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CUSTOMISED AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS
TECHNOLOGY FOR AUTOMATION
Since the invention of spinning wheels and steam engines, businesses have wanted more. They have pushed themselves to get faster and more efficient. Luckily, technology has now caught up with our desire to push the boundaries. At Linde, we strive to put efficiency in every warehouse around the world. We do it through automation and determination. This further benefits companies by ensuring every part of the warehouse operations will run consistently and safely. We do it for the inventory and employees that keep everything moving forward.
How is it done? For businesses looking to up their game, we recommend automated guided vehicles. They are ideal for ensuring things stay consistently operating efficiently. This is why so many companies consider us for their automation needs.
What Are AGV forklifts?
An AGV is an Automatic Guided Vehicle. It is a computer-controlled, wheel-based vehicle that can travel where it needs to go. It does not require an onboard operator.
To operate, instead, there will be a combination of sensors and software. These two things guide it over a predictable pathway that is preset by the needs of the warehouse.
To do this, it relies heavily on a controlled acceleration and deceleration. They are also equipped with detection bumpers. This is a feature that also allows them to avoid collisions with obstacles, even those that end up in their path.
They can be loaded, dispatched to the drop point for that inventory, and return without help. They do not tie up employees for the mundane task of riding from one point to another. Instead, operators that would normally be kept on the forklift are free to take care of other tasks. They simply have to wait on the automated vehicle to return, doing other things while they wait.
How Do Driverless Forklifts Work?
One common question is how these machines can operate without human assistance or supervision. The truth is, there are several methods for system guidance. Some of these vehicles may use things like magnetic tape, wired pathways, laser target navigation, gyroscopic navigation, etc. It depends on what type of driverless forklift is being used.
With Linde, our most popular options are vision guidance and geo-guidance. These two options do not require warehouses to change or add anything to their floor plan. The vehicle simply sees what it is around.
The vision guidance system cameras on the equipment will constantly record features along its route. It can then analyze the images that are captured along the route that it must take. Those recordings are the key for it to successfully navigate where it needs to go.
Geoguided AGV forklift can recognise objects to establish a location as they move around. It operates in real-time so that navigation is flawless throughout the entire facility.
Once the type of controls is decided upon, warehouse owners can also choose the type of driverless vehicle they want. For the most part, they will be controlled by differential speed controls. This allows it to take full advantage of two independent drive wheels. It also means that the forklift or picker will function based on their wheels. When moving the wheels travel at the same speed, they will travel forward or backward. When turning, one of the wheels will slow enabling it to turn smoothly.
Another, more popular option, is steered wheel controls, which are similar to other vehicles with a steering wheel. It is more precise and does allow for equipment operators to take the wheel if it is ever necessary. This is the best option if an automated towing vehicle is needed.
Combination steering is also available in some vehicles. What this means is that the equipment will be able to use a steering wheel and differential speeds. These AGVs are perhaps the best for all situations, which means that they can be useful in any setting.
Benefits of Automatic Guided Vehicle
Some warehouse crews are impressed by driverless forklifts. They are very easy to work with, but also provide owners and operators with many other benefits. Some of the top reasons to bring them into a facility include:
Best Automated Forklift Applications
In general, an AGV robot is best used in situations where a forklift would normally be used. They are designed to take the place of forklifts, conveyor systems, manual carts, etc. Anything that requires large amounts of material or products repetitively.
For example, from a loading dock to a warehouse shelving area and from a shelving area to a shipping department. It could also be useful for moving raw materials from one part of the warehouse to another for assembly purposes.
Since automated guided vehicles are available in a variety of sizes and types, their job potential is unending. Mostly what is offered by Linde in Singapore is forklifts, but this does not mean there aren’t other types of equipment available.
The P Matic Electric Autonomous Tow Tractor is designed for moving heavy loads by towing them rather than lifting them. It has a capacity of 5.0 tonnes and uses optical environment recognition. This tractor can go where it needs to go without the use of guides. It also has centrally aligned steering to ensure it will not jackknife when loaded down with heavy inventory and taking turns.
Another option for warehouse settings that may not require a forklift’s lift is the C Matic Turtle Mover. It can safely move up to 1.0 tonnes and is ideal for taking large crates or boxes from one area of the warehouse to another. The great thing about this, as the name implies, is that it carries everything on its back. It can move under a pallet and pick it up or employees can set stuff on the Turtle for transport. Its special ability is being able to get under low areas without the risk of forks damaging the cargo.
How to Choose the Right AGV Robot?
Deciding which driverless forklift is best for the needs of any warehouse or assembly line can be tricky. Before buying, owners are encouraged to ask questions and get answers that make sense to them. Following are some of the important factors that should be considered:
What Will the AGV Be Moving?
Does it need the ability to carry very heavy loads? Some are rated to lift and carry 5.0 tonnes while others can only handle 1.0 tonnes.
If there are no strips or other indicators already in the warehouse for automation, warehouse owners will need to decide if they will add them. If nothing is already there, they may want to choose a robotic that can see landmarks.
Safety is everyone’s primary concern. Inventory should not be put at risk because of the robotics that are transporting it. The more fragile the inventory is, the more it becomes a priority. Owners must also make sure that the operations can be done safely for employees. Will the robot stop if a person or other items are in its direct path? Today’s AGVs are good at safety, but it still never hurts to ask about the details.
Can They Be Expanded?
Some warehouses may need to start with one or two AGVs. As the warehouse or company expands, it may be beneficial to know that other driverless forklifts can be added.
When it comes time to add an automated forklift to a warehouse, there will be questions that need answers. Rest assured that Linde will always be available to provide the information you need.
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