complacency happens to all workers,” Garg says. “When motion is detected, [a manager] can have the signage come on and flash at a certain rate. All of a sudden, there is a change in the environment; the human eye picks up that change and you are made more aware of a potential hazard in the workplace.”

Projected signage can be used in most environments, but it is particularly useful in high-traffic areas, where paint and adhesive signs wear off and damage quickly; in safety-critical areas, where signs must be visible; in dark areas, where paint is hard to see but light is very visible; and in dusty, dirty or wet areas, where painted and taped signage deteriorates fast.

“The most common industries currently buying [projected signs] are in the automotive sector, the steel and lumber industries and the food processing industry,” Garg says. “But any place that has a sign can use a virtual sign.”


While she thinks projected signage is in some ways a great concept, Julie Tilley, safety professional at Calgarybased Workforce Compliance Safety, says constantly changing signage is more likely to decrease workers’ adherence to safety messages.

“In industrial settings, consistency is the key. Someone who sees a stop sign somewhere every day of their life is going to stop. If they just see it once in a while, they may not,” she says. “If you drive and every day you see a stop sign somewhere and you know you have to stop, then whether the sign is covered in snow or someone has knocked it down you’re still going to stop. It’s a habit, and you know it’s the right thing to do.”

Moreover, Tilley adds, there is a risk of workers coming to rely on a suddenly appearing image to warn them of a serious hazard. Yet, unlike fixed signage, the need of a power source makes the system vulnerable to problems, and there may be technical failures, such as a projector or sensor malfunctioning. A preferable solution may be combining the fixed sign, which workers are always required to observe, with a projected sign that comes on flashing when a hazard is imminent.

Concerning maintenance, she says the life of fixed painted signs can be greatly extended by the use of durable, industrial paint. For example, highgloss alkyds and epoxy paints are estimated to last three to five years. Applying a sealant over the paint can also make signage last longer. 

Cost Comparison

In relation to painted or taped signage, which requires frequent maintenance, projected technology makes for cost-effective signage, Theissen says. In high-traffic areas, the one-time cost of projected signage ranges from $500 to $6,000, while paint or adhesive signage can cost $1,000 to $4,000 annually. 

“And, often, it is actually a much higher cost because, if you re-paint a whole intersection, traffic there is stopped for a day. There is a major disruption in the production process, and that means additional cost, and it’s hard to measure that,” Theissen says. “Typically, for a high-traffic area, the return on investment of a projected system is two to three years.”

With advanced light technologies, companies are experimenting with new uses for projected signage. GoboSource, for example, is working on a pilot project in Alberta that involves projecting crosswalk signage onto the road at a traffic intersection near a school. The goal is to maintain visible signage even in the winter.

“The signage is always on. When it snows, the signage would not normally be visible. But a projected image can be projected onto the snow and will always be visible,” Theissen says. “It will make sure the cars stop for the kids.”

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of COS. 

Ensure effectiveness of signage

  • Viewing distance (Is the worker close enough to the sign to read it?)
  • Illumination (Is there enough light on the sign?)
  • Legibility (Are the words and images readable? Are they obscured in anyway?)
  • Clarity of the message (Can the worker understand what the words mean?)
  • Conspicuity and placement (Does the sign capture the worker’s attention?)
  • Image details (Do the images clearly show the danger of certain actions?)
  • Reading time (How long will it take the worker to read the sign?)
  • Visual acuity (Is the worker’s eyesight good enough to read the sign?)
  • Perception factors (Does the worker have the background knowledge to understand the sign?)

Source: WorkSafeBC

Common uses for projected signs

  • RUGGED CONDITIONS Used in wet, cold, humid or dusty environments
  • HIGH-TRAFFIC AREAS Projected signs are not affected by foot and vehicle traffic
  • HIGH-RISK AREAS Motion sensors can be used to warn personnel as they approach high-risk areas
  • ON MOVING EQUIPMENT Projectors can be installed on cranes and forklifts
  • LOW-LIGHT ENVIRONMENTS Projected signs are highly visible in both bright and low-light environments
  • TO COMBAT COMPLACENCY Blinking or rotating signs increase awareness

Source: GoboSource


The Benefits of Smart Proximity Detection Systems and How It Can Prevent Forklift Accidents

At a warehouse in La Mesa, CA, a forklift operator had just finished loading a delivery truck when he backed up. Although he had checked for obstacles, a worker entered his path and had turned his back on the forklift. The forklift rolled over his foot, fracturing his ankle and foot.

In another case, a punch press operator at a computer components manufacturing was killed while at her workstation. A forklift nearby struck a metal scrap bin which hit the press. It bounced off, hit the forklift again, then shoved the press back against a corner where the worker was crushed.

