Creform bi-directional AGV “opens the door” to production efficiency

AGV is used to move large body panels in an automotive assembly body shop operation

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Greer, SC—Creform has introduced a custom-designed bi-directional AGV, the CA-B50100  model, which holds body closure panels for an automotive body shop assembly operation. The 20-plus AGVs move welded panels from the body shop to the assembly line. They feature radio link to Creform’s vehicle traffic control system for efficient material flow via vehicle routing. The system replaces forklifts and provides production efficiencies of automation and safe handling.  
The fabricated steel AGV base is constructed for strength and durability with fixtures designed to hold the various sized panels.  Cushioned mounts hold the panels separate from one another to secure and minimize the risk of damage. The AGV runs two shifts per day on a route that features six stops where it sets for a  period of time. The vehicle stops automatically and starts after a period of time unless manually started by attending associate.
The model is bi-directional with bolt-on drive units and provides great flexibility for movement along its approximate 2000 ft. embedded magnetic strip guidepath and can travel in both directions and when necessary, travel laterally or even rotate in place. This is useful for space restrictive areas and to ensure repeatable alignment to consistently load transfers. The dual drive wheels also give this AGV higher load capacity and features a manual engage/disengage to raise/lower drive wheels.  When the drive wheels are raised, AGV can be repositioned by an associate.  The AGV reads floor installed RFID tags for direction and functional control. Each end of an AGV independently follows the guidepath. 
This high level of control reduces the amount of space the AGV requires when routing especially in turns or space restrictive areas. It can travel at speeds up to 50 M/min. and has an estimated towing capacity of 2,222 lb. (1,000 kg). 
The Creform AGV provides for a 50-course programming. The units are PLC-controlled with HMI touchscreen and include I/O monitoring, course programming, error messages and error log. Onboard radio equipment to maintain contact with traffic control system.
The unit incorporates a 24-volt system, powered by two 12V AGM batteries. The opportunity charging system, activated by photocells, minimizes need for the user to manually change batteries. There is an optical communication between AGV and battery charging station. When the vehicle pulls into charging position, it signals its presence, lowers the charging probe to contact the conductor plates embedded in the floor and then turns on the charger for a quick battery boost.
The batteries are automatically charged each time the AGV pulls into the transfer station along the route. No human intervention is necessary.
Safety category 3 features on the AGV includes a safety circuit to cut power, audible warning device, flashing light, E-stops, LED light band along both sides of the AGV and a laser scanner with 16 settable zones.
Creform System is used to create an array of material handling and efficiency enhancing devices and is a proven component in continuous improvement and lean manufacturing programs. The company partners with customers in developing and implementing these programs.
CREFORM Corporation - SC

Keith Soderlund, VP Sales

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