The New Automatic Guided Vehicle Hits the Manufacturing Floor
Not all AGVs – otherwise known as AGCs – are created equal. Handling Specialty’s customized automatic guided vehicle was designed, built and tested at their facilities for a truck-body builder who required specific application details and safety options, which Handling Specialty delivered.
Flexibility to alter the assembly floor is a new advancement in automated guided vehicles where in the past, they were permanently tied to a physical track within the facility. Now, with smart tape – a series of QR codes which are printed and laid in any formation – the unit uses laser guidance, moving along the pre-determined path set by the tape. This tape can be pulled up with little cost and re-positioned should the needs of the facility’s assembly line change. Compared to the costs associated with pulling up a track embedded into the concrete floor, Handling Specialty’s technologically superior AGV is a clear choice.
Safety features include an emergency stop strip along both sides of the unit which can be activated by kicking the rubber. This is a convenient placement as the AGC travels through the assembly line while workers weld and assemble the truck bodies, leaving their feet free to strike the band if the need arises.
Flashing yellow lights indicate which direction the AGC is moving. With four potential directions and speeds (at times) infinitesimally slow, it can be difficult to know whether the unit is moving at all without the flashing lights. Speeds are built into the tape QR codes as well and are customizable for any assembly application.
Another feature included to aid in workplace safety was the addition of a motion sensor at the front of the AGV, which halts the unit upon detection of anyone or anything moving in front of its path.
The unit can also be manually guided when the situation presents itself, i.e. positioning the unit or removing it from the assembly line for maintenance and charging its eight TPPL, 48 VDC voltage batteries. By plugging in a hand-operated control and turning a key, the laser is disabled, and the operator has full control over the AGV’s movements. A series of lights on the side of the AGV alerts the operator when they have control.
The programming of the unit was developed to read each QR code on the smart tape, altering speed, direction and functionality. A simple yet advanced system of airbags and wheels at the center of the unit allows it to lift and spin 360 degrees when required. This particular AGV includes a Brushless DC servo motor to keep maintenance costs down and has the capacity to hold 12,000 lbs.
Handling Specialty has developed a truly unique take on the traditional Automated Guided Cart/AGC and placed itself firmly in the future, where technology continues to assist the assembly line in efficiency, ergonomics and safety.
Twenty units were ordered to revitalize the manufacturing floor of an automotive assembly plant.