While important tools in the workplace, forklifts can be dangerous if not operated and equipped properly. In both of these cases, forklift operators were trained and certified. Yet, it took just one moment of inattention to detail to result in a serious injury or death.

More than 95,000 injuries happen annually. On average, 87 workers lose their lives each year due to accidents involving forklifts.

The cost is staggering. While you can’t put a price tag on the impact of a fatal accident to the worker and their families, you can’t quantify the costs for other things that arise in the wake of a forklift accident, such as:

  • Workers’ Compensation claims
  • Fines
  • Lawsuits and legal costs
  • Equipment damage and repairs
  • Loss of production

The average cost to a company for each forklift accident is $184,000. Repeat incidents can escalate that cost quickly with fines amounting to more than $120,000. When you consider that more than 10% of forklifts in the US are involved in an accident every year, it’s a high price to pay.

The saddest part in all of this is that nearly every accident is preventable with the proper training, operation, and equipment.

Preventing Forklift Accidents

Forklift operators often work in close quarters and in areas where other people are moving around. That’s why nearly 80% of forklift accidents involve a collision with a pedestrian.

Safety training is essential, but it only works if everyone follows the procedures every time. As you can see by these sobering statistics, training alone doesn’t prevent accidents. Warehouses and other facilities that use forklifts need a better solution to prevent accidents.

The Smart Proximity Detection System (SPDS) from Laserglow TechnologiesTM is that solution.

SPDS used wireless technology to measure the distance between vehicles and pedestrians or other vehicles and provide an early collision warning. Devices on powered vehicles monitor the area around them, constantly scanning for potential collisions. Workers can use tags to warn them of potential dangers by vibration or audible alerts. High-traffic areas, intersections, and blind spots can be equipped with fixed devices to monitor accident-prone areas.

Smart Proximity Detection Systems create a 360-degree safety bubble around forklifts to warn operators and pedestrians in a variety of situations.

Preventing Forklift and Pedestrian Accidents

Vehicles can be equipped with tags that provide alerts when pedestrians are close to entering the danger zone. At the same time, workers can wear small tags that alert them at the same time. This two-way communication allows both forklift operators and pedestrians to get immediate warnings so they can avoid collisions.

The best proximity detection systems will provide programmable detection zones to indicate different levels of notifications. For example, there can a Warning alarm when someone comes close and a Danger alarm when imminent collisions may occur. These zones are configurable and can trigger different system reactions automatically. You may want audible, visual, or vibration alarms for Warnings and Vehicle slow down or stops for Danger alerts.

Preventing Vehicle Accidents

The same process works to help avoid accidents between multiple powered vehicles. Vehicle tags work in concert to detect nearby vehicles and warn operations. Once forklifts and other vehicles are equipped with the SPDS system, they will constantly communicate and detect vehicles that are also equipped.

Detection can be configured with ranges up to 30 meters. Even if a vehicle is moving through a blind spot without a clear line of sight, the system will warn drivers nearby so they can avoid collisions. The best SPDS systems will force action by the driver. For example, when vehicles enter a potentially hazardous situation, an audible alarm will sound. Vehicle drivers must press a button to clear the message to mute the sound or wait until the other vehicle has exited the danger zone.

Blind Spot Warnings

Every facility has blind spots, such as at the end of racks. Pedestrians might be exiting a row while a forklift is traveling by. Neither party may be able to see the other until it’s too late. By mounting SPDS devices at corner intersections or other blind spots within a facility, it can trigger warnings such as flashing red lights to indicate caution.

Flashing zone beacons can be installed anywhere, including aisle entrances and exits, intersections, high-traffic areas, gates, or other places where visibility is limited. Virtual signs can also be deployed so that when a forklift or other powered vehicle enters warning of danger zones, a warning sign is projected onto the floor. While the vehicle driver gets a warning through their device that provides audible or vibration alarms, they also will see messages, such as Stop, Caution, etc. visually.

Automatic Gate or Access Controls

SPDS can also limit access to certain areas and warn about automated gates. You may limit speeds in high-risk areas or zones.

The Benefits of Smart Proximity Detection Systems

Smart Proximity Detection Systems operate in real-time to monitor, control, and predict potentially dangerous situations to ensure a safe distance is maintained. Because it uses RF frequency, it can detect pedestrians through obstacles, such as racks or pallets.

