Automatic Trailer Recognition: When Small Automation Steps Bring Huge Cost Savings

Alexander Regin-Lück

Alexander Regin-Lück

Sometimes, even automating a little part of a yard process can bring huge cost savings. In the following article, we explain what a solution using smart sensors might look like.

Check-in and check-out terminals offer initial relief

While we could automate part of the deliveries to our client’s yard by means of check-in and check-out terminal kiosks equipped with a touchscreen, barcode scanner and a printer, some deliveries still need the presence of personnel at the gate for processing. This meant that during peak hours, the trucks would queue until congesting the nearby highway. Not only that. Even those trucks without a trailer which simply needed to pick an empty one from the yard (accounting alone on average for 6 trucks per hour) needed to wait in line with the others that had shipments to be delivered. 

To solve this problem, a new gate-in location without personnel was opened in order to alleviate congestion on the main gate. This helped reduce congestion as expected. However, while this solution was primarily intended for checking-in trucks just needing to pick-up a trailer, soon many drivers started using the less crowded and unmanned gate for checking-in. So far so good, if it wasn’t that they would often mistakenly select “trailer-pickup” instead of “trailer-delivery”. As a result, the saved time in the main queue was now added up by the time and workforce needed to correct the check-in mistakes. 

How to solve this unforeseen issue?

Our IoT experts at leogistics have now developed a trailer recognition system that would check the truck at the gate and hinder “trailer-pickup” when a trailer is detected. For this purpose, a sensor for distance detection was installed in such a way that it is aimed at the trailer. If a trailer is attached to the tractor unit, the sensor detects it. If the truck does not have a trailer, this is also detected and transmitted by the sensor system. Of course, there are other technical ways in which this can be solved. Now, all “trailer-pickup” check-ins take place without the need for a truck gate associate thus reducing congestion for trailer deliveries at the main gate in a fail-proof manner. Not only that, carriers are now able to pick up empty trailers 24/7. Our client estimated that the cost of such a small improvement will save approximately 3,500 hours per year of manual processing and manual correction of mistakes, while being repaid in less than 6 months.  

Do you also have small or big parts of your yard process where you feel automation could help optimizing your costs and personnel? Feel free to contact us! 



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