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Rush Tracking Systems Merges With Sky-Trax

The newly combined company will offer a more comprehensive range of solutions, enabling users to track forklifts, goods and materials using optical sensors and RFID, while also providing analytics to help customers manage the efficiency of their facilities and drivers.
By Claire Swedberg
Rush Tracking Systems already offers a package known as VisiblEdge, enabling the use of RFID technology on lift trucks. Sky-Trax's optical solution is a hardware package that includes optical sensors (cameras) that read markers—each printed with a unique identifier similar to a bar code—installed on a room's ceiling. With Sky-Trax's system, a camera mounted on the top of a lift truck takes multiple images of the location markers per second, in order to calculate the vehicle's position with an accuracy of approximately 1 inch, as well as its direction and speed, according to Mike Kinnard, Sky-Trax's CEO. (Kinnard and Rush will retain their respective titles within the new company.) With an RFID reader from Rush Tracking System mounted on the front of the lift, and with RFID tags attached to pallets or cartons, users can determine not only where a particular forklift is located, but also what it is carrying, based on reads of the RFID labels as the truck carries its load.

For the past two years, Rush Tracking Systems had acted as a Sky-Trax value-added reseller (VAR), providing its own RFID technology in conjunction with Sky-Trax's system, along with integration services. With the merger, the combined company can now sell and integrate the entire package with a user's existing management system. The new firm, Rush says, will also have a greater focus on providing data management. The system, he notes, collects a great deal of data, and the merger allows the new company to offer more comprehensive solutions that can provide further analytics, such as tracking each lift truck's efficiency, determining the most effective layout, and ascertaining why some facilities have more efficient load patterns, as well as what affects efficiency levels during certain shifts, and when a driver requires retraining to become more efficient.

The new company will offer a selection of packages for customers, including a system for tracking forklift drivers themselves, a solution for tracking lift trucks' locations, one for conducting an inventory of the vehicles' loads, and another for automated forklifts that operate without a driver. According to Rush, the solutions provided by his company and Sky-Trax together have been providing customers with a return on investment within 12 to 18 months.

The time was right for such a merger, Rush says, given the strong user demand for the two companies' combined truck-tracking systems. "We're seeing quite a bit of growth," he states. Customers that install the system, he reports, experience a 15 percent to 20 percent productivity increase. Kinnard adds, "We're growing very rapidly, so we need to grow our own resources to meet the demand."

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