JBT offers its Automatic Guided Vehicle (AGV) range to help companies save labor for higher value tasks and increase social distancing.
The AGVs have an advanced navigation system that creates a virtual map of the surroundings in which it operates, allowing it to safety move around the working area.
The systems have 2D and 3D cameras for safe positioning and vertical stacking of pallets above the level of the AGV.
The vehicles would be used to move raw materials or finished goods to warehousing and distribution.
“In the past, AGVs were more of a horizontal transport solution and now they are getting much more vertical where we are storing in warehouses, in some cases quite high,” says Mark Longacre, application engineering manager for JBT’s AGV division.
“It’s not to say that those manufacturing applications have gone away. They really haven’t, but now we are also seeing this growth in the warehousing side.”
As demand for different applications has grown, so has the advancement on what Longacre describes as natural environment navigation, where the AGVs create a baseline map by sensing the features and contours of the surrounding environment.
“As the AGVs operate, they compare what they see with their sensors to that baseline map, and accurately navigate in that environment,” explains Longacre.
“By recognizing the natural environment and not adding special navigation aids or markers , it makes installation quicker and less costly.”
“I don’t think [companies] are going to abandon the financial models, but I think they are going to weigh things a little differently,” he adds
“You want to save labor for the highest value added task and driving forklifts is not something where you have to use labor.”