Overview of Automated Guided Vehicle:
Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) are computer-controlled wheel-based load carriers that move on a plant's floor. These Automated Guided Vehicle systems do not need an operator or driver but are autonomously driven using intelligent software that uses pre-programmed maps stored in their memory. Sometimes, Automated Guided Vehicles can also use pre-defined paths laid on the floor for navigation. Automated Guided Vehicles are advantageous since they reduce labor and maintenance costs while ensuring safety and diminishing product and equipment damage.
The most common technologies used by Automated Vehicle Manufactures are belt/roller conveyors, robotic palletizers, forklifts, and automated storage/retrieval systems. The typical applications where Automated Guided Vehicles can be used are the transportation of raw materials and products, storage and distribution on the assembly line during work-in-progress, storage & retrieval of products in warehouses during distribution. The type of Automated Guided Vehicle System used in an application depends on the intricacy and purpose of the Automated Guided Vehicle.
Types of Automated Guided Vehicles:
There are several types of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) :
- AGVS Sorting Type: Sorting operation can be highly optimized using automation & dynamic routing and can thus provide strong robustness and high flexibility.
- AGVS Towing Vehicle: These are most commonly used in applications where these Automated Guided Vehicles can be attached to different types of trailer designs to pull heavy loads up to 25000 kgs.
- AGVS Unit Load Vehicles: They provide an automatic load transfer facility using a lift/lower deck which can be used for unit load transportation in distribution and packaging.
- AGVS Pallet Trucks: Palletized loads are transported to storage and dispatch stations using Automated Pallet Trucks.
- AGVS Fork Truck: In addition to the AGVS Pallet trucks, which can transport on floors, AGVS Fork trucks can also transfer loads on stands. They can also transfer the load directly to the AS/RS loading deck.
- AGVS Hybrid Vehicles: These Automated Guided Vehicles can hybrid vehicles that can also be operated manually along with remote operation. These can be used for loading or unloading trailers as they are commonly equipped with forks and can be adapted to different load types.
- Light Load AGVS: These Automated Guided Vehicles are compact design vehicles specially used in regions with limited floor space and can be used for smaller load types of up to 250kgs.
- Assembly Line AGVS: These are light load AGVS that are specifically used in applications like moving assembly parts in automotive and other manufacturing facilities.
Use Cases of Automated Guided Vehicles:
With the ever-increasing demand for flexibility in operations and material handling, Automated Guided Vehicles can put to use in all significant processes of processing and material handling, such as follows:
- Collecting parts for Assembly
- Order picking
Benefits of Automated Guided Vehicle Systems:
Automated Guided Vehicles are highly beneficial due to the following traits:
- Economic: AGVS provides the most economical approach towards material transfer on the facility floor. While labor changes are susceptible to change, AGV costs are much predictable.
- Intelligent: Automated Guided Vehicles are intelligent because they can communicate and interact with other material handling systems such as AS/RS, conveyors, lifts, and robots.
- Accountable: One of the most imperative reasons that make AGV such beneficial is great accountability. Real-time tracking, planned delivery allow delivery confirmation on-time. They also provide management information on the Automated Guided Vehicle and the work-station.
- Flexible: Automated Guided Vehicles can be modified at low costs according to the space provided to them in the change of plant size or change in the movement process.
- Reduce Labor and increase productivity: The most evident benefit of Automated Guided Vehicle systems is labor cost savings due to labor reduction. Since less human interaction is involved, the errors and damage get greatly reduced, increasing productivity to many folds.
- Product and Equipment safety: Since Automated Guided Vehicles move on a pre-programmed path, they do not collide with other equipment or obstacles in the path, thus ensuring maximum safety of products.
- Reliable: Automated Guided Vehicle Systems are extremely reliable as they consist of several vehicles. The rest can be used with some extra load if one of them undergoes maintenance. Also, in case of special vehicle movement situations, the AGVs can be manually controlled and overridden.
- Energy and environment friendly: Since Automated Guided Vehicle systems require very little power to operate, they are very energy efficient. They do not make unnecessary noise and do not damage the plant floor in any manner.