AGVs are computer controlled vehicles programmed to move materials and perform repetitive tasks for manufacturing and distribution. Designed to increase efficiency and productivity, the AGV automates manual tasks, dramatically reducing error and labor costs while speeding production times and/or pick rates. AGV applications are endless as the industry continues to evolve with the development of smaller, affordable carts (AGCs), robots, forklifts and hybrids.
AGVs use laser, wire, GPS, magnetic tape and other methods for guidance. Combined with sophisticated software applications, they can perform a myriad of tasks.
Applications: AGVs are ideal in a large number of applications but excel in operations with the following characteristics-
- Repetitive movement of materials
- Regular delivery of stable loads
- Medium throughput
- Operations with at least two shifts
- Processes where tracking is important
- Processes where on-time delivery is critical
- Operations where fixed path conveyor will interfere with material & operational flow
Types of AGV Vehicles:
- AGVS Towing Vehicles – Towing vehicles were the first type introduced and still commonly used to pull heavy trailers of product or machinery.
- AGVs Unit Load Vehicles – These units are equipped with decks which permit unit load transport and transfer. The decks can be a lift and lower type, powered or non-powered roller, chain or belt decks.
- AGVS Pallet Trucks – Designed to transport and deposit palletized loads on a predetermined path.
- AGVS Forklifts – Forklift AGVs are able to automatically pick up and deliver pallets and other loads. Automated guided vehicles with forks are the most common type of AGVs because they are so versatile.
- Light Load AGVS – These vehicles have capacities in the neighborhood of 500 lbs or less and used to transport small parts, baskets or totes.
- AGVS Assembly Line Vehicles – A variation of the Light Load AGV for assembly processes.