Automated Guided Vehicles - AGV Systems

Whether your goal is reduced labour costs, higher order throughput, increased accuracy, greater productivity, or all the above, you’ve come to the right place. Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are driverless robots used to transport materials in warehouses, distribution centres (DCs), and manufacturing facilities using designated pickup and delivery routines.

AGVs offer a modern, economical, and safe way for distribution and production operations to scale up throughput with flexible automation instead of adding more labour, physical space, or bulky equipment.

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) transport and store a wide range of products and materials in a variety of industries and operations — factories, warehouses, distribution centres, and shipping areas. AGVs are a safe and secure way to increase process efficiency and improve business profitability.

AGV systems operate autonomously, eliminating human errors that can cause costly damages and mistakes when picking and loading. Individual AGVs are exchangeable, which ensures redundancy in system operation. 

  • Rapid implementation and start-up
  • Significantly lower operating costs than manual alternatives
  • Increased productivity and efficiency
  • Reduced labor requirements
  • Significantly decreased product damage
  • Improved occupational health and safety
  • Enhanced product traceability
  • Better space utilisation
  • Improved dispatch and shipping accuracy
  • AGVs provide a safe and secure way to increase process efficiency and improve business profitability — all without human intervention.
  • AGVs can automatically lift, rotate, and shift loads. They can carry loads to and from racking, and store and retrieve them in block-stack or deep-stack lanes over 10 metres high. They can transport loads over long distances to deliver them to and collect them from a wide range of conveyors and processing machines.
  • As opposed to static transport technologies such as conveyor, AGV systems can be adjusted, extended, or even entirely relocated quickly to make better use of available working space. For example, the path of an existing AGV solution can quickly be expanded into other areas of a facility.
  • AGV systems integrate with higher-level enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, manufacturing execution systems (MESs), and warehouse execution systems (WESs). They can in combination with other materials handling systems like conveyors, stacker cranes, and palletising or packing machines.
  • AGVs create a secure working environment with safety features that eliminate accidental collisions and damage to loads caused by driver error. Dematic AGVs exceed the demands of international safety standards.
  • AGV systems provide a safe and cost-effective alternative to manually transporting sensitive or hazardous products. AGVs are especially suitable for applications in harsh environments, such as cold storage warehouses.
  • AGVs operate safely and effectively with people. When onboard sensors identify people or machinery in their path, the AGV first slows and then stops, depending on the distance to the object.

Dematic AGVs can replace manually operated forklift trucks to manage repetitive materials handling tasks. Able to operate 24/7 with no human intervention, AGVs dramatically streamline product transportation, remove bottlenecks, and introduce a predictable logistics strategy.

Dematic AGVs support many types of movements within the manufacturing warehouse or distribution facility, including:

  • Receiving to warehouse
  • Manufacturing to warehouse
  • Warehouse to manufacturing
  • Work cell to work cell
  • Warehouse to picking
  • Picking to shipping
  • Long-haul transportation
  • Transport in production
  • Storage and retrieval
  • End-of-line transport
  • Trailer loading/unloading

Dematic AGV systems follow configurable paths to optimise storage, picking, and transport functions in a wide variety of environments.

Ideal applications for AGV systems include:

  • Repetitive transport applications
  • Multishift and 24/7 operations
  • Transport to and from automated warehouses, work-in-process (WIP), and production operations
  • High-velocity throughput
  • Complex production flows
  • Operations that have many different buffer locations

Types of AGVs

There are many types of AGVs, designed and equipped for a variety of purposes. With so many choices, it may be difficult to know the best option for your supply chain challenges. So, what are the most common types of AGVs, and which ones are best suited to your environment?

Counterbalance AGVs have counterweights at the rear of the vehicle to eliminate the need for support legs around loads (such as with Straddle AGVs). This allows the lift mast to be integrated at the front, which keeps the AGV clear of the load. Counterbalance AGVs typically replace repetitive manual forklift tasks for all single, double, or quadruple pallet applications.

Counterbalance AGVs are commonly used for transporting materials between production areas and warehouses, repetitive pallet movements, put-away and retrieval from storage locations, and warehouse-wide product transfers. They are best suited for single selective racking, pallet live storage, drive-in rack, and floor block stacking. They are also ideal for empty pallet replenishment and raw materials handling.

Ready to talk about your AGV needs?

The Dematic Difference

Dematic AGV systems bring a quick return on investment to a wide variety of applications. Specific advantages of working with Dematic include:

It is critical to select the right supplier - one that will be a trusted partner throughout the entire process.

As a company that’s led innovation in Supply Chain for more than 200 years, Dematic provides the widest range of solutions and the expertise to build the solution you need for complete control and visibility over your operation. 

Our solutions are tailored to your business challenges. Using standardised sub-systems and industry-leading insight and expertise, Dematic provides world-class integrated hardware, software, and support to help you empower people, optimise space, drive growth and improve efficiency.

With Dematic, you can grow your business to compete locally, retain customer loyalty, and deliver with speed and accuracy on a global scale.

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