Part 4 of 4: Comparing and contrasting the deployment, guidepath changes, and overall cost of Automatic Guided Vehicles
(AGVs) and Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)
In parts 1-3 of the Debunking the Myths of AGVs vs. AMRs series (part 1, part 2, part 3), we looked at the first 9 myths. In this post, we’ll look to dispel 3 final myths.
MYTH 10: AGVs aren’t easily redeployed to another location.
Changing an AGV guidepath is a simple software adjustment that can be made in a matter of minutes. Redeploying AGVs to different locations is equally easy. Software on the AGV is shared, so guidepath or redeployment changes can be made to one machine and replicated to all the AGVs within an entire system. Machines can be operational with the new path or in the new facility map in minutes.
This allows AGVs to be shared among multiple facilities or areas within a facility to alleviate seasonal and other demands.
REALITY: AGVs can be deployed to different facilities with simple software changes, without any assistance from the AGV
MYTH 11: Making a change to an AGV guidepath is a costly, expensive operation.
AMRs also like to tout their ability to adjust a path on-the-fly to swerve around objects. If the AGV or AMR is transporting a tote, warehouse aisles might be wide enough for the machine to adjust its path, but this isn’t typically
the case for transporting pallets.
AGV systems are designed to avoid items blocking travel paths. In the event an item or person does block the path, the AGV slows down as it approaches, and stopping if the path continues to be blocked, When the blockage is removed, the AGV transport continues. Alerts can notify staff if an AGV path is blocked for a certain length of time.
REALITY: Using the AGV software, operation managers can adjust guidepath on the fly.
Today’s AGVs use laser and camera-based navigation, so modifying or changing a guide path is an easy operation. Simple software changes to the fleet management software can allow guidepaths to easily be changed or modified. Changing the guidepath only needs to be done once, and all the machines in the system receive the change.
MYTH 12: AGVs are more costly than AMRs.
AMRs have tried to create the perception of a price advantage, claiming that AMRs are less costly than AGVs to install.
AMRs might use sophisticated camera navigation, but AGVs are able to when the technology is needed. Technology comes at a cost. Depending on the application, AGVs can use laser, camera, magnet or wire-based navigation. AMRs that use all camera-based navigation can actually be a more expensive solution with more technology than you might need for your particular situation.
REALITY: AGV machine costs vary depending on the equipment and complexity of the solution. The focus should be on total cost of ownership.
Manufacturers claim that because AMRs don’t need wires, magnets, beacons or other costly infrastructure modifications, getting started with them is fast and relatively inexpensive. The infrastructure changes needed for an AGV system vary based on the navigation style used. The cost of the overall solution is based more on the complexity of the application than the type of machine. Because an AGV solution can have much more functionality than an AMR solution, it’s no surprise that the AGV would be more expensive. Comparable AGV and AMR systems, with basic functionality, would cost approximately the same.
No matter what technology you use, make sure it is the right technology for your needs. In some applications, an AMR-based system might be the best for you; in others, an AGV-based system is the better choice. Don’t fall victim to thinking that you need the latest technology when what you actually need is the right technology solution.
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