Intermec Inc and Cascade Corp are teaming to develop a forklift system that incorporates RFID technology into a forklift's infrastructure, replacing the inefficient bolt-on approach to supply chain data collection.

“Imagine a mobile RFID system that provides real-time, hands-free information about what the product is and automatically makes better decisions about how to handle that product,” said Cascade product manager Brad Vandehey.

Forklifts envisioned by Cascade and Intermec incorporate dashboard computers positioned for safety and efficiency, easy-to-reach RFID controls assimilated into the lift's control mechanisms, wireless real-time location tracking and navigational LEDs for routing, and RFID readers designed into the frame of forklift attachments. The system, engineered for daily warehouse use, also has a cable management system, wireless scanning capabilities, and a built-in camera for cargo documentation.

Cascade and Intermec unveiled a prototype future forklift February 9 at Intermec's 2006 Global Partner Conference in Dallas TX.