Industries from automotive to pharmaceuticals share the goal of increasing workflow efficiency on factory floors and in distribution centers. Many are turning to industrial automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to better their intralogistics. With the help of sensor technology from specialists like Pepperl+Fuchs, AGV systems benefit manufacturers in the following ways:1. Reduce Manufacturing Overhead Costs
In 2017, the annual total compensation for a US manufacturing worker was over $84,000—that is more than $27 per hour, not including benefits. After providing health benefits and paid time off, not to mention the costs that go into maintaining the workplace itself, companies spend well above $84,000 a year on each employee.
While the upfront cost of a single AGV starts at $70,000, this sum is a one-time investment. Instead of paying multiple employees upwards of $80,000 a year, switching to an AGV system enables a company to run lean, save money, and operate efficiently for up to 20 years.
2. Eliminate Man-Made MishapsMistakes on the factory floor can cost a company millions of dollars. According to a GE digital survey, human error is common in manufacturing and is the greatest contributor to unplanned downtime in the industry.
Mistakes tend to happen when workers become fatigued or distracted, but a company that uses AGVs can eliminate these kinds of expensive accidents completely. With 24/7 operability and high production output, AGV systems ensure worker safety while maximizing production.
3. Enhance SafetyOSHA considers forklifts, motorized hand trucks, and other powered industrial trucks a top safety hazard for manufacturing workers. These vehicles require operating personnel, do not have monitored top speeds, and are not typically equipped with sensors, alarms, lasers, or cameras.
AGVs, on the other hand, improve workplace safety. They do not require operating personnel, have monitored top speeds, and can be fully equipped with the aforementioned safety features to prevent accidents during material transport. AGVs also reduce the need for humans to expose themselves to extreme temperatures, hazardous substances, and heavy lifting.
4. Increase Production
AGVs can operate around the clock without a break. Not only are they more dependable, but they make fewer errors and, when equipped with Pepperl+Fuchs’ position guided vision (PGV), are capable of transporting products around a distribution center at up to 17 mph nonstop. Easily modifiable and scalable, they can be adapted to multiple applications—companies can use them as carts, tows, lift decks, and conveyors, and as forked, hybrid, and customized vehicles.
AGVs also streamline inventory. When connected to a warehouse management system, an AGV can track inventory with more accuracy. Companies do not have to waste time on manual inventory tracking and can eliminate expensive errors and ensure timely delivery.
The AGV industry is projected to grow to $7.3 billion by 2025 and the benefits AGVs provide manufacturers explains why the manufacturing industry is using them. The continued success of this high-demand market relies heavily on the efficiency of sensor technology, which is where Pepperl+Fuchs comes in. Our innovative absolute positioning systems like the “safePGV” (SIL3 / PL e absolute positioning system), the world’s first data matrix-based position tracking and control system, is just one of many sensors instrumental in the continued efficacy of AGVs.