Tugger AGVs

Reduce labor costs with autonomous tugger AGVs

Tugger AGVs are battery powered drive units that are autonomous. They are used to pull carts or trailers forming a train like system. In most cases, Tugger AGVs are used in place of human operators. Most of these actions are highly repetitive, happening either continuously throughout the day or at scheduled intervals.

Interested in tugger AGVs or want to know more?


How tugger AGVs work

Tugger AGVs' are great for repetitive actions, long distances, or in hazardous areas. Because they are autonomous, Tugger AGVs' reduce human labor, improve worker safety due to reduced operated fork lift traffic, and the reduce potential product damage thanks to the unit's precise and controlled movements. Product delivery and timing is also trackable so products are where they should be, when they should be. One added benefit, depending on the navigation type, is the ease of reprogramming. Many times, reprogramming an AGV is much more cost effective than relocating conveyor.

Navigation is achieved with one of or several of the following ways; cable guided, laser guided, embedded item guided, or vision guided. Each way of navigation has its pros and cons. Cable guided systems require a cable to installed beneath the floor. The Tugger AGV senses the cable and follows it to pre-determined locations. This is great for repetitive, consistent pickup and dropoff points. Laser guided units emit a low powered laser beam in a 360 degree sweeping pattern with reflectors placed at strategic locations. The time for the beam to return to the Tugger AGV is how it pin points its location. With some applications, magnets or barcodes are laid out in a grid pattern or along a pre-determined path. This form of navigation is easy to install and reconfigure later on. The newest form of navigation is vision. The Tugger AGV records its surroundings, recognizing key landmarks associated with encoder counts to determine its location. With any of these systems, an advanced controls system plus wireless communication keeps everything operating efficiently, up to 24 hours a day 7 days a week.


Features of tugger AGVs

High-Efficiency Permanent batteries – no routine battery changing is required. While there are some recommended charging maintenance procedures to insure that a ten year operating life on the battery is achieved, most are automatically performed by the system during non-work periods. This ultimately means no battery changing, no special operators for changing or charging batteries, no degassing facility, and no need to handle hazardous fuel for disposal.

These AGVs often employ automatic opportunity battery charging stations throughout the path so vehicles need not be removed from service. Each time the vehicle interfaces a drop off position, opportunity charge connectors can be used to “give the vehicle a drink” before it moves to the next task. In some cases, a special area is setup for the vehicles to use when parking that can also serve as charging positions. In most cases, a 2 minute charge will provide 20-30 minutes of capacity.

Easy and fast installation
– Aside from making sure the path is defined in the CAD programs used to manage the process, and placing the charging receptacles in convenient locations, Bastian offers AGVs which need no additional wiring.

A flexible layout
– While Bastian offers vehicles that use a physical path, laser guided vehicles are typically used if there is the possibility of needing to make path changes at some point in the future. These systems are modified using a CAD based interface to the guidance program. Typically no physical changes to the process are made aside from the placement or relocation of load pickup and delivery points. This capability would, for example, allow the user to disable a specific pathway if needed because of some special construction that may take place in that area. The change would be designed on the CAD station, broadcast to all vehicles, and completed with no direct, “on floor” intervention on the part of the user.

Better space utilization – Most of the AGV products Bastian offers have multi-directional movement including forward, backward, and sideways (90 degrees). Since the vehicles can literally turn on a dime, the large corner radii needed for forklifts or other transport medium is eliminated.

Easy support and service – through the use of an onboard smart controller. This controller continuously updates and records the vehicle’s operational status thus displaying the probably cause of any issue that might occur. The Maintenance Operating Systems offered by Bastian also assist with the automated tracking of usage, and the scheduling of PM service routines per the manufacturer’s recommendations – relieving the shop staff of the need to monitor and schedule these procedures.

Safety – through the use of ultrasonic sensors in addition to acoustic and visual indicators, emergency stop buttons, contact bumpers surrounding the perimeter of the vehicle thus providing optimum safety in your environment.

Two stage obstacle sensors – indicates to the AGV to slow down (stage 1) or stop(stage 2).

Visual operating indicators – display the direction of travel.

Emergency stop buttons – on all four sides of the AGV for safety.

Return on Investment – These vehicles are routinely applied in 24/7 operations where they don’t take vacations, call in sick, ask for raises or benefits, or leave and require a replacement that will go through a learning curve. These any many other savings quickly provide a superior return on investment over more conventional – manual alternatives.


Benefits of using tugger AGVs

Reduce variances found in human delivery operations

Lower lifetime cost of non value added transportation of materials

Ability to transport materials without adding barriers, such as conveyors, into your system


Industries & applications of tugger AGVs


  • Aerospace
  • Apparel
  • Automotive
  • Beauty Products
  • Books and Library Systems
  • Communications
  • Dairy
  • Electronic
  • Food and Beverage
  • Healthcare
  • Household Items
  • Mail Order Fulfillment
  • Office and Computer Equipment
  • Pharmaceuticals and Health Care
  • Refrigerator and Freezer Applications
  • Retail
  • Semiconductors
  • Sporting Goods
  • Textiles
  • Toys
  • Warehouse & Storage Facilities


  • Archive Systems
  • Cross Docking
  • Distribution
  • High Density Storage
  • High Speed Sortation
  • Material Flow and Transport
  • Production and Manufacturing Delivery Systems
  • Production and Manufacturing Support Systems
  • Warehouse Management and Control
  • Work-In-Process Buffers
Interested in tugger AGVs or want to know more?