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A Guide to Robotic Logistics

Supplier: Elettric80
04 September, 2009

LGVs (AGVs), Warehouse Automation, Automatic Storage, Palletisers and Warehouse Management Systems

The History of AGV & LGV

The first Automatic Guided Vehicle, AGV was brought to market in the 1950s, at the time it was simply a tow truck that followed a wire in the floor instead of a rail.

Over the years the technology has become more sophisticated and today automated vehicles are mainly Laser navigated e.g. LGV (Laser Guided Vehicle).

In an automated process, LGVs are programmed to communicate with other robots to ensure product is moved smoothly through the warehouse, whether it is being stored for future use or sent directly to shipping areas.

Today, the LGV plays an important role in the design of new factories and warehouses, safely moving goods to their rightful destinations.

Solution Considerations

When designing an automated end-of-line system it is essential to understand your production requirements and the flow of product within the warehouse.

How much product are you storing? What volumes are you handling? Are you affected by industry cycles? What is the capacity of your warehouse facility?

Secondly, you need to think about the future. What changes do you foresee in your process? Will legislation have an impact? Are volumes set to increase/decrease? How is the product evolving? Where are the production bottlenecks?

And last but not least, what other processes, outside the automation project, will be affected by this change?

Warehouse Management System (WMS)

A WMS is the brain of the automation system. It keeps track of the overall performance of the system and if so required the inventory and data tracking of goods. This system is often connected to the factories existing computer system.

A WMS is usually designed to identify product location, quantity, size, and order information to determine where to stock, where to pick, and in what sequence to perform these operations. In effect, it monitors and guides the complete end-of-line automation process.

LGVs / AGVs / SGVs

A LGV physically moves the goods and acts as the link between the different machines within the warehouse environment. The vehicle combines many different systems to ensure reliability and efficiency, including Energy, Safety, Fork/load handling and Guidance and Control systems.

LGV is also known as Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV), Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGV) or Self Guided Vehicles (SGV). In Germany the technology is also called Fahrerlosen Transportsystemen(FTS) and in Sweden förarlösa truckar.

Robot Palletising System

The robot palletisers are flexible robot applications that pick the goods from the production line and palletise them.

With its flexible definition software, the robot can be programmed to change to different palletising patterns and add slip-sheets, cartons or trays to the product while it is being prepared for shipment.

In Elettric 80’s case, FANUC technology is deployed to provide a reliable and durable solution for all industrial requirements.

Wrapping Machines

A specialized robot application that wraps the finished pallet with plastic film.

The revolutionary concept of SILKWORM Wrapping Machine and the use of software applications during the wrapping process has simplified the end-of-line process.

Compared to alternatives in the marketplace, SILKWORM has a higher output and offers greater film efficiencies in the production process by utilizing a 1 metre high film roll.

Most other systems tend to use 500mm rolls, meaning that the machine has to undertake twice the amount of rotations to effectively wrap a pallet.

In addition, the over-sized film width ensures a high level of adhesion during application and therefore provides greater stability for the pallet throughout the logistics chain.

In effect, SILKWORM delivers significant customer benefit in providing superior wrapping quality and improved product stability, while also reducing film consumption. The technology is appropriate for a company that requires a combination of packaging quality, packaging flexibility and simplicity of operation.

Pallet Control System

When automating a production flow the quality of the pallets on which the products are transported are important. A bad pallet can stop the process or damage both the product and the production machine, not to mention the health and safety issues that can arise due to a pallet collapsing.

The Woodpecker pallet control system is a mechanical system that checks and repairs the pallets and identifies pallets which do not meet the required tolerance levels needed to be part of the production process.