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, Associate 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, transbotics.com) 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

image
Josh Bond
Associate Editor

Josh Bond is an associate editor to Modern. Josh was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and contributing editor, has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce.


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

The index ISM uses to measure non-manufacturing growth—known as the NMI—was 57.8 in April which was 1.3 percent above March and also 0.5 percent above the 12-month average of 57.3. Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector has grown for the last 63 months, according to ISM.

Forget cost cutting. Innovation and sustainability are the most important factors in business today. The companies that get it right can still win in a flat economy, says ISM CEO Tom Derry.

Pregis is partnering with four institutions (Cal Poly State University, Clemson University, University of Wisconsin, Stout and Michigan State University) with packaging curriculums.

The award recognizes companies that have developed, supported, or implemented measurable and innovative reusable solutions in a business-to-business supply chain.

A mixed bag may be the most appropriate way to characterize the current state of manufacturing based on the most recent edition of the April edition of the Manufacturing Report on Business issued by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) today.



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