Associates previously pushed carts filled with components from shipping to storage and back to shipping on a 1,200 foot path
A mobile heavy equipment manufacturer was manually moving heavy spare parts and components from its shipping and receiving area to a parts storage area using aluminum custom carts that were easy to push and manipulate. The carts were also used as picking carts for fulfilling orders. Although the carts were easy to move and manipulate it did require a full time associate for each shift to shuttle them the 1200 foot distance between departments. The company was looking for a way to eliminate the need of tying up an associate for each shift, but when they considered the investment they had in carts, it appeared to be prohibitive.
Creform Corporation, Greer, SC, had been serving this manufacturer for several years, building various material handling structures. When this problem was presented, Creform sales engineers found a solution that would utilize the existing carts with no modification, but eliminate the need to manually move them the long distance.
The answer was a Creform designed and built AGV that follows a magnetic tape guidepath. However, there was still the investment in the aluminum custom-built carts with push-pull handles. In order to utilize these carts Creform built the AGV with a heavy-duty steel frame and a custom hitch that handles the rigors of industrial towing and automatically picks up and deposits the existing carts. The AGV arrives with its towing arm rotated out to one side. After engaging a cart's handle and verifying its hookup, it proceeds down the guidepath while slowly rotating the arm back to tow the cart behind the AGV. Once the AGV arrives at its destination, a powered latch releases the handle of the cart leaving it behind. The AGV then proceeds to the next assignment.
The AGVs upper portion is built using Creform "high visibility" orange pipe and metal joints for easy maintenance and long-term flexibility. Although primarily used as a tugger it features an upper load deck for miscellaneous boxes or supplies. The steel frame end caps are easily removed so the AGV can be raised by a forklift when maintenance is required. A foot pedal raises the unit's spring loaded AGV drive wheels off the floor allowing it to easily be pushed by its handle just like a cart.
The AGV has a single direction drive unit bolted under its frame with an 82 FPM (25M) speed, 1,500lb (680kg) capacity and 24in (600mm) minimum turning radius. It also features a complete safety system including audible warning, flashing light, non-contact obstacle laser scanner and E-stops. Its 24V system is powered by two 12V lead acid batteries. The batteries are carried in battery boxes on a tray and supported by low-friction Creform rollers on the AGV, battery transfer cart and charging station. No battery lifting is required.
Creform offers several options in AGV systems that include several models of undercarriage style AGVs, Traffic Control, RF or infrared communication, RFID tags and opportunity battery charging.
Online at www.creform.com. Creform is a registered trademark of Yazaki Kako Corporation and Creform Corporation
P.O. Box 830