Warehousing automation is a key factor in providing consumers with short delivery times and a major focus for companies to place goods as close as possible to major points of sale. Warehouses and Distribution Centers (DC) are implementing many forms or derivatives of automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) to provide high speed and accurate internal picking and presenting of those goods for delivery.
Enter the AGV
Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are being used by every industry from warehousing to healthcare to improve operational workflow and reduce labor costs. They're increasingly becoming an essential part of many automated storage and retrieval systems as well as manufacturing centers.
Given the increasing demands of AGVs for automated factories, companies now require systems that can match the complex technical and logical demands of their operation. With available data analytics and tracking, facility managers can constantly refine their processes to save money and keep better track of inventory.
Modern AGV systems employ dynamic path planning to define concurrent routes for multiple units, ensuring the best overall efficiency and avoiding any collisions.
AGVs come in various forms. Some are attached to rail systems, which are sometimes classified separately as (rail guided vehicles (RGVs). Alternatively, many AGVs use physical indicators on the floor, such as magnets and or wires, to follow a defined path.
Other AGVs are more free-roaming, using cameras and lasers to recognize common obstacles and map their surroundings. These are sometimes known as autonomous mobile robots (AMRs)
Many AGVs require intelligent components that can sync to existing legacy operating systems and complete complex tasks, such as navigating sharp turns, moving at high speeds, and even avoiding obstacles and rerouting. This means that AGVs require a motor and controller able to match these requirements.
The Function of Servo Drives in AGVs & Warehouse Automation
Using common fieldbus protocols along with their high efficiency, servo drives deliver the power, precision, and motion control required of battery operated AGVs and other AS/RS workloads.
Servo drives are essential to many tasks of these automation systems including:
- Driving the wheels of autonomous vehicles
- Steering (for non-rail systems)
- Lifting objects (e.g. the forks on forklifts or the bed on a cart).
- Low voltage, DC-battery operated
- Short Transfer Times
- High current draw
- Network communication with high Baud rate (CANopen®, EtherCAT®)
- Meet FFF (form, fit, and function) design for pre-specified integration
- Servo solutions must be small in size to help reduce overall cart weight
ADVANCED Motion Controls has been manufacturing servo drives for automated guided vehicles and other retrieval systems for decades. To this day, they remain a core part of our business.
Our sales and engineering teams perform as consultant to the customer, providing invaluable servo knowledge and failure analysis, and solutions provided to get a project up and running.
Cost-effective Custom Solutions
We have a long history of making custom servo drive solutions. If any part of a warehouse automation application needs a custom design, we're able to provide one at affordable rates that other suppliers can't match.
Inception to Production
Through close cooperation from the beginning of a project all the way to its final production, we can ensure that a warehouse automation solution lives up to the customer's vision.