Why Are AGVs More Flexible Than Pallet Roller Conveyor Systems?

Most bulk produced products are stacked and stored in pallets until they're dispatched to clients. Moving these pallets around requires the right machinery. For most businesses, this will take the form of a roller conveyor system. While this system has its benefits, an AGV or Automated Guided Vehicle could be a better choice for your business. Here's how to tell if you should make the switch.

Why Use A Roller Conveyor System To Transport Packages And Pallets?

Pallet roller conveyor systems have existed for decades in one form or another. It's an evolution of the moving transport system the Ford Motor Company first pioneered a century ago. In time, it’s evolved to become more affordable, reliable and easy to install.

Despite these advantages, conveyors are relatively inflexible. You might have to move your existing operation lines to accommodate it. Its installation can be time-consuming and the larger it is, the more space it will take up. This forces everyone to work around it, which can be inconvenient.

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When roller conveyor systems are integrated into your operating line they often use power even when not in use. Should it stop working, it will hold up production — slowing your operations and hampering your throughput. You’ll need to plan for regular downtime as some roller conveyor systems need periodic maintenance.

Despite being accompanied by a few issues, the system still has plenty of benefits for businesses. It easily moves pallets over short distances, saving you time. It’s also suited to short load transfers with a maximum throughput threshold. It's great when you need to support high production rates, as you can often program them to move at whatever speeds you require.

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Why Use An AGV To Transport Pallets?

AGVs are well suited to pallet transportation because they’re free standing and mobile — taking up less space than conveyors and allowing people (and machines) to work around it. It can follow a predetermined route but is flexible enough to change routes or move around obstacles. It won’t require installation or interfere with any ongoing processes in your warehouse and factory.

As AGVs can be used in multiple jobs, they won't hold up production should they need maintenance or repair. You can easily dispatch other AGVs when this happens, making it a scalable solution. It makes them useful in multi-shift environments where change is constant.

The downside of AGVs is that they cost more than roller conveyor systems. Unless you're using it constantly, it might not be worth its cost. However, you’ll recoup your investment in less time as it will consume less power, require limited operation and cost less to maintain. As AGVs can’t be used in areas where the floor isn’t flat and undamaged, they’re well suited for use in the retail, manufacturing, automotive, food and beverage, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.


Which Solution Is Best For My Needs?

There’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to choosing a pallet roller conveyor system or AGV. You’ll need to consider your production requirements and environment. You'll also need to consider how flexible the system should be and your budget.

Pay attention to additional costs that might accompany making the switch, as well as if any of your existing processes will need to change.

This might seem like a complicated decision to make, but with experts like Webster Griffin advising you, it doesn’t have to be. Contact us and we’ll help you make the right decision for your business.


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