Automatic Guided Vehicle Industry Reports Highest Sales in Many Years

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Automatic Guided Vehicle Systems (AGVS) Industry Group of the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) announces that 2011 posted the strongest sales in many years of new, retrofit and expansion automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) and systems.

Last year, AGVS member companies saw dollar sales of $108 million including 925 vehicles and 130 systems sold. Compared to 2007, the last year before the great recession, that’s nearly a 25% increase in sales, more than a 70% increase in number of vehicles and more than a 25% increase in number of systems.

“The combined numbers for 2010 and 2011 are especially strong,” says Sarah Carlson of Jervis B. Webb Company and Chair of AGVS. “Total sales exceeded $200 million for the two years combined. Just as notable were installation of almost 1,700 vehicles and 240 systems in 2010 and 2011 combined. The economy is improving and more companies are looking to add automation to improve productivity and lower operating costs”

Manufacturing operations continue to be the primary end use of AGVS. “In 2011, manufacturing accounted for 75% of all systems,” says Randy Winger, Dematic Corporation and Vice Chair of AGVS. “The remaining 25% is in distribution center operations.

“There is a shift underway as AGVS expand increasingly into distribution centers. In fact, the number of distribution center applications increased 50% since last year and seven times compared to 2007. The flexibility and scalability of AGVs make them an attractive choice for warehouses and distribution centers.”

Navigation today is fairly evenly split between laser guidance and all other guidance systems combined. “There were no installations of wire guided vehicles in 2010 or 2011 which is due to an increased use of new guidance options such as laser, magnetic tape and optical,” Carlson added.

The leading industries for application of AGVS continue to be transportation and food manufacturing, as has been the case for some time. However, in 2011, beverage/ tobacco manufacturing moved into the third spot for industries with the greatest demand for the technology.

"It is clear that based on these numbers that manufacturers of automation solutions, namely AGVs, are seeing a substantial interest in this technology and the many benefits companies can achieve through its use,” says Gary Forger, MHIA's AGVS Industry Group Managing Executive and Senior Vice President of Professional Development. "I believe this can be attributed not only to an increasing acceptance of this technology but also because of its proven efficiency and cost effectiveness.”

The AGVS Industry Group of MHIA was formed in 1979. Members are the Industry’s leading suppliers of automatic guided vehicle systems. They supply systems worldwide and in virtually every major manufacturing and distribution sector. For more information, visit

MHIA is an international trade association that has represented the material handling & logistics industry since 1945. MHIA members include material handling and logistics equipment and systems manufacturers, integrators, consultants, publishers, and third party logistics providers. Member companies come from all areas of material handling and various parts of the world, making MHIA a strong national and international representative for the material handling industry. Much of the work of the industry is done within its product-specific sections, councils and affiliates. The association also sponsors trade events, such as ProMat and MODEX to showcase the products and services of its member companies and to educate industry professionals on the productivity solutions provided through material handling and logistics.

Contact: Carol Miller, Vice President of Marketing & Communications, Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) (704) 676-1190/800-345-1815 /