Driverless transport systems: These nimble little powerhouses take over the transport of goods.

Digital, automated and networked? Increased productivity and efficiency in the warehouse? Driverless transport systems ( AGVs) from ek robotics GmbH, for example, make this possible. They are ideally suited to automate internal material transports, both for entry into automation and as a supplement to already automated areas. Automated guided vehicles are increasingly being used in intralogistics. Due to their low space consumption and comparatively simple integration, they are becoming increasingly popular.

But who actually arranges for all the driverless transport vehicles to arrive at the right place at the right time and with the right goods? A solution is offered by the interaction of our warehouse management software SuPCIS-L8 in connection with the AGV control. Due to the available interfaces of the AGV control and our warehouse management system, AGVs from different manufacturers can be integrated. In this way, it is possible to exchange information on pending transport orders in real time, for example, that a load carrier has been picked up or set down. The result: a smooth and efficient automated material flow in the warehouse.

AGVs are already in use at many of our customers. There, they are primarily responsible for transporting pallets from predefined source areas in the distribution center to destination transfer points. A particular challenge when integrating AGVs is the overall synchronization of material flows. The timely start of preceding processes to avoid waiting times of AGVs has to be taken into account as well as the correct sequence of supply. To accomplish this, an overarching control system is essential. This is because, in addition to the AGVs, the employees and the existing automated warehouse technology (e.g. a high-bay warehouse or palletizing robots) also play an important role. Only when all components work together synchronously and precisely in time does the operational logistics process run as smoothly as possible.

They support both the loading of empty pallets for shipping, the disposal after completed palletizing with picking or shipping cartons and the delivery of packed pallets to a pallet wrapper. In addition, they take over processes such as the loading of the outgoing goods with wrapped pallets or the provision of the pallets to be stored that have been recorded in the incoming goods department. In this way, the AGVs keep the material flow moving at all times.

To give you a better idea, let's take a look at a practical example. This involves the provision of a picked pallet to the wrapper at goods issue. First, the AGV receives a transfer order for further processing of the picked pallet. Our warehouse management system now decides whether further follow-up activities are planned in the material flow for this pallet. After picking up the pallet, the AGV moves to the pallet wrapping system, which is equipped with a pallet conveyor element and a label printer. When the pallet is delivered to the conveyor, the AGV signals to the warehouse management system that the pallet has been transferred. At this point, the warehouse management system then in turn transfers an order to the wrapper. The pallet is then conveyed to the wrapping device, wrapped and then provided with a pallet label printed by the warehouse management system. Once the pallet has been wrapped, the AGV control system is informed that this pallet can be picked up. It is then either transferred to the specified tour staging area and loaded or transferred to a manual processing station where employees continue to process the pallet.

The use of automated guided vehicles in conjunction with our warehouse management software is particularly suitable when the walking distances of a transport route are too long for employees. With the introduction of AGVs, employees are optimally supported in their daily work. The increasing demand for manpower and the ever-increasing challenge of recruiting staff can be cushioned by the use of AGVs. The flexibility of the freely navigable automated guided vehicles and the high reliability for the transport of goods in the warehouse are also of particular importance.

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