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Precise AGV Navigation for Robotic Interface

Featured Product from Savant Automation, Inc.

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Here’s our tall-profile AGV with a unique load handling attachment designed to move special racks with molded parts between robotic cells. The AGV is our standard chassis with only the bolt-on load handling attachment/appliance at the rear of the chassis being unique to each customer depending on their load handling requirements.

Here the attachment is a special hook arm with a ‘capture & lock’ mechanism on the end that picks or deposits a hanging rack of molds at each automated robot station. Part of the AGV load attachment is the forklift-like mast that allows the hook arm to service mold ‘trees’ at different heights at each station.

The operation requires extreme AGV positioning accuracy to maintain the ‘robot to robot’ tolerances of the multi-step manufacturing process. Savant’s ‘Virtual Path’ AGV navigation enables the multiple AGVs to reliably perform the necessary positioning with no tolerance buildup between moves.

You can’t do these automated vehicle systems with AMR type technology. AMR (Lidar-laser and/or Vision-camera based) navigation requires walls be scanned (mapped) for use as navigation references. If the AMR can’t see those mapped references reliably (because they are randomly blocked by other objects), the AMR navigation accuracy rapidly deteriorates and it can’t align with automatic load transfer stations or worse, it will have to stop. That can’t happen with a Savant AGV because our references (a tiny magnet placed flush in the floor) can’t be blocked or fail so ‘reference vulnerability’ is not an issue like it is for natural feature (line-of-sight, wall reference dependent navigation) AMRs.

A robust ‘system’ is not just about robust ‘vehicles’… it’s also about robust ‘technology’. Technology ‘robustness’ is critical to attain a high level of system dependability/capability/flexibility/people & environment tolerance/ease of change/serviceability, etc. Suppliers have different designs for the interrelated technology functions for navigation, traffic & routing control, system configuration, and system management. Some better than others but all directly impact the robustness of a system.

Technology is “what you don’t appreciate until it bites you in the butt and negatively impacts your day-to-day operations (i.e. output & costs)”. That why an AGV technology-based solutions broadly work in factories and warehouses and AMRs have a long way to go.