How an Automated Guided Vehicle Can Help Your AS/RS System
An AS/RS refers to an automated storage and retrieval system, a warehouse technology that allows workers to automatically transport inventory in and out of storage. Though previously unattainable for many smaller corporations due to financial limitations, the rapid advancement of AS/RS technology has since allowed these systems to become more widely available. As technology continues to advance, new ways to further automate AS/RS systems have arisen. One impactful development is the emergence of automated guided vehicles. To learn about how an automated guided vehicle can help your AS/RS system, continue reading.
What Is an Automated Guided Vehicle?
An automated guided vehicle is a wheel-based portable robot that serves as a load carrier. It can effectively navigate a location without the need of an onboard operator or driver. To do this, the automated guided vehicle uses radio waves, cameras, lasers, magnets, or marked lines or wires on a floor to direct its movement.
In order to operate effectively, automated guided vehicles must rely heavily on wireless communication solutions that allow them to maintain Wi-Fi connectivity while in motion. Such a connection is essential for continuous operation. Examples of wireless communication devices that help facilitate consistent operation include industrial wireless routers, wireless access points, wireless bridges, and wireless repeaters.
Due to the many challenges that warehouse environments pose, including extreme operating temperatures, electromagnetic interference from other equipment in close proximity, and large metal objects which impede line-of-sight clearance, it is essential to choose effective industrial-grade solutions.
Antaira Technologies sells a wide variety of industrial wireless communication devices that provide an ideal solution for automated guided vehicle operation. From industrial wireless access points to industrial wireless routers, our robust devices are designed to provide AGVs with continuous Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing them to operate in even the toughest environments.
Benefits of Automated Guided Vehicles for AS/RS Systems
Automated guided vehicles provide automated storage and retrieval systems with numerous advantages. Below, you will find some of the many ways that an automated guided vehicle can help your AS/RS system.
Modularity and Scalability
Automated guided vehicles are highly advantageous for AS/RS systems due to their modularity and scalability. In comparison to fixed equipment, automated guided vehicles are far easier to scale.
Rather than purchasing a large fixed conveyor or another type of fixed machinery, automatic guided vehicles provide the option to purchase only as many vehicles as you need. Then, as the needs of your warehouse change, you can begin to expand your fleet to include more automated guided vehicles.
Such scalability is beneficial for newer, smaller companies that don’t have the immediate funds to purchase an expensive fixed system right away. While manual vehicles can also be scaled, doing so requires you to hire more people, which can place an additional financial strain on a company and may increase the potential for human error.
Improved Inventory Tracking Accuracy
Accurately tracking inventory is essential for the successful operation of automated storage and retrieval systems. By effectively tracking inventory, you can make more accurate decisions on when to order more materials, thereby avoiding prematurely running out of supplies or wasting money on accidental over-orders.
Automated guided vehicles can help improve inventory tracking accuracy by wirelessly linking to a warehouse control system or management software. Upon connecting to the warehouse system or software, the automated guided vehicles can automatically communicate information regarding inventory levels. In doing so, you will be able to send real-time updates that inform personnel on when to order new inventory or make adjustments. Plus, the need for workers to perform inventory is effectively eliminated, which can save both time and money.
Increased Layout Flexibility
Another way that automated guided vehicles can help your AS/RS system is by increasing the flexibility of a warehouse’s layout design. In comparison to fixed automated machinery such as conveyors or assembly lines, automated guided vehicles greatly improve the freedom and mobility of warehouse design.
Rather than being fixed in one place, automated guided vehicles are mobile and can operate in non-linear formations, which allows them to better optimize a space. Their routes can also be temporarily adjusted to suit the needs of specific situations.
For example, if you need to alter the path of an automated guided vehicle to accommodate product customizations or additional operations, you can easily reprogram the vehicle to follow a new pathway or relocate it to another area of the warehouse. For fixed automated equipment, such layout flexibility is not an option.
The layout flexibility of automated guided vehicles isn’t just advantageous from a convenience and scalability standpoint—it can also greatly improve the safety of a warehouse. While large fixed equipment can block exits and escape routes, automated guided vehicles allow the working area to remain open, effectively reducing floor traffic to allow for clear pathways.
Easier and Less Expensive Implementation Than Fixed Automation Systems
When compared to fixed automation systems, automated guided vehicles are generally far easier and less expensive to implement. Installing fixed automated systems costs a substantial amount of money and often takes up a considerable amount of time. During that time, you may need to halt warehouse operations and productivity. Such downtime can be detrimental to businesses and may cause a significant negative impact on their bottom line.
Automated guided vehicles, however, can be implemented immediately, without the need to halt operations or complete expensive installation procedures. All you have to do is bring them into the warehouse and program their routes. Such easy and undisrupted implementation is highly beneficial for all warehouses, especially those that experience consistent growth.
Antaira Technologies’ Wireless Solutions for Automated Guided Vehicles
If you are interested in implementing automated guided vehicles and enjoying the many benefits that they can offer your AS/RS systems, you should invest in robust wireless communications solutions. As previously stated, automated guided vehicles require industrial-grade wireless communication equipment to operate effectively. This allows them to maintain continuous operation in harsh environments where they are subjected to extreme temperatures and high levels of electromagnetic interference.
Fortunately, Antaira Technologies offers a wide range of wireless industrial communication solutions to ensure continuous operation and connection for automated guided vehicles. Our products include industrial wireless access points, wireless routers, wireless bridges, and wireless repeaters. To learn more about our products for automated guided vehicles, contact us today.