Updated: Aug 25
Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) represent the cutting edge of efficiency for warehouses, factories, and third-party logistics companies. AGVs are task-specific robots that allow for repetitive transportation jobs to be done automatically in a safe and consistent manner.
America In Motion (AIM) Robotics has developed the eBot series of mobile robots -- an all-in-one solution enabling you to create your own customized AGV - or a fleet of AGVs - tailored to your needs.
Do you require a robotic pallet mover that can handle 5,000 pounds? No problem. Looking for a more specialized AGV that can transport industrial-sized drums? Easy - configure your custom mobile robot with a front-end load clamping device that will do the job.
The payload size, front-end load gripper, and battery options are all completely customizable. And so is the system manager that controls your robots - from a relatively simple point-to-point system to a highly sophisticated, event-driven Warehouse Execution System (WES) solution that can manage the traffic of an entire fleet of AGVs.
New Buying Process Enables the Buyer to Be Self-Sufficient
E-commerce has dramatically changed people’s buying habits and expectations. In the past, a sales representative was the only source of information available to a prospective buyer when purchasing from a company.
Now, with the omnipresence of the internet, studies show that interested buyers have already completed 80% or more of their research before they ever contact a salesperson. In fact, today, many people prefer a buying process that allows them to be mostly or even entirely self-guided. Of course, it’s also true that some prefer to speak with a representative who can answer their questions - and AIM is more than happy to do so!
Get a Quote or Price Estimate On Your Own Terms - On Demand
When it comes to Automated Guided Vehicles, it’s challenging to obtain a quote or even get a price estimate of any kind without going through a sales representative. At America In Motion, we believe you should have choices, and information should be easily accessible online. So, we created the modular eBot series of AGVs that allows you to configure vehicles according to your needs and instantly obtain a price quote for your system.
Of course, speaking with a salesperson who can offer experience and advice can be very helpful - and may be necessary, depending on your requirements. So, AIM provides that option, too! You have the flexibility to decide how to navigate your automation journey.
What Are the Choices That Need to be Made?
Purchasing an eBot AGV from AIM involves making decisions in three major areas. Here is an outline summarizing these selections.
Configuring the Automated Guided Vehicle itself
eCarrier - the front end of the AGV - how it picks up its load
ePower - choose the batteries for your application
eDriver - this determines the weight handling capacity of the AGV
The System Manager
eLocation - deciding where the pick-up and drop-off locations within your facility are - and the distance between them
eRoadway - Determining the pathways you want your AGV(s) to travel
eBot fleet - Figuring out how many AGVs you’ll need to achieve your desired throughput
eDispatch - How will the AGV(s) be deployed? A variety of options are available
Data Tracking - While this step is optional, there are many benefits to tracking your products as they make their way through your facility.
eProduct - Enables you to track products from the pickup to the dropoff location while it's onboard the AGV
eStorage - Provides tracking information about products that are stored in a buffer zone or other storage space.
eInspect - Allows you to perform an inspection of the products. The result of the quality control check will determine what subsequent route the product will take - on to the next stage, or diverted into an area for rework.
Now that we have the overview, let’s examine these choices more thoroughly.
Step 1: Configuring the AGV
Step 1a: The Front End - eCarrier - How the eBot Picks Up Its Load
You need to consider the variety of possible loads your AGV will carry. You have many possibilities from which to choose. Here is a summary of the options.
Best for pallets and totes with fork pockets. Ideal for picking and placing products vertically.
Designed to carry cargo that doesn’t fit well on a pallet, like drums, large products, or odd load sizes.
Great for applications where a conveyor deck works, but the workflow requires different heights.
Ideal for transferring products to and from production conveyors. Can carry one or two loads at a time.
Well-suited for large loads that need to be moved relatively long distances.
America In Motion can create a custom carrier for you, specific to the products being moved in your facility.
Step 1b: The Power Module - ePower - Choosing the Battery and Charging Type
Battery - Lithium Ion or AGM
The two main battery options are lithium-ion and AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat). AGM batteries have a shorter life but cost less. Lithium-ion batteries, on the other hand, cost more and can operate for a longer time between charges.
The quick-charge option is recommended, but a standard charging rate alternative is available. For each type of battery, you can choose automatic charging, which means the robot charges as needed by itself. The alternative is to manually plug the robot in when a charge is needed.
Step 1c: Choosing the Payload Capacity of the AGV - eDriver
The third and final choice you must make regarding the AGV itself is the maximum amount of weight the mobile robot can safely transport. Most commonly, applications require a payload capacity between 500 and 20,000 lbs. However, America in Motion can design and build a vehicle of almost any size. We have built systems with a 250,000-pound payload capacity.
Step 2: The System Manager - Software and Traffic
The next stage in designing your custom AGV implementation is determining the scope and sophistication of the System Manager software that will oversee your automation solution. Do you need a simple system with one or two mobile robots? Or do your needs add up to a requirement for a fleet of AGVs controlled by an automated traffic manager?
America in Motion can provide you with a system that fits your needs, from the simplest to the most complex.
Let’s consider the choices.
Step 2a: Choose the Pickup and Dropoff Locations - eLocation
You’ll want to have a schematic layout of your facility. At the beginning of your automation journey, a simple diagram will probably be good enough.
Lay out the pickup and drop-off locations - as many as you need.
Step 2b: Consider the Routes - eRoadway
At this stage, you’ll want to get at least a rough idea of the mobile robots' paths and the distances involved. This data is crucial in helping to determine how many vehicles you’ll need.
Step 2c: How Many AGVs Are Required? - eBot Fleet
By combining the distances between your eLocations with the number of loads that need to be moved per hour or per day, you can determine how many mobile robots you’ll require. AIM provides a worksheet that helps you make the needed calculations.
Step 2d: How Will the AGVs Be Deployed? - eDispatch
Automated Guided Vehicles can be managed in a variety of ways. The simplest system has one AGV that goes between two locations. In such a point-to-point type solution, when a mobile robot is needed to pick up a load, an operator merely pushes a button to summon the AGV and perhaps another button to send it on its way.
More sophisticated systems can be based on the output from sensors that signal when products are ready to be transported. Such sensor output can be combined with data from existing equipment and sent to the system management software for more complex decision-making.
At the high end, a complete Warehouse Execution System (WES) can manage the traffic of an entire fleet of AGVs based on a comprehensive set of criteria, while computer displays provide a real-time, visual overview of the automation system. Touchscreen monitors can enable system supervisors to intervene and fine-tune the process.
America In Motion has experience in providing system management software that can provide all these features, with options ranging from small to very large ones.
Many warehouses already have a Warehouse Management System (WMS), and AIM can interface with such systems to provide highly automated movement of materials from one end of the facility to the other.
Step 3: Data Tracking
Modern automation technology allows you to track the position and status of all of the products that are being transported by the Automated Guided Vehicle system.
Step 3a: eProduct
The first type of data logging tracks products during a mission (eProduct). The robotic transportation system constantly records and stores information regarding your product anytime it moves within your facility, creating a report that can be viewed on demand.
Step 3b: eStorage
The next type of information that can be gathered is product data that is stored for inventory or in buffer areas (eStorage). This type of tracking is useful for facilities that contain many loads that are not onboard an AGV, but instead are stored, waiting to be moved later.
Step 3c: eInspect
Lastly, there is an option for checking products. This feature allows you the ability to add ‘check points’ within your facility to ensure loads are proper. Weights and dimensions can be checked for errors. If a load fails a test, it is sent to a rework destination. All inspection information is made available to the system operators.
Ready to Get Started?
Click here to begin configuring your eBot. Our unique “Build and Price” page will guide you throughout the entire process.
Most users find they achieve a return on investment (ROI) within one to two years, although sometimes it’s much faster. Aside from reducing the labor content of product transport, other benefits include minimizing accidents and product damage, each of which can be more expensive than many companies realize.