The system can handle up to 2,500 pounds and travel more than 300 feet per minute, improving material delivery.
By MMH Staff
October 09, 2017
Hoping to introduce automation into its facility without overextending its budget (well below the $1 million mark), a leading provider of private label foods sought to answer one vital question: What’s the first point of entry into automation? The manufacturer started with a three-vehicle automatic guided vehicle (AGV) system.
Covering a distance of more than 500 feet on a daily basis, the three-vehicle AGV system provides material movement of palletized finished goods to three strechwrappers and three floor storage locations. During the system’s 24-hour, five-day operation, the AGVs communicate directly with each other, move 50 loads each hour and maximize productivity. The vehicle-to-vehicle communication eliminates the need for any top-level AGV software and simplifies the system, thus lowering the total cost of ownership. However, the three AGVs are not limited by this setup—they can also be incorporated into a larger, fully hosted system if the need arises.
Equipped with dual forks to support side-by-side load carrying, the AGVs themselves handle up to 2,500 pounds. They also achieve maximum speeds of 300 feet per minute to provide timely delivery of materials and ensure the safety of plant workers.
Even with a full load, the AGVs travel with an accuracy of 0.25-inch with the help of onboard, precision-laser guidance. Conveyor PLCs communicate with the AGV I/O to initiate orders, as AGVs are then dispatched to transport the 66-inch high palletized loads from one of the stretchwrappers to a floor storage location.
The food provider’s system ultimately had faster payback than traditional AGV systems of similar sizes. And, the facility has seen improved efficiency and increased safety.