Forklift operator driving lift

Proximity detection systems play a vital role in ensuring the safety of forklift operators, heavy machinery operators, and pedestrians. Originally created for the mining industry, they work to minimize accidents and create a secure environment. Without them, the potential for chaos and injuries would persist. Thankfully, all proximity detection systems have one thing in common: detecting objects and individuals.

However, manufacturers do not create all collision avoidance systems equally.

Because the mechanics and features of these systems vary significantly, we will shed light on two highly sought-after systems. We hope this helps you decide which is best suited for your facility’s needs.

Understanding HIT-NOT and Camera Proximity Alert Systems

HIT-NOT or a camera-based proximity alert system can help any warehouse lower injury risks. Here are the basics:

What is HIT-NOT? How Does it Work?

HIT-NOT proximity alert systems rely on magnetic fields and sensors to detect the presence of objects and individuals. The system’s magnetic field generators are attached to the front of a forklift or heavy machinery. There, the system emits a low-frequency magnetic field within designated warning and danger zones.

People near forklifts or heavy machines wear personal alarm devices (PADs) with sound and light alerts. Entering a zone triggers the pedestrian’s PAD and the operator alerts. Proximity sensors will also alert when the forklift is in danger of hitting merchandise, walls or other obstacles.

What are Camera-Based Detection Systems? How do They Work?

Camera sensors use cameras to detect and provide alerts when objects or people are within range of machinery. They generally rely on the vision of the camera and image processing algorithms to detect motion, objects, and individuals. Cameras are used in real-time to determine the distance of objects or people within a certain warning distance threshold.

While both systems can help avoid disasters, HIT-NOT is the world’s most innovative and precise collision avoidance system available.

workers leaning down to lift merchandise in warehouse may not be recognized by a camera system
Camera systems may not recognize the shape of people who are bent over or behind boxes in a warehouse.

Five Differences between HIT-NOT and camera-based warning systems

HIT-NOT and camera-based proximity systems share a common goal of protecting everyone and everything on a work site. Yet, that is nearly the extent of their similarities. Here are five key differences:

1. Identification

HIT-NOT’s technology accounts for various scenarios and does not need to “see” the pedestrian or hazard to be effective. Because it does not need a line of sight, it is less prone to false alarms.

Cameras can only identify pedestrians based on their outline or shape, which can limit pedestrians to when they are standing. They can also detect reflective vests, but they fail to account for situations that are common in industrial settings, including:

  • merchandise that obscures the profile of a person
  • an employee who is bending over
  • or a person working behind a wall or column.

And, HIT-NOT’s magnetic fields are not affected by the radio signals, visual disturbances, or lighting conditions that can affect cameras.

2. Monitoring

HIT-NOT uses magnetic fields to detect the proximity of objects and people. Sensors emit magnetic fields and detect disturbances, enabling the system to “see” around blind corners and obstructions.

Camera systems capture visual information and analyze it. They are dependent on a clear line of sight to properly detect objects.

And here’s where it gets tricky for camera-based systems.

Employees may perceive cameras as intrusive because they can monitor employees beyond safety and security purposes. You must balance privacy rights with the need for workplace safety.

3. Environmental Limits

HIT-NOT is not affected by conditions such as heat, cold, fog, poor lighting, or other elements. It will detect magnetic field disruptions no matter the weather.

Cameras, although reliable, can be affected by environmental conditions and lens occlusion. A dirty or smudged lens can obscure potential hazards. Environmental conditions within a warehouse can be detrimental to overall safety standards.

4. Customization

You can tailor HIT-NOT to fit individual circumstances. It can be set to various and specific elements like pedestrians, vehicles, sizes, and speeds that trigger alerts.

Cameras are primarily line-of-sight systems. That means they can only detect hazards in the direction the camera is pointing. Camera systems only warn live feed viewers of dangers. They do not notify the pedestrians who could be injured when a forklift gets too close.

Cameras provide alerts through graphic overlays on camera feeds and audible alerts like alarms and beeps. Both HIT-NOT and camera systems can be customized and integrated with additional verbal, audible, and visual alerts through various colors of lighting, spoken word warnings, and automated braking.

5. Range

HIT-NOT offers 360° detection and distinguishes between warning and danger zones. The forklift operator can detect pedestrians, obstructions, and other forklifts from a few inches to 70ft.

However, cameras have limited fields of view, and installing several cameras is necessary to achieve multidirectional detection. The vision range varies based on factors like the specific camera used, lens type, field of view, and resolution.

Cameras can provide detailed information about the objects they capture. However, they may not always detect people due to the difficulty in interpreting their visual input.

What Collision Avoidance System is Right for You?

Choosing the best pedestrian alert system depends on factors like facility size, forklift quantity, and if pedestrians will be nearby. If you still aren’t sure, consider the following information.

Camera-based systems

  • Flexibility in camera placement
  • Precise proximity analysis with distance estimation and perception
  • Object tracking for inventory management and security
  • Real-time monitoring for quick response
  • Visual documentation for workflow improvements and safety analysis


  • Enhanced safety
  • Reliable detection
  • Flexibility in customizing detection zones
  • Quick response time
  • Durability in challenging environments
  • Proactive accident prevention by detecting potential hazards before they escalate

Still undecided?

Integrate HIT-NOT and camera-based systems for unbeatable safety and detection.

Combining HIT-NOT best-in-class object detection and the camera-based system’s visual recognition provides a comprehensive solution. As a result, your worksite will be one of the safest around.

Together let’s turn the zero on your “days without injury” board into zero incidents…period.

At SynTech, we have over 40 years of experience providing worksite training and equipment. We are also the #1 sales and service provider of the HIT-NOT proximity detection system. Protect your people and property. Call the knowledgeable SynTech team at (256) 571-5024.

Watch our HIT-NOT vs Camera video: