Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!

AGVs: Automation improves process flow

Aiming to reduce manual tasks, company reaps unexpected productivity improvements.
By Josh Bond, Senior Editor
November 01, 2012

A major automotive manufacturer wanted to minimize manual traffic in its aisles through increased automation. After deploying automatic guided carts (AGCs), the customer also improved the overall flow of material movement, optimized order management, and reduced risk of damage— all while minimizing disruptions during implementation with a design platform for future expansion.

The goal was to provide a safe working environment through automation while increasing efficiency and keeping costs low. The company wanted to move its carts of shocks and trim parts within the plant, but without lift trucks. The company selected a series of AGC tuggers (Transbotics, to carry the loads securely and reduce costs.

“Some of the most important benefits of this system have been the reduced walking time and overall reduction in manual tasks,” says the facility’s plant engineer. “Our biggest concern at the outset was the possibility of a collision with a lift truck. Once the drivers became familiar with the carts’ safety features and accustomed to having them around, we’ve had no problems.”

The system consists of one tape-guided jack pin tugger AGC that transports three of the carts throughout the layout. The AGC tows carts with shocks and trim parts from the picking area to the pre-assembly line. There’s a turnaround and a workstation at each end of the guide path.

The system also includes another dedicated AGC to pick up shocks from the unloading docks to the shock picking area. This design provides an expandable platform that meets current and future assembly needs. The AGCs use a magnetic tape navigation technology and controls platforms. 

The result is an expandable, capable system that provides safety and efficiency with minimal disruption during implementation. The low-cost solution enabled the company to keep its retail prices stable and margins higher. The company is now evaluating other areas in its operation where automated solutions might be deployed.

About the Author

Josh Bond
Senior Editor

Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

When DCs, plants, or any industrial facility needs more space, there are two basic options: going "out" by acquiring or building additional facilities, or "going up" by maximizing the cubic volume of existing facilities

PMMI connects end users and suppliers as they adapt to changing consumer demands.

Deployment of automated storage & retrieval (AS/RS) solutions has been delivering impressive improvements in labor or space savings within facilities for decades.

The total number of October shipments at 913,543 was flat compared to September, which was consistent with growth patterns in recent years, with 2014 up 2 percent, 2013 up 3 percent, and 2012 down 1 percent.

The secret to successful distribution center design is planning to make material handling equipment and software flexible and scalable.

© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA