Warehouse automation is an expanding market. Automated Guided Vehicle Systems (AGV) are part of this rapid development. This case describes a technology we developed to meet the wishes of an OEM AGV-manufacturer.
With high costs per m², most logistic centres use high-rise warehouses where forklifts are used to manipulate pallets.
The following challenges arise in this environment:
- Automation to 24/7 operations
- Independent of human intervention
- Optimization of stock places based upon turn-over data
- Obstacle detection – is a location truly available?
- Different pallet types, different state of pallet-quality
- A small deviation over a large height becomes a big deviation, causing errors, i.e. due to tilting pallet forks
We developed an automated pallet detection-system as an add-on feature. The AGV can autonomously detect whether or not a product is in reach and give feedback how to position the forklift correctly.
This makes the lifting and moving of pallets safer.
Another form of feedback is the verification that an assigned empty stock-position is really empty. Although ERP-systems give accurate information, it remains possible that a nearby pallet has a part protruding into the -theoretically- free zone.
Thirdly the AGV detects obstacles on the floor and anticipates on these by slowing down or stopping and call for assistance.