Frequently referred to as self-guided vehicles or automatic guided vehicles, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are material handling systems or load carriers that travel autonomously across the floor surfaces of a warehouse, distribution center or production facility, without an onboard operator.
What are Automated Guided Vehicles used for?
Popular AGV applications include retrieval and storage in storage facilities and DCs, generally in support of order picking. They are also used for transport of basic materials, work-in-process, and finished goods in factories.
What are the main advantages of Self Guided Vehicles?
1. Minimized Labor Costs: AGVs can considerably lower labor costs. A one time expense can get rid of the ongoing costs of wages, taxes, and benefits associated with full time workers used to transport products.
2. Increased Safety: contemporary AGVs utilize advanced electronic cameras, lasers, or other sensing units that permit them to sense and react to their surroundings at lightning speed. While humans may get careless or distracted, self guided vehicles do not. AGVs can also be utilized in harsh conditions or around hazardous materials where emplyee personal safety may be at risk.
3. Increased Productivity & Accuracy: AGVs can work tirelessly around the clock, never needing breaks or rest. They can make long treks across a warehouse effortlessly. They also don’t make the kinds of mistakes that human workers are prone to making.
4. Modularity: most AGV solutions can be implemented over time, replacing a handful of jobs here and there without an enormous expenditure up front. As automation requirements accelerate, more AGVs can easily be introduced to the facility.
How do AGVs work?
AGVs are shepherded by a mix of sensor-based supervision systems and computer programs. They can travel safely through a warehouse or manufacturing facility by utilizing obstacle detection bumpers and following carefully vetted routes, while using precisely controlled acceleration and deceleration.
AGV navigation is generally managed by one of these types of systems:
Magnetic guide tape: this style of AGV uses magnetic sensing units and conforms to a route laid out by magnetic tape.
- Inertial navigation: transponders embedded into a facility floor surface direct AGVs along a specified course.
- Wired navigation: these systems use wire tracks embedded into a warehouse or factory floor surface. The wire sends a signal that an AGV detects by means of a sensing unit or antenna system.
- Vision guidance: cameras capture the AGV’s environment, and the vehicles utilize these cataloged videos to plot a course. Vision guidance is standalone, meaning no adjustment is needed to a warehouse or factory infrastructure for this type of navigation.
- LiDAR: LiDAR systems transmit laser bursts to measure the distance around the AGV and objects in its vicinity. This data is utilized to establish a comprehensive map of the environment. Similar to vision guidance, no adjustment of a facility is necessary.
- Laser target navigation: with laser based equipment, reflective tape is attached to racks, walls, poles and other fixed bodies. AGVs utilize laser transmitters to rebound laser beams off of these reflectors and then utilize the range and angle of objects to maneuver.
What are the different kinds of Autonomous Guided Vehicles?
There are a number of kinds of automated guided vehicles. Many AGVs are similar to other human-operated vehicles yet are designed to maneuver with no direct human supervision or assistance.
- Automated Guided Carts: an automatic guided cart is the most basic type of AGV. They can transport all kinds of products, from pallets to small parts. AGCs are often utilized in stocking, picking, and cross-docking applications.
- Tugger AGVs: towing, or “tugger” AGVs tug unpowered, payload-carrying carts behind them in a train-like setup. These kinds of automated guided vehicles are frequently utilized for moving heavy loads over long ranges. Often times they are programmed to make several drop-offs and pickups along their path.
- Forklift AGVs: forklift automated guided vehicles are a commonly utilized type of AGV in warehouses and distribution centers. They’re built to transfer pallets without the need for a human operator.
- Unit Load Handlers: unit load handlers ferry solitary payloads like particular objects, or a discrete pallet or tote.
- Heavy Burden Carriers: these are utilized for exceedingly heavy payloads like coils, plates or castings.
Salt Lake Automated Guided Vehicle Supplier
If you’d like a full analysis of AGV options for your Utah warehouse, DC or manufacturing facility, you can speak with an expert at Welch Equipment by calling (801) 972-9272.
Welch Equipment Company
2181 South 3200 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84119
Serving Alta, Bluffdale, Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Grantsville, Herriman, Holladay, Midvale, Millcreek, Murray, Ophir, Riverton, Rush Valley, Salt Lake City, Sandy, South Jordan, South Salt Lake, Stockton, Taylorsville, Tooele, Vernon, Wendover, West Jordan, West Valley City