Being a warehouse or any industrial facility, it is a requirement to have a couple of forklifts to transport and stack materials across a warehouse.
However, owning a forklift also comes with several familiar concerns: What if your forklift breakdowns? What if your forklift causes an accident due to poor handling? What if it fails to reach the materials at the right time at the right place?
That’s why many warehouse facilities are looking for an optimal solution. Here comes in AGV – Automatic Guided Vehicles.
Automated Guided Vehicles are driverless vehicles that are used to move materials. They mimic traditional forklifts, minus the cockpit. Consider it a mobile robot programmed to carry and lift the materials.
So how they can help you?
Given that they are driverless, you do not need to go through the hassle of hiring an efficient driver. AGVs are equipped with certain sensors to avoid hitting the walls or other things. This way, you can minimize your labor needs and costs.
This brief guide will introduce you to the benefits, history, and functioning of AGV.
A Brief History of AGV
The use of AGV dates to the early 1950s when Arthur M Barrett created a driverless tow truck that followed a wire through a warehouse. In 1973, Volvo used AGVs to carry machine parts on the factory floor. Today, AGVs are considered the “fourth industrial revolution” alongside 3-D printing, nanotechnology, and quantum computing. They are likely to replace conventional forklifts and drivers with integrated, smart, safe, and efficient autonomous forklifts that have streamlined operations and improved profitability across several industries.
According to a market analysis report from Grand View Research,
“AGVs are being highly adopted owing to several benefits, such as reduced labor costs, reduced product damage, increased productivity, and scale to support automation processes. These notable advantages are encouraging the transportation and logistics firms to deploy AGVs in order to boost the efficiency of their operations.”
What are the Benefits of AGV
Don’t Need Breaks:
According to one survey, attracting and retaining a qualified workforce is one of the topmost concerns in the material handling industry. AGVs can perform more efficiently than human operators. They never “ask” for overtime or holiday pay, never fall ill or take vacations, and won’t leave you for a higher-paying competitor.
AGVs also reduce damages to machinery, products, and infrastructure. They have sensors to avoid hitting running into things. They can be programmed to handle various materials as gently as required, minimizing damages.
Overall safety is also enhanced as AGVS moves in their guide paths, stays in their marked zones, and has safety sensors. Their paths are well defined and should be highly visible to the warehouse staff. However, even if an accident takes place—such as a person tripping in front of an AGV—the vehicles will either stop or turn to avoid collision. AGVs don’t get distracted or drive while impaired.
While their up-front cost can be huge, they can help you save on labor costs in the long run. Like we said before, they never ask for sick leave or holidays, meaning that your work won’t be affected unlike in the case of having an ill employee. Their overall maintenance costs are lower than traditional forklifts as well.
Debunking Myths Surrounding AGVs
Myth #1: AGVs are not Safe:
AGVs are equipped with warning systems and sensors to identify hazards quickly, as well as the sounds that alert humans to their presence. Robots can do the human job, but only within an environment being run by humans.
Myth #2: AGVs will Up Eat Up Jobs:
AGVs will not replace an entire workforce. It automates repetitive tasks so that your people can focus on more value-added activities. If you have someone in your facility whose job is to move products, but that job prevents the hiring of another person for recording the inventor, you have created a situation that can restrict your company’s growth.
With AGV, it becomes easier to automate your repetitive tasks while improving security. It also contributes towards your business productivity as it helps cut down labor costs associated with recruitment, worker’s unavailability due to illness or injury, and other concerns. What do you think? Let us know by commenting below.