Physics rules existing in transport technology are often a natural obstacle for quite a lot visionary ideas about how to move people, products and tools. As a rule, however, technical development constantly opens up new way for such a visions to be realized. The AGV – Automated Guided Vehicle is a good model of this principle. Logistics in industrial plants using AGV carts are nothing new. The technique used limited the usability due to the weight of the batteries and their charging time. Thanks to technical development, both barriers disappeared and the AGV robots became even more popular.
Automatic transport carts
Automatic transport carts have a good effect on many components in enterprises. Increasing work comfort, increasing efficiency, security, reducing expenses – these are just a few examples. AGV robots guarantee complete service of a warehouse or industrial lines, thus removing unnecessary and expensive downtime. Due to the innovative software, the machine moves individually, which does not need the service of a trained operator, thus saving time and reducing costs. Warehouse carts do not need specific routes. They adapt themselves to the new surrounding, map the area and save it in their memory.
The evolution of AGV carts
AGVs (carts) were first used over 60 years ago. These were devices created on special order by a small group of design and assembly companies in order to do interesting tasks through a small group of manufacturers. Unfortunately, the firsts carts offered extremely limited service and local support. AGV carts were mostly used in production plants or industrial departments to supply parts or batch products to the industrial line or in transport works close to the assembly line. They were also used in the publishing sector for the supply of huge rolls of paper for printing machines.
Transport in an automatic version
The basic assumption of portable means of transport is unmanned collection of the product from a precisely defined place and transfer to a different one. However, the use of electric vehicles is not limited to moving cargo or supplying industrial and assembly lines with the necessary components. Equally often, portable cart are used for stacking products and stacking pallets on large shelves. Self-driving carts, which do not require the presence of an operator, are especially good in workplaces where temperature or microbiological conditions could harm employed forklift operators. The robots are successfully used for handling extremely large elements and in places where it is necessary to transport substances that may pose a threat to human health. They are also used to transport delicate and fragile products (e.g. pallets with articles made of glass or ceramics) and important goods, the loss of which as a result of human error can be extremely expensive.
Support systems – automatic transport carts
AGVs can be equipped with a set of supercapacitors inductively charged on transit routes and/or at stations (Movitrans). In this version, the trucks are equipped with an energy management system that does not need induction loop protection. Travel times using this technique depend on the number of supercapacitors. The modularity of the system ensures its modernization depending on the needs, while the supercapacitor charge time reaches nearly one minute. There is also a chance to support cars through induction loops embedded in the ground on the routes.
Navigating of vehicles that don’t move on the rails and don’t have technical guidance is carried out using cameras tracking professional tape stuck on the route. The tape is very resistant to automatic violations, while changing the route requires sticking the tape in a different place. Antenna guidance on induction loop wires in the ground can be carried out for cars permanently assisted from the system. It should be noted that the possibility of reliable use of automatic self-propelled trolleys does not only apply to the situation where it is about providing protection to people on the routes of these trolleys. In many situations, self-driving AGVs can replace people in places where huge traffic, e.g. forklifts, is a threat.