9 Factors in Using AGVs for Your Company Operations
Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) have become an important solution in helping to increase the efficiency in manufacturing and distribution operations.
Therefore, determining the right AGVs for our company operations is very important. Here are 9 factors you can use to select the right AGVs for your company operations.
The weight of your AGV will determine the operational time of your AGV. If AGV is lighter, automatically, it will provide longer operational time and vice versa.
This in turns will result in lighter weight vehicles will require less frequent battery changing, less wear and tear on them, less repairs on the plant floors and many others.
AGVs used to have been designed so that the weight of the vehicle itself is 40-60% of the load. However, with the advancement in technology, this has been changed and lighter AGVs that can handle heavier loads have been introduced.
2. WHEEL STEERING
Combining electronic independent-wheel steering and Ackermann steering geometry completely in the new AGVs allow these vehicles to drive in any direction, tight maneuvering, and smoother cornering.
3. BATTERY PERFORMANCE
Battery options in AGVs are usually separated into lead acid and Lithium chemistries. The most commonly used is still lead acid but lead acid tends to be heavier and thus, reduces the performance of AGV. On the other hand, Lithium ion solution is much lighter and charges faster.
AGVs are usually equipped with navigation system such as laser navigation or inertial navigation.
Laser navigation system is usually based on target triangulation to ensure that the vehicles are on track. While inertial navigation system uses onboard gyroscope to determine changes in direction and altitude. Some AGVs are equipped with both laser and inertial navigations.
5. CONTROL SYSTEMS
Most of the functioning of AGVs are controlled by the central control system in which it hosts all the tasks for AGVs which are in turn connected to the warehouse management system or the company’ ERP.
Most control system uses Windows and SQL database to communicate with the AGVs and providing real-time management of the system’s operation. This in turn helps to provide management information such as load prioritization, status, productivity stats, and reports.
Each position of the AGV I updated continuously into this system and it allows the system to provide simulation to perform this AGV.
In choosing the right control system, it is always important to understand about operational flexibility of the system. Can we add more AGVs in the future?
6. VEHICLE MAINTENANCE
While most of the maintenance of AGV is related to its weight, steering wheel, and other moving parts, most of the new AGV models have been able to cut down the needs to maintain the vehicles more frequently and thus, resulting the maintenance costs to be more affordable.
SImulations through the controlled system is very important in providing successful system development guideline in perfect conditions. Unfortunately, these perfect conditions seldom exist in real-world.
Therefore, other factors need to be factored in such as: human interactions, fleet sizes in terms of volume of products transported, and the distance of a route. Simulations become increasingly important as the AGV systems become bigger.
8. ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
Besides all of the above factors, another important factor that needs to be considered in implement AGVs system is the environment factors such as temperature, humidity, wifi coverage, electromagnetic interference, floors planing and altitude, and many others. These factors might determine the approach in implementing AGV system.
9. AGV BENEFITS
Finally, AGVs will help to increase efficiencies in manufacturing and distribution. These can be achieved by improving the production flow, reducing the work in progress inventory, cutting labor costs, reassigning labor to other areas, and reducing product damage.
Therefore, by implementing AGV system, your company will receive many benefits. If you have any question about AGV system implementation, please do not hesitate to contact us.