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Is Your Warehouse Traffic Resembling a Busy Interstate?

Jake Ethridge | 22 June 2017

Self-driving cars are the future of our roads, but manufacturing and distribution centers have been using autonomous vehicles for years. Are AGVs right for you?

I don’t know about you, but my morning commute seems to be getting longer every month. It makes sense as major companies from around the world are building manufacturing facilities, distributions centers, headquarters, and regional offices here in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. According to the United States Census, Texas gained over 432,000 residents in 2015; leading the nation in numeric population growth. This growth will continue, and each of these individuals will need a car to get where they are going. As I am not a fan of my morning commute, I am excited to see the day when cars can drive themselves, or rather drive me to work while I sip on my cup of coffee and check my emails before I walk into the office. I view the future of autonomous cars in a similar light to how Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) currently help companies with throughput and fork-truck traffic issues.

Automated Guided Vehicles Overview

AGVs use various methods to navigate around your warehouse, such as electrical wires embedded in the floor, vision, or lasers. They communicate with a Warehouse Management System to pick product from a determined location and then deliver it to a drop off point. AGVs are dynamic and can manage their own traffic, either locally by zone control or by software connected with the WMS. These features allow a high volume of product to be handled in a time efficient manner, increasing throughput and increasing delivery accuracy.

Types of AGVs

Just like the vehicles you see on the road, AGVs come in many different styles. They can be built to tug trailers, lift pallets with built on forks, or even just hold heavy products while traveling through an assembly line. There are even AGVs with sections of conveyor on top to interact with your conveyor system, which keeps floor space to a maximum. We can even help you customize them to a point that would make Jay Leno want one in his automobile collection. Whatever your transportation need may be, an AGV can likely fulfill that roll. AGV options include:
  • Vision guided vehicles
  • Wire, RFID and tape guided vehicles
  • Laser guided AGVs
  • Tuggers
  • Automated carts

Common AGV Applications

Automated guided vehicles are used in multiple ways within manufacturing and distribution facilities. Some of the most common AGV applications include transporting loads (pallets, bins, trailers, etc.) to various areas within a facility such as:
  • Assembly areas
  • Product staging
  • Kitting operations
  • Just in time parts delivery
  • Warehouse processes (docking, storage, shipping)
So, if you’re worried about traffic in your warehouse resembling Interstate 635 at 5pm, then maybe utilizing AGVs is the solution for you! With our extensive experience with AVGs, we can help you decide if they are applicable in your facility and which types would suit your needs best.

Author: Jake Ethridge


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