VIDEO: Intelligent AGVs Deliver in Dynamic Manufacturing Environments

OMRON's Enterprise Manager 1100 server allows control of multiple automated guided vehicles.

Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are becoming increasingly popular in manufacturing these days, as having autonomously moving vehicles throughout a facility offers significant advantages in terms of  efficiency and cost reduction.

In the video above, we take a look at how AGVs can maneuver through a facility and dynamically avoid people using advanced vision and mapping technologies, as well as how AGV technology is advancing.

Parker Conroy, global business development manager for mobile robotics at OMRON Adept Technologies introduces a couple of OMRON AGVs from the LB platform, which he describes as autonomous mobile robots that are designed as safety equipment.

“We pass all the requirements to be able to work collaboratively around people,” Conroy explained. “On a display, you can see all the data that’s coming to the individual robots and to the fleet at large to control fleets of robots.”

Using OMRON’s Enterprise Manager 1100 server, manufacturers can control and perform fleet management for up to 100 robots at one time.

“It’s a very simple to use system that can extend to the customer’s MES system that allows us to control as many robots as you need in one environment,” Conroy said.

Conroy explained that the robots find their way around facilities using “natural feature navigation,” which uses features in their environment to help determine their position.

“In a big, dynamic environment, like a manufacturing facility, we pay attention to big static tools and things like walls to keep track of where we are, but even in some environments that’s not good enough. We have a peripheral you can add to the robot called ‘Acuity’ that allows it to not only pay attention to the laser map, which is the surrounding area, but also to the lights – like an old ship guided by the stars.”

With the adaptive safety laser, even if a human were to suddenly step in front of the robot, it would notice and quickly stop. The robot can be programmed to process a new route around this obstacle and even politely ask the human to move out of its way.

“If a robot gets to a point where it can’t get where it needs to go, it can repath-plan throughout the entire space,” Conroy added. “Let’s say a door is closed that shouldn’t be, the robot will sense that and will consider the entire map to find a new way to get to it’s destination.”

To meet a different requirements, the robot can be fitted with various physical accessories to carry different loads as required. Conroy explained that the flexibility of the platform allows for the robot to change as its users add new tools and processes to their environment.

For more information, watch the video above and visit the OMRON Adept Technologies website.