Automated Guided Vehicle also known as AGV is commonly used in the warehouse industries.
In this article, we are going to present to you the details you need to know about AGV which include its main use, types, how it works, benefits and where you can get it here in Malaysia.
Let’s dive in.
What Is An Automated Guided Vehicle System?
As you may have guessed from its name, this vehicle is driverless and it is programmed to transport materials in a facility.
You will not need a driver to operate this machine as no human interaction is needed.
This means that you can reduce the amount of workers and at the same time you can save on the labour cost.
In terms of its reliability, AGV is efficient and it gets the job done without causing too much damage to the goods.
What Are Automated Guided Vehicles Used For?
AGV’s applications are similar to forklifts, manual carts or conveyor systems.
Tasks that AGV are able to handle include transporting raw materials like rubber, plastic, metal and paper in large volumes repetitively.
Besides handling raw materials, it is also used in work-in-process applications to support production and manufacturing lines.
AGV can also transport inventory from receiving to storage locations or from long-term storage locations to forward picking locations to replenish stock.
Type of AVGs
There are many types of AVGs such as Automated Guided Carts, Forklift AGVs, Towing AGVs, Unit Load Handlers, Heavy Burden Carriers and Autonomous Mobile Robots.
- Automated Guided Carts
This is the most basic type of AGV and it has minimal features.
Its navigation systems are as simple as magnetic tape to complex, sensor-based navigation systems that use AI to navigate their environment.
Automated Guided Carts (AGC) is often used in storage, sorting and cross-docking applications. It can transport materials from small parts to loaded pallets.
Where can you see AGC in action? In some hospitals, they use automated hospital cart transporters.
It is used to transport compact loads from place to place which include meals, biohazard waste, and sterile supplies without requiring a staff to manually push the cart.
- Forklift AGVs
This is commonly used by industries and it is designed to perform the same duty as the normal forklifts.
However, this is an automated vehicle and no driver or operator is needed.
- Towing AGVs
This is used to carry heavy loads for longer distances. Along the way it will have several pick-up and drop-off stops.
Interesting thing about towing AVGs is its formation like a train because they carry a couple of loads behind them.
Just like other AGVs, it is driverless and powered towing vehicles travel on wheels.
- Unit Load Handlers
Able to carry objects individually or single units such as a pallet or tote that contains multiple items.
- Heavy Burden Carriers
As the name suggests, this type of AGV can carry the heaviest loads.
This is the most suitable for large assembly, casting and coil and plate transport.
Some heavy burden carriers have self-loading capabilities and may have standard, pivot or Omni-directional steering.
- Autonomous Mobile Robots
Among all AGVs, this type is considered technologically advanced models.
It is equipped with intelligent navigation capabilities such as sensors and camera systems.
This enables Automated Mobile Robots (AMR) to detect and navigate around obstacles.
Due to its more high-class technology, AMRs can plan the most efficient paths regardless whether in the warehouse or other facilities.
How AVGs Work?
AVGs movement is guided by software and sensors.
In many cases, AVGs move along pathways that have been assigned but there are also more advanced AVGs which are capable in terms of dynamic navigation.
- AGV navigation
There are plenty of mechanisms which help AVGs navigate.
Magnetic guide tape is a mechanism that some AGVs use to follow a track by using magnetic sensors.
Secondly, some AGVs use wire navigation which means they follow wire paths which are embedded in the facility floor. Signal is detected through either antenna or sensor.
Next is laser target navigation is used with reflective tape is mounted on walls, poles or fixed machines. AGVs are equipped with laser transmitters and receivers.
The fourth mechanism is inertial navigation where some AVGs are controlled by a computer system with the assist of transponders that have been embedded to the facility floor.
There are also AVGs that use vision guidance. AGVs only rely on recorded features to navigate.
There is also geoguidance which is similar to the vision guidance. The difference is this is used to recognise objects in their environment to navigate.
Lastly, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a fascinating technology. It has a 360-degree map of the environment in the facility.
- AGV steering
Its steering is controlled by three types:
Firstly, differential speed control which is also the most common type of steering. Commonly used or AGVs that operate in tight spaces.
Secondly, steered wheel control which is identical to steering control in a car or truck. It is usually used towing applications and may also be operator-controlled.
Combination steering where it involves both differential speed control and steered wheel control.
By using combination steering, AGVs can turn in any direction and drive in differential steering mode in any direction.
- AVG traffic control
AVGs traffic control measures include zone control, collision avoidance and combination control.
For zone control, it is easy to install and easy to expand. This is used to check whether the path is clear or vice versa.
Collision avoidance is where AVGs are equipped with sensors and it will get a signal if there is an object in front. It will avoid any physical contact.
Combination control is a mix of both zone control and collision avoidance.
This control has both features where one feature can be used as a backup in case the zone control system malfunctions.
Benefits of Having Automated Guided Vehicles
One of the benefits of AGVs is it increases efficiency and productivity.
This is because it is predictable and reliable for repetitive tasks which also means no human error will occur throughout the process.
You will not have to worry about the accuracy of the order, misplaced products because you can rely on Artificial Intelligence.
Secondly, it is consistent in terms of costs. AGVs are typically acquired on a per unit or per rental period cost basis.
Compared to human labour, the cost might change because of the market conditions and demand.
Next, its flexibility is without a doubt a benefit that you will not want to miss.
You can easily change routes and also make any necessary addition to maximize its functions.
Less space is also required for AGVs because mostly they are smaller compared to other equipment such as forklifts.
Last but not least, it improves safety. AGVs are equipped with sensors to avoid collisions.
At the same time, your facility can reduce the number of injuries and also congestion that are usually caused by human error.
Automated Guided Vehicle Malaysia
If you are looking for AGVs here in Malaysia, you should definitely check out Nishio.
Since 2015, Nishio has been delivering AGV Robots in Malaysia.
Nishio are the autonomous solution to Logistics/Material Handling.
Nishio provides a reliable and feasible solution by integrating our RMS (Robotics Management System) with WMS, ERP and PMS.
There are a full range of AGV Robots that you can choose from here and there are affordable!
The most important thing is that they are also reliable in the industry. To see the products by Nishio, you can click here: https://nishio.com.my/robotics/agv-robots-automated-guided-vehicle/
In conclusion, you should definitely switch to AVGs as there are many benefits that can be gained for your facility.
From this article, we hope to enlighten you the details that you should know about AVGs.
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