Computer-controlled and wheel-based, automatic guided vehicles (AGV) are load carriers that travel along the floor of a facility without an onboard operator or driver. Their movement is directed by a combination of software and sensor-based guidance systems. Because they move on a predictable path with precisely controlled acceleration and deceleration, and include automatic obstacle detection bumpers, AGVs provide safe movement of loads. Typical AGV applications include transportation of raw materials, work-in-process, and finished goods in support of manufacturing production lines, and storage/retrieval or other movements in support of picking in warehousing and distribution applications.
There are several types of AGVs. These include:
Typically battery powered, AGV systems consist of multiple vehicles that navigate along pre-defined guide paths. Vehicles navigate in the facility using several guidance technologies including floor-surface mounted magnetic tape or bars, lasers, optical sensors, and magnet/gyroscope based inertial guidance. These guidance technologies make it easy to change the routes and expand the AGV system in response to facility changes for a flexible and scalable material handling solution.
For real-time control and monitoring of multiple AGVs, computer-based software uses wireless connections to collect data about each unit’s current location, then interfaces with software for destination and routing logic. The software directs the vehicles’ travel by wirelessly communicating specific tasks to the AGVs via radio frequency (RF). Instructions include stops, starts, changing speed, lifting, lowering, multi-point turns, reverses, diverging from the guide path, and interfacing with other material handling equipment and systems—both automated and static.
AGVs are used in a variety of areas to support processing and handling throughout a facility:
AGVs provide a variety of benefits:
AGVs provide automated material movement for a variety of industries including: