What are Automated Guided Vehicles?

AGV Systems

AGV300 TOW at Toyota

What is an AGV?

An automated guided vehicle (AGV) is a material handling system that travels autonomously without the need for an operator. With AGVs delivering significant efficiency gains, manufacturers across a range of industries are increasingly adopting the technology to mobilise their operations. Across the manufacturing industry, the term AGV has become a buzzword, but what are they and how do automated guided vehicles work?  

With the increasing interest in AGVs and Industry 4.0 technologies, we’ve put together this quick blog to equip you with the knowledge to understand AGV offerings and the benefits they can deliver. 

Different types of AGV and how they work

There are several different types of automated guided vehicles which are typically split by the navigational method they use. The most common offerings can be split into two categories: 

Line follow

AGV Line follow

Set to follow a defined path that can be specified by the operator. Line follow capabilities make sure AGVs follow the same route time after time, even when working in tight spaces or moving loads through areas with minimal clearance.

Barcodes can also be placed on the ground, or other similar identifiable prompts, for the machines to scan for additional programmed information, such as slowing down through a specific area. This makes the environment safer and reduces the risk of damage to high-value loads, the premises, and people.

Natural navigation

AGV natural navigation

The most sophisticated form of AGV, natural navigation machines use sensors and scanning systems to navigate autonomously by detecting and mapping the environment around them to move around obstacles.

The sensors ensure a programmed response to any detected risk and the units will stop until the hazard has been moved away.

8 benefits of AGV systems

Now you understand the differences and types of AGV technology available, the next question you’ve probably got is “What are the benefits of an AGV system?”.

From delivering repeatable movements to increasing safety within congested production environments, AGV systems can provide an array of benefits for industrial manufacturing environments.

  • Improving operational efficiency - icon

    1. AGVs improve efficiency and throughput

    Without the need for an operator, AGV systems dramatically reduce bottlenecks and downtime associated with waiting for licensed drivers or operators.  

  • Manoeuvrability - icon

    2. They deliver consistent movements

    Automated guided vehicles deliver repeatable movements, every time. This delivers safe, precise movements by removing room for human error. 

  • Reduce downtime - icon

    3. They reduce labour time

    Freeing up employees for value-adding tasks help you make better use of your people and address potential labour shortages. 

  • Lower cost - icon

    4. They lower costs

    They deliver a greater return on investment by optimising people resources and facilitating a 24/7 operation.

    AGV systems can also help to reduce accidents and injuries, which can lead to lower insurance premiums and compensation claims.  

  • Improve flexibility - icon

    5. They’re flexible and scalable

    Can be easily switched to a manual operation mode to move any wheeled load within their weight capability. This enables them to carry out a wider range of tasks, delivering a flexible solution that allows you to scale up or down operations as needed.  

  • Staff safety - icon

    6. They’re safe

    AGVs are equipped with collision avoidance sensors and extensive safety systems to keep people, products, and plant equipment safe.  

  • Custom engineering - icon

    7. They’re customisable

    They can be fully customised to fit the specific needs of your processes and operations. 

  • Zero emissions - icon

    8. They’re environmentally friendly

    They are emissions-free and help reduce noise pollution and as they’re 100% electric.  

Interested in discussing an AGV system for your operations?

MasterMover offers a range of AGV solutions that can be tailored to your specific needs. If you’d like to learn more about AGVs and our unique offerings at MasterMover, download our guide today. 

Download your guide to AGVs