The Smart Proximity Detection System from Laserglow Technologies provides other benefits, including:

  • Highly Accurate: Uses Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) RF technology for precise measurement
  • 360 Degree Protection: Can detect multiple vehicles or pedestrians at the same time
  • Easy to Install and Use: Can be used right out of the box without the need for registration or calibration
  • Bilateral Alarms: Both drivers and pedestrians receive audible or vibration alarm (or both).
  • Can be Installed on Any Equipment: SPDS is OEM-independent, so it can be used on mixed fleets, fitted to new forklifts, or retrofitted onto existing equipment. IT is compatible with all major forklift models.
  • Configurable: Different alert zones can be set up for various scenarios, such as customized alert zones for vehicle to pedestrian or vehicle to vehicle interaction

A safer work environment pays dividends in other ways as well. When you have trained workers that are equipped with the proper safety equipment like SPDS, you will also see:

  • A more productive workforce
  • Less downtime
  • Less damage to equipment and property
  • Increased equipment life

Go Beyond Training for Forklift Operators and Workers

As part of a comprehensive approach to workplace safety, smart proximity detection can enhance safety and help protect workers and equipment. Along with a formal training program, it can help reduce workplace accidents.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires formal training for anyone operating a forklift, lift truck, or powered industrial trucks in businesses. It is a violation of the law for anyone that has not been trained and certified to operate a forklift. It’s part of OSHA’s requirements that workers have a right to working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm. Organizations have a moral and legal responsibility to protect their workers by taking proactive steps to minimize dangers.

Training is important, but for it to be effective, it’s really about how people use the lessons they learned. One significant advantage of using proximity detection safety systems is that it’s a constant reminder of the lessons learned during training. Each time an alert or warning is sounded, it reinforces the training and the need for constant vigilance in the warehouse.

There are a couple of common threads that emerge when you look closely at forklift accidents, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). NIOSH investigations into accidents found that workers and employers were not aware of the risks of operating or working near forklifts, didn’t follow OSHA procedures or manufacturer’s warnings, or failed to deploy the proper safety equipment to prevent accidents.

Training and certification of employees along with proximity detection systems can mitigate these risks.

About Laserglow Technologies

Laserglow’s SPDS is a Smart Proximity Detection Safety System that is designed to enhance safety and workflow by limiting access to certain areas and automating controls.

SPDS uses cutting-edge Ultra Wide Band (UWB) RF wireless technology to precisely measure the distance between vehicles and provide access control to restricted areas. It is easy to install without causing any damage to vehicles and features industry-leading proximity detection technology.

SPDS is OEM-independent, so it is ideal for mixed fleets. The system works on robots, cobots (collaborative robots), and AGVs (automated guided vehicles), as well as forklifts and other industrial vehicles.

Contact Laserglow today to explore the benefits of the Smart Proximity Detection System and enhance your workplace safety.


Virtual Safety Zones: A Case Study in Visual Hazard Awareness Management

Veoneer – Markham, Ontario

Veoneer is a worldwide leader in automotive technology. They design, manufacture, and sell state-of-the-art software, hardware and systems for occupant protection, advanced driving assistance systems, and collaborative and automated driving to vehicle manufacturers globally. 

When Veoneer Canada Inc, located in Markham, ON approached us, they were having some safety challenges around their surface mount autoloaders. The placement of the autoloaders was such, that their doors opened into the main aisles. These aisles have both foot traffic from pedestrians, as well as light machinery traffic, from train drivers. This posed a safety hazard for the autoloader operators, who had their backs to potential traffic.

I´m glad that we are able to solve the issue. The projections look great.

Fatima Fonseca – Industrial Engineer at Veoneer Canada Inc

After analysing this challenge, it was determined that visual (safety zonesâ) need to be created around the autoloaders, when in use. Laserglow proposed the use of line projecting lasers and virtual signs which would be activated only when the autoloader doors were open.

When asked about the efficacy of the solution that was provided, Fatima Fonseca, Industrial Engineer at Veoneer Canada Inc. said, “I´m glad that we are able to solve the issue. The projections look great.” Laserglow Vice President of Operations, Atul Garg said, “I am glad that we were able assist Veoneer Canada in creating Virtual Safety Zones and mitigating the potential for accidents in their facility.”

VirtuaLine Line Lasers: these are compact, eye safe, modular, IP67 rated, plug-and-play laser devices, capable of producing thin, highly visible lines. The laser emits a line length of approximately twice the mounting height, in this case 24. To ensure that the safety zone could be “sized” properly, special Line Limiting Sleeves were developed for the project.

SafetyCast – Virtual Sign Projectors: these modular, eye safe, IP65 rated, plug-and-play LED projectors are capable of projecting high-contrast safety signage. These projectors were wired so that the STOP signs turned on once the autoloader door opened.


Visual Warning Solution for Enhancing Industrial Pedestrian Safety

At Laserglow Technologies, we strive to continuously expand our solution offering and look to engage with our markets before embarking on new product development. After consulting with some of our top customer’s, we’ve identified a need for industrial safety products in the Materials Handling sector.

