Vehicle manufacturer triples storage with automatic guided vehicles

Casebook 2012: Vehicle manufacturer uses automation to turn line-side storage into on-demand parts delivery.

By ·

When a vehicle manufacturer was assembling just one vehicle type in its facility, it had plenty of space for a FIFO (first-in, first-out) line-side parts storage system. But when the company considered expanding the assembly line from one vehicle type to three, it faced cramped floor space, extreme complexity in the assembler’s job, and increased travel distance between parts and the assembly task. The company found that a custom-engineered automatic guided vehicle (AGV) fleet could replace the line-side storage system with an automated parts sequencing operation for just-in-time parts retrieval.

Now, 19 customized and color-coded AGV carts deliver parts along paths marked by adhesive-backed magnetic tape. High-traffic areas use an embedded guide-path magnetic strip.  Pieces of tape, aligned in specific patterns along the route, initiate various AGV functions such as turns, stops and speed changes.

The AGV drives operate on a 24-volt system with two 12-volt lead acid batteries, have a 1500-pound weight capacity, travel at a maximum speed of 82 fpm, and have a 24-inch turning radius. Safety equipment includes an audible warning device, flashing light, non-contact obstacle sensor, safety bumper and e-stops resulting in a safety category “B” rating.

The AGV carts have a deck for totes or boxes when required and hitches for towing trains of sequenced kitting carts. When necessary, the AGV carts have a convenient handle for manually moving them by raising the spring-loaded drive off the floor with a foot release pedal.

The batteries nest in battery boxes on a tray supported by rollers on the AGV cart, battery transfer cart, and battery charging station.  The batteries are simply rolled off the AGV cart on to the battery transfer cart and then on to the charging station.  Each vehicle has three sets of batteries for 24/7 operation.

In addition to increasing worker comfort and productivity, the new system ensures parts are always available for assembly and available space is used as efficiently as possible.

Creform Corporation
800-839-8823
http://www.creform.com

More Fixed Path Coverage

More from Modern’s 2012 Casebook


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!

Latest Whitepaper
Sorting Out Your Sortation Options
Guiding you through the process of evaluating and selecting the right “mission-critical” sortation solution
Download Today!
From the April 2017 Issue
How does a fastgrowing, e-commerce startup company build out order fulfillment capabilities? Thrive Market answered that question with its new facility in Indiana.
2017 Warehouse/DC Equipment Survey: Investment up as service pressures rise
Putaway 101: Everything in its Place
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
ProMat closes: Make your plans for Modex 2018
With a record number of exhibitors and attendees seen at ProMat 2017, MHI anticipates more of the...
Keynote: Magic is the result of over-preparation and over-delivering to customers
During his keynote presentation Wednesday afternoon, Earvin “Magic” Johnson told a packed...

Keynote panel confirms digital supply chain shift seen in new MHI study
Wednesday’s keynote panelists agreed it is time to embrace the shift to digital supply chains seen...
MHI to honor original products, solutions with 5th-annual Innovation Awards
On Wednesday, during MHI Industry Night with Dana Carvey, the winners of the 5th-annual MHI...