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Welcome to the future of flexible manufacturing.
Following our strategy of constant learning and growth in the automation of the production line end, since the beginning of 2018 we have begun to integrate tailor-made solutions for the transport of loads by automated guided vehicles to cover a need increasingly demanded by our customers.
Automated guided vehicle or AGV have been used for decades in production mega-factories in sectors such as automotive or consumer products of the most recognized brands. Their use is common to handle large loads from one place to another of the line with great reliability. What is not so usual is the integration of this type of vehicle in medium and even small companies.
New tools related to Industry 4.0 have paved the way for the integration of these equipment to be available for small and medium enterprises.
There are different categories of self-guided vehicles depending on the way in which they are guided by the route they must follow and the type of cargo they handle.
You can count on us to choose the type of vehicle, as well as the most appropriate guidance technology:
- Wire-guided or inductive guided vehicles. They use buried guiding wires to define the desired path. Each wire connects to a power supply that oscillates at different frequencies for the different available paths. Two coils on board the vehicle detect the magnetic field generated by the guide wire so that the vehicle’s CPU decides how to drive motors and steering in the most appropriate manner.
Even today, it remains the most accurate technology in high humidity or low temperature environments and for very narrow work areas, but its installation and, above all, its reconfiguration are more expensive than other systems.
- Optical guided vehicles. They are able to follow a line painted on the ground and take different paths by reading digital codes. Its main advantage is the ease of reconfiguration by repainting the floor, but its accuracy is far from other systems.
- Laser guided vehicles or LGV. They are the most popular and flexible solution in open spaces whose environment is constantly changing, and routes must be updated often. The guidance system is composed of multiple reference points (reflective bands) located in the plant.
This makes the laser navigation system easier to install since the routes can be compiled in advance in the office. A laser head located in the vehicle uses a laser emitter to detect any pre-installed reference point.
Using these LGVs, the trajectories can be easily changed and expanded, offering greater flexibility to the plant managers and internal traffic manager.
- Inertia guided vehicles or IGV.The latest generation of IGVs integrates advanced electronics based on odometers and gyroscopes that allow vehicles to work with a reduced path tolerance of 10 mm or less, reaching up to 2 mm.
The magnetic discs placed on the ground mark the routes and the sensors placed on the vehicles read them. This requires drilling the ground creating holes of 12 mm in diameter and 20 mm deep.
It is possible to design complex paths and expand them by installing more magnetic disks. The main advantage of the IGV over AGV and LGV is the flexibility and the reduced cost of reconfiguring the system. Adding magnetic disks may seem intrusive, but the result is less intrusive than a magnetic navigation system and cheaper than a laser navigation system.
- Intelligent autonomous vehicles. AIV or Mobile Robot. The main difference compared to the other systems explained is their ability to alter their pre-programmed path to avoid obstacles. They do not follow buried wires, nor magnets, nor do they reflect the light of a laser against a reflector. They use scanners and artificial vision to create a map of their workplace and generate the most efficient paths. They are usually smaller than other AGVs and share space with people thanks to the sophisticated security features that they include.
Whatever the type of mechanics or guidance system, our integration services include the connection to your enterprise resource planning (ERP) or to your warehouse management system (WMS) and a friendly interface with multidevice access based on our own IoT platform.
In this example of integration, you can see how a small AIV is able to take parts from the warehouse to different points of the production line, collaborating with the rest of the workers.
You can request a customized automation proposal in our email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling +34 94 676 70 50.