AGVs are like your driverless cars for the factories – and smart and efficient as them. And do a lot of heavy-duty stuff.
These vehicles carry heavy load and move along the shop floor with no human assistance inside the vehicle. The vehicles are controlled by sensors powered by computers. AGVs are safe since they travel on a defined path at safe speeds scanning for any hurdle in the path. AGVs are used for movement of various items like raw materials, semi-finished goods, and final products within the factory. AGVs are also deployed in warehouse for movement of heavy articles within the warehouse and for loading onto/unloading out of vehicles.
AGVs in a way replace trucks, fork lifts, trucks, conveyor systems or any system that requires heavy lifting, several repetitive movements and with no change in the process. AGVs are software driven. They are powered by CAD-based coding that defines the direction – more specifically the path – and define the pickup/drop off points. AGVs are ‘trained’ by employees before the system incorporates the behaviour in series of software codes. ‘Traffic controllers’ then assign loads and destination to the AGVs and AGVs then determine the optimum path and move the material accordingly.
Application of AGVs are across multiple industries and uses. Some of them are as follows:
|Aerospace||Automobile Manufacturing||Electronics Manufacturing|
|Food & Beverage||Healthcare||Pharmaceuticals|
|Retailing||Storage & Warehouse||Production Systems|
Here are the various types
VISION GUIDED VEHICLES
Vision Guided Vehicles (VGV) move without the help of systems like magnets and reflectors. The ‘vision technology’ on VGVs build a 3D map in the ‘training’ period of the vehicle. The person ‘training’ the vehicle moves around the preferred path for the vehicle to register in its system as a map. The AGVs follow the safety guidelines along with the map.
WIRE, R F I D & TAPE NAVIGATION
These AGVs are supported by continuous stretch of magnetic tape fixed to the floor and sensors placed below the vehicle detect the tape and move in alignment to these tapes. Similarly, the movement of AGVs can also be assisted either by wired flooring or flooring with transponders that is detected by antenna fixed on the vehicle.
LASER GUIDED VEHICLES
AGVs can also use laser sensors to navigate across the factory. Laser guided AGVs do not need any physical provisioning for its movement. These vehicles are therefore easier to operate, to change routine and to alter workflows.