We are happy to announce our Hazard Zone Safety series. This line of laser and LED-based safety products is designed for Materials Handling equipment such as gantry cranes, forklifts and transport trailers/docking areas. These products are designed to enhance pedestrian safety in areas that are shared with mobile warehouse equipment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2015 a substantial number of fatal occupational injuries were related to cranes, derricks, hoists, and hoisting accessories. With more than 250,000 crane operators in the United States, a very large but undetermined number of other workers and general public are at risk of serious and often fatal injury due to accidents involving mobile heavy equipment. There are approximately 125,000 cranes in operation today in the construction industry, as well as an additional 80,000-100,000 in general and maritime industries.

The latest survey from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in 2016 shows that close to 20 percent of all forklift accidents involve a pedestrian being struck by the forklift, translating to almost 19,000 people per year. There are over 1.2 million forklifts in USA and Canada which have the potential of causing pedestrian injury or fatality. Along with other high-risk work environments such as docking bays and warehouses, having a good safety procedure in place along with the right products to help mitigate accidents in all-weather environments, can help reduce the risk of serious injury or damaging valuable property.

Laserglow’s Hazard Zone Safety Series provides visual warnings to pedestrians and vehicles in accident-prone areas, or areas where mobile machinery shares floor space with pedestrians. These products are weatherproof, thus ideal for indoor and outdoor use. All products are designed for industrial applications to increase safety in potentially dangerous areas where cranes, forklifts and other material handling equipment is used.

List Of Products

Hazard Zone Projection Safety Products Benefits:

  • Reduce incidents of human error injury – increases pedestrian and operator awareness of moving equipment or temporary machinery installations.
  • High visibility, illuminated projections provide the pedestrian with clear knowledge of their proximity to moving equipment.
  • Warns pedestrians from walking under a suspended/overhead load.
  • Audible alarms do not provide pedestrians with a sense of proximity to moving equipment due to ambient noise spikes in the work zone

Virtual Walkways and Projected Signage: A Case Study in Visual Warehouse Hazard Management

Corning – Harrodsburg, Kentucky

Corning™ Harrodsburg Plant has an amazing history of manufacturing, development, and innovation which continues to grow and evolve while maintaining its roots in glass manufacturing. A cornerstone of this long history is its commitment to excellence and its employees. It was this commitment to employee wellbeing, that Corning embarked on a journey to enhance pedestrian awareness to hazards in their facility, such as forklifts and other material handling equipment. 

Corning had been using traditional tape and paint to demarcate walkways and lanes throughout their facility to create safe pathways for pedestrian use.  For busy intersections, they were using physical traffic signs. However, Corning was faced with an uphill challenge of constantly maintaining and upkeeping these areas as the paint and tape would wear off with forklift traffic. In addition, they were experiencing issues of pedestrian complacency to physical signs.

Your help made this buying/install process as pain free as something like this could be.

Christopher Votaw, Head of Special Projects and Distinguished Associate at Corning Incorporated

Corning reached out to one of Laserglow™ resellers, Acklands Grainger, to help them find a better solution. Laserglow took a holistic approach to evaluate Corning™ health and safety program and proposed a dynamic and flexible visual hazard management solution. This included:

VirtuaLine Line Lasers: compact, eye safe, modular, IP67 rated, plug and play laser devices, capable of producing thin, highly visible lines. VirtuaLine Lasers project indestructible floor lines that eliminates the need for maintenance that is required with traditional marking solutions like floor tape or paint. Plus, virtual lines are highly visible even in low light conditions and last years rather than months.

Motion Activate SafetyCast – Virtual Sign Projectors: modular, eye safe, IP65 rated, plug and play LED projector capable of projecting high-contrast safety signage when motion is detected. Using motion sensors, forklift activity at intersections is monitored and STOP signs are flashed when activity detected. This sudden change in the environment due to flashing signs, enhances pedestrian awareness of on-coming hazards and overcomes complacency to static traffic signs.

Projected Crosswalks: using the latest LED technology, we created a series of pedestrian cross walks throughout the facility. These LED projectors are modular in design, IP65 rated, eye safe and plug and play. Installation requires minutes and operates on 110/240VAC power.

When asked about their experience working with Laserglow, Christopher Votaw, Head of Special Projects and Distinguished Associate at Corning Incorporated said, “The solution exceeded my expectations. The implementation plans were detailed and install material per area explained what went where. The experience has been nothing but positive. Your help made this buying/install process as pain free as something like this could be. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Laserglow in the future and would have no hesitation in recommending their solutions!”.