Automation in technology and machinery have made many aspects of manufacturing and transportation more affordable, quicker and safer. AGVs (Automatic Guided Vehicles) are particularly popular — in many cases replacing forklifts and other machines in factories and warehouses. Integrating one into your operations could provide you with the following benefits, provided you choose the right one for your needs. Keep reading to find out whether you should make the investment.
What Do AGVs Do?
AGVs are self-operated driverless vehicles that often use LIDAR (or Light Detection And Ranging) navigation to determine where they are, where to go and how to navigate the path in between. They're battery or motor powered and can be programmed or instructed via laser, radio, or other technological inputs.
You can find them transporting, stacking and managing heavy loads. They can also complete time-consuming jobs that would involve multiple people and dangerous conditions quickly, safely and efficiently.
Unique Benefits Offered By AGVs
There are many types of AGVs, including automated guided carts, towing AGVs, unit load handlers and heavy burden carriers. However the main type is the Automated Guided Vehicle. In factory or warehouse settings, these are usually laser guided forklift type AGVs that can operate 24/7 without interruption, allowing your workers to get more done during the day. They also excel at performing repetitive tasks, preventing workers from developing injuries and strain.
Employee errors are inevitable even with well-trained workers. Most AGVs use sensors to react almost instantly to prevent collisions and accidental damage to their surroundings. With some AGVs capable of handling thousands of pounds in weight, they also offer superior capacity to humans.
What To Look For When Selecting An AGV
As AGVS don’t need an operator and can carry loads far exceeding what an average person can carry, they can help increase productivity. They eliminate unnecessary walking and the moving of materials from A to B and in time, you can expect the AGV’s AI system to optimise workflow and prioritize tasks in a more efficient manner.
Most AGVs operate using a geo-navigation system or guidance system software, making external guides unnecessary. Geo-mapping software (as well as long range optical laser sensors and 3D cameras) scan and map surrounding areas to create routes and pathways for the AGV.
AGVs with central recording or traffic operating systems will work around other AGVs in the same space without collisions by queuing jobs in a certain order and stopping if a person or object stands in their way.
Integrating An AGV With Exsisting Systems And Equipment
Your AGV needs to be easy to network and build on. You should be able to start using it without connecting it to your existing operating systems. However it’s also easy to integrate with end of line equipment such as conveyors to create a fully automated packing line.
This should be possible without you having to install expensive infrastructure or make complex adjustments to your work space. Usually a simple IO Box can facilitate this connection and interface the systems.
Acquiring your AGV from an experienced supplier will ensure you make an investment that’s as safe as it is effective. Webster Griffin can help you navigate the many AGV choices on offer to pick the best one for what you need done. For more information, contact us today.
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Automated Guided Vehicles