Also commonly referred to as AGVs for short, autonomous guided vehicles are computer-controlled, wheel-based load carriers that are commonly found in warehouses and similar types of industrial environments. As the name suggests, they’re able to function without the need for an onboard operator.
This type of configuration brings with it a wide range of different benefits, essentially all at the exact same time. Chief among these is a greater level of accountability when it comes to moving materials around a warehouse or factory floor. Once items have been placed onboard the AGV, they are tracked in a way that helps reduce (or even eliminate) the possibility that items will be lost in transit. Additionally, AGVs offer organizations a viable opportunity to control costs during a time when it is desperately needed. As opposed to labor costs which increase unpredictably over time, the costs of an AGV system are relatively fixed. They are also not subject to external factors like local economic conditions.
All told, autonomous guided vehicles offer a wide range of different potential applications – all of which are more than worth exploring.
The Value of Autonomous Guided Vehicles: An Overview
One of the most common applications of autonomous guided vehicles actually has to do with the assembly process in an environment like a factory. Here, they’re ideal for moving products efficiently from one part of the production process to the other – all in the name of making sure that materials are exactly where they need to be at all times. AGVs can also be used to collect parts for assembly, thus supporting human employees so that they can focus their attention on those tasks that truly need them.
Depending on the environment, autonomous guided vehicles can also be used for order picking. It’s common to see AGVs used to move ordered products to a trailer-loading area for the purposes of distribution, for example. Because AGVs are also designed to handle products as gently as possible, they also help reduce the possibility that products or items will get damaged during transit.
All told, AGVs offer fewer restrictions than alternative methods – thus creating more productive industrial environments across the board. AGVs are perfect for eliminating the types of access issues that conveyors and other large pieces of equipment bring with them, for example. They also take up far less space than something like a forklift, allowing employees to maximize the potential of the space they’re working with.
But really, the biggest benefit that AGVs have to offer has to do with creating much safer spaces for employees. An AGV will always follow its pre-determined path and will always stop should it encounter some type of obstruction. Because they’re designed to perform movement-based tasks in the most predictable way possible, they’re able to properly function around human employees in a safe and straightforward manner.
Given all of these potential applications and advantages, it’s easy to see why AGVs have become so popular over the last decade in particular – and why they will continue to do so for years to come.
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