AGVs, otherwise known as autonomous guided vehicles, are industrial robots that can move across a particular environment like a factory floor – all without the need of a human operator or driver. Instead, their movement is dictated by a combination of onboard software and sensors that are constantly streaming real-time information to the AGV’s guidance systems.
AGVs bring with them a wide range of different benefits that most organizations would be hard-pressed to achieve through other means. Among these is accountability – once a product or raw material has been loaded onto the AGV, it is constantly being tracked in a way that makes it far more difficult to lose. They’re also known for their very predictable costs, as opposed to labor costs which can increase and change quickly depending on things like the economy.
All told, autonomous guided vehicles have many impressive capabilities – all of which are worth a closer look.
The Innovation of AGVs: Your Guide
Typically speaking, AGVs are used in the world of logistics to support both the processing and the handling of materials throughout an environment. One job they’re great for has to do with assembly, where they’re commonly employed to move products from one part of the production phase to another.
Similarly, they’re often found performing essential transportation tasks. They can be used to load pallets and parts for use later, and can even deliver those pallets to specific areas to help support production.
Over the last few years in particular, AGVs have been increasingly used for order picking as well. Not only can an AGV safely navigate the tight aisles of a warehouse in order to find a specific ordered product, but it can also then take that (along with others) to a loading dock for transportation and distribution.
Of course, the precise capabilities of an AGV will vary depending on which type you’re talking about. Forklift AGVs, for just one example, can be used to pick up pallets and can even stack them at specified heights. These are common in most automatic storage and sorting environments.
Towing AGVs can be programmed to pull carriers, trailers and similar types of equipment. Because this doesn’t involve lifting of any kind, they’re actually capable of carrying multiple loads – something that forklift AGVs cannot do by design.
Regardless, all of this is made possible thanks to the AGV’s advanced navigation system. Not only can it perceive exactly where it is in a place like a factory, but it can also do so with an understanding of where it is relative to other people or items. It can then plan a path from where it is to where it needs to be, at which point motion control is used to execute the rest of its task to completion.
If you’re eager to learn even more about the impressive capabilities of modern day autonomous guided vehicles, or if you just have any additional questions about robotics that you’d like to get more detailed answers to, please don’t hesitate to contact Pioneer Industrial Systems today.