For companies that operate in warehouses, especially in the manufacturing industry, it is well-known that Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) offer benefits such as unmatched productivity and cost-saving benefits. However, like most innovative technology, implementing AGVs can be a daunting and complicated task. To simplify the process, Jungheinrich has recently developed a tried and tested process that ensures a smooth and successful implementation. Learn more about the 6 steps to prepare for AGVs below.
Step 1: Gather Information
You will need a detailed analysis of your intralogistics requirements, which serves as a foundation for implementing AGVs. Reviewing your transport matrix, we will work with you to establish your required transport volume and assess the condition of your pick-up and drop-off points, also known as sources and destinations. Many other factors are assessed, such as types of loads, loading aid requirements, travel routes, and special considerations.
Once this information is obtained, the next step is to consider the warehouses IT setup. First question to ask is if you are already working with a warehouse management system, whether a wireless network is already in place, and finally which system interface will need to be considered for your specific equipment?
Using this information, Jungheinrich determines which AGVs systems are suitable for your business. This includes a charging concept, type and operating times of the AGVs, and necessary peripheral parameters. Many customers often find they want signal units such as buttons for any conveyor technology as well as the I/O boxes that communicate with external controllers for doors, sensors, etc.
Jungheinrich offers a variety of Automated Guided Vehicle solutions that allows us to recommend the best AGV tailored to your needs. Whether you want your AGVs to be a standalone system or integrated with your warehouse management system, you will benefit from the fast, straightforward integration.
Step 2: Define Your Processes
When you are preparing for a functional specification, you will want to map out the foundation for all processes and scheduling of your project. This is to ensure the smooth application of the AGVS. Depending on how complex the future AGVs system is, it can be useful to factor in a real-time simulation.
Using CAD data of your warehouse, we may consider creating a layout of virtual travel routes. Individual vehicle properties are also considered including visited stations and battery charging processes. This real-time simulation considers borderline situations such as performance peaks or bottlenecks.
Some companies may prefer to commission a real-time simulation from a specialist, allowing you to further assess the deployment of AGVs into your company. This provides vital decision-making basis and offers flexibility when it comes to awarding the contract.
You are now ready to order your automated guided vehicles.
Step 3: Preparation for Implementation
Now that we have chosen and ordered our AGV, setup and installations of software for the AGVs is next. Testing of software will be performed in order to conduct the individual or prepared programming of the master computer and necessary programmable logic controller interfaces. Testing of the function of the I/O boxes will also need to be performed before installation.
During preparation, the signal units and I/O boxes will be installed in your warehouse. Based off our practical experience we recommend the preparation of the environment, such as the electrical wiring, be completed by YOUR inhouse technicians as they are more familiar with conditions. Depending on the environment, fitters may install reflectors for the AGVS laser navigation. Luckily, with Jungheinrich AGVs there is no need for conversion work, another reason to go with Jungheinrich!
Step 4: On-Site Installation and Integration
Your operators and key users will need to receive specialized training to familiarized themselves with the new AGVs. Employees must be familiar with troubleshooting operations, vehicle engagements, and charging, in order to be worked independently.
Since AGVs are generally used in operations with both manual trucks and pedestrians it’s best if your employees get to know their new “colleagues.” A safety briefing is heavily recommended, See our video for the top 5 rules of working with AGVs.
Once delivery is complete, you will want to check the functionality of the AGVs and make necessary fine-tuning by designating a test area for the AVGs. Next you will test whether the AGV follows the optimum routes on the programmed travel paths. Trained technicians should follow the vehicle, record any deviations, and correct them afterwards.
Following successful integration tests of connected conveyor technology, lifts, high-speed doors, etc., your customer-specific documentation will be completed and transferred. Throughout this entire process, attention should be paid closely to safety, which also should be covered separately in a dedicated training course.
Next step is to hand over the operating system to your operators and key users.
Step 5: AGVS Start Operation
Once your AGVs goes live, this begins the start of the commissioning phase and a turning point in the intralogistics process. Throughout this phase, you will likely need start-up assistance to your operators and relevant employees, so it will be critical to have someone available to contact regarding all your questions and issues that you may experience. Luckily, yet another advantage of Jungheinrich is that they will be available to you for all your questions as well as provide start-up assistance to your operators and rectify any problems directly.
During training, your employees may discover the advantages and disadvantages offered by the AGVs, but they may have some concerns about changes to their work environment. Having someone available to them to answer their questions will go a long way in demonstrating the interaction between man and machine, making the day-to-day easier. The commissioning phase concludes when a quality assessment of your automated system is completed.
After this step, everything is implemented and working smoothly, which leads us to step 6.
Step 6: Maintenance and Support
Once things start settling down with your new AGVs, if there are any faults or general questions regarding your system Jungheinrich is just one call away. Your AGVs may be running during non-business hours, so it is CRUCIAL to have support that is available 24/7 and 365 days a year.
Rest assured that by partnering with Jungheinrich, we will provide support round-the-clock with our 24/7 support hotline staffed by AGV experts. We can quickly solve most issues remotely but can also send a local service engineer if need be. Depending on your warehouse, you can choose between multiple levels of product support and maintenance options.
Ready to Get Started?
From step one to step six, Jungheinrich knows what it takes to get AGVs up and running. Our systematic automated guided vehicles process considers YOUR specific needs and provides you with the AGVs solution that maximizes your productivity. As a Jungheinrich dealer, Fallsway Equipment Company has the knowledge, training, and resources to help you throughout the 6 steps to prepare for AGVs.