AGV Tuggers Safely Transport 65,000 lbs. of Glass

AGV Tugger Hero

Scott engineers designed a Laser-Guided Tugger vehicle to move cart-trains weighing up to 65,000 pounds of palletized glass for a significant North American food and beverage customer.

Our technicians integrated the AGV system seamlessly into the existing automated process to met multiple project requirements, and upon installation improved the efficiency of runtime and product output. The Laser-Guided Tuggers are programmed to work side by side with automatic train loading machinery and conveyor systems. The AGV system moves each cart, loaded with two glass pallets. On each cart-train are five carts that contain ten glass pallets. These automated guided vehicles (AGVs) carefully move and stop while fully loaded with palletized glass, preventing tower pallets from toppling over.

The Project Brief

The customer required the AGVs to:

  • hitch and unhitch automatically to cart trains
  • move up to 65,000 pounds of glass without product damage
  • follow a complex pathway, picking up and dropping offloaded and unloaded cart trains
  • travel both indoors and outdoors
  • be complete with compatible Traffic Management and Control System that provides wireless communication with the current wireless communication protocol
  • have user-friendly System operation that seamlessly integrates with the existing system
  • supply continuous runtime with minimal downtime for charging

The Solution

The Scott & Transbotics team started with an end-to-end analysis of the customer's facility, structure, layout, and load description. The team was able to narrow down the options, selecting the most appropriate AGV type to use and developing the engineering model of the build. This years’ worth of work included the design and building of the Tugger AGV, programming the layout of the facility and paths for the vehicles, installing safety features, and traffic management solutions.

AGV Tuggers Safely Transport 65,000 lbs of Glass

The AGV system can navigate and transport loads throughout the facility using a combination of sensor technology and programming without a driver. The vehicles coordinate traffic flow with cross/intersecting traffic from AGVs controlled by other computer systems. Each AGV is equipped with preset routes and uses different types of tech to establish how to navigate through them. During the transport process, AGVs transmit information detailing system status, inventory tracking, and system controls to a dispatching system.

The Tugger AGV unit has a maximum speed of 1.5 m/s with no product load and 1.0 m/s with full product load. This maximum speed allowance guarantees minimal product damage and worker safety, especially in high traffic areas. The vehicle provides the flexibility to change systems when product changes are made, eliminating downtime needed for changeovers. This Tugger AGV is also equipped for indoor/outdoor travel. The battery charge process is entirely system-directed and can run with minimal downtime to optimize run time. Each AGV includes a battery meter and a low-battery indicator. Transbotics AGVs can recharge automatically at one of three designated charging stations. The design of these automated guided vehicles was entirely system-directed to ensure optimal performance.

This particular Tugger AGV system delivers the client 10 AGV cycles per hour, utilizing 4 AGV units. Integrating laser-guided vehicles has shown our client the outcome of 100 glass pallets delivered, from point A to B, fully automated per hour. The production line improved cycle runtime to 98% or better with equipment efficiency. Efficiency (%) is the actual number of product run/theoretical number of product run (uptime not including changeovers) x 100. The equipment efficiency is calculated as followed:

TT= Total time containers are available at equipment infeed
MD= Downtime due to equipment fault

Growth & Impact

The production line has seen a decrease in downtime, resulting in equipment running efficiently 98% of each cycle run time. Product is now safely and efficiently transported within the production facility and the Tugger AGV system has no issues operating with the existing automated process.

  • The client has achieved 98% of equipment efficiency showing successful integration
  • The process consistently delivers 10 AGV cycles per hour
  • The production line improves with an increase in carrying-loads by AGVs
  • The production line saw an increase in worker safety
  • The client saw an increase in product output
  • The production line improves performance with a decrease in cycle time