AGVs are a well-known technology, however, there are some applications in which commercial AGVs cannot provide the required service due to their specificity. For this type of cases there are what are known as tailor-made, ad-hoc AGVs or, in other words, AGVs designed completely on demand.
What is customized AGV and what are they for?
Autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) are a valuable tool in industry, enabling companies to automate their material handling processes and improve efficiency in their operations. An AGV is a driverless vehicle that moves autonomously along a predetermined route, following markings on the ground or using laser- or image-based navigation technology.
In other words, a custom AGV is a vehicle designed specifically to meet a company’s unique needs. This can include custom sizes and shapes to fit a particular workspace, as well as the integration of specialized equipment to handle certain types of cargo. These types of custom-guided autonomous vehicles can also include advanced technology to enhance their navigation capabilities and avoid obstacles in the road.
Why should I think about a customized AGV?
But ,when is a custom AGV going to be used? A custom AGV is used in all those cases where a commercial AGV cannot perform the task you need. It may be due to the type of terrain, for example in a muddy terrain, it is necessary to install special wheels and special steering systems. Another example where it is clear is the need for the AGV to be watertight because it will be in contact with sewage and very aggressive cleaning waters, among others, in which it is necessary to have special housings, watertight circuitry, and other necessary safety elements.
Other cases in which a customized AGV is needed are those in which the AGV needs to have a certain support or even a robot to be able to perform an operation. In such cases, the AGV will have to be specially designed to level the loads and prevent it from tipping over so that the system can work with the required safety at all times, not only during the transport stage, but also during the execution stage. There is also another case where the use of customized AGVs is required, such as in special or hazardous environments. These environments can range from animals, fields where leaves, stones or any dangerous element will be found, in which a commercial AGV could encounter problems to perform the task. This is because a commercial AGV has not been trained with these types of obstacles, which are more rare than those that we can usually find in a logistics factory, which is what they are usually designed for.
Types of custom-designed AGVs
Did you know that there are as many types of ad hoc AGVs as there are specific tasks we can think of? Some of the most well-known groups will be discussed below:
With this type of guided vehicle, vineyard pruning can be performed. They are equipped with an artificial vision system and a robotic arm that is capable of detecting where the pruning cut should be made and allowing the arm to actually execute the cut.
In this case, the typology is very varied. In this type of AGVs there are harvester AGVs, sulphater AGVs, plowers and planters. In addition, within each of them, the typology varies according to the tree or plant to be worked with. Another factor to take into account is the type of soil on which the AGV has to operate. Therefore, in the case of agricultural AGVs, it is practically essential that the AGV is designed and manufactured to measure, only in this way will it be possible to achieve high performance and effectiveness, so that the equipment is really useful.
AGVs of livestock famers
In this type of AGVs you can find vehicles that clean farm sewers. These have to be fully adapted, since the sewer typology of each farm is different in each case. These AGVs must have adapted wheels, as the ground they drive on is changeable. In addition, they will have to withstand the washing and hygienic cleaning that is carried out, have a pressurized water connection and a sufficiently high autonomy, so that the investment of these AGVs is adequate. Other types of livestock AGVs can be found in the form of AGVs that feed the animals, monitor and accompany them, or assist in transport.
They are a type of AGV in high demand. In this case, the use of ad-hoc AGVs is also recommended, since the surface requires cleanliness, working environment and safety, among other things. In addition, they can be very different from plant to plant.
Totally ad-hoc AGVs in which an element that performs an operation is transported within the assembly line. The advantage of this system, compared to having a fixed collaborative robot, lies in the fact that if the cycle time allows it, we can have a single collaborative robot or the type we need, and generate great savings by not having units. This is because the AGV will be the one that will move the operator or collaborative robot between the different workstations where an operation has to be performed.
Benefits and advantages of custom AGVs over commercial AGVs
Custom AGVs can offer a number of benefits compared to commercial AGVs. Some possible benefits include:
- Task-specific: More specific tasks can be performed with custom AGVs, and even actions beyond mere transportation.
- Customized design: They can be designed specifically for the needs of a company and its working environment. This allows for improved efficiency and effectiveness.
- Greater flexibility: They can be easily adapted and modified to suit changes in the company’s needs or working environment.
4. Higher accuracy: Custom AGVs can be designed to operate with higher accuracy than commercial AGVs. Thus allowing to improve the quality and efficiency of the production process.
5. Increased safety: Additional safety features not found on commercial AGVs can be incorporated, improving job safety.
6. Increased durability: Custom AGVs can be built with high quality materials and components allowing for improved durability and reduced long-term maintenance costs.
7. Use in difficult terrain: They can be used in difficult terrain (muddy, sloping, etc.), thanks to the specific design of their wheels, engines and navigation systems.
Steps for the realization of a customized AGV project
The following are the steps to follow in order to carry out a customized AGV project:
- Identify and analyze the needs and requirements of the task to be performed. This includes considering the environment in which the AGV will be deployed, the type of load to be carried, the size and design of the AGV, weather conditions and speed, as well as any other specific requirements.
- Conduct a feasibility analysis to determine if the project is technically, economically and operationally feasible.
- Design the AGV and guidance system. This involves selecting the appropriate motor type and drive system, as well as the design and location of sensors and other components of the AGV. Also, it is important to consider the user interface and ease of use of the AGV.
- Develop and test the software. This involves creating a program that controls the operation of the AGV and allows it to be integrated into the guidance system.
- Perform testing and adjustments. It is important to ensure that the AGV works correctly in different environments and situations, and to make adjustments if necessary.
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