AGV’s were originally developed in the United States in the 1950s and, while the technology became widely used in Europe throughout the 1980s, AGV’s were often criticised for being complex and inflexible. As a result, interest in the products cooled and their use within warehouse and distribution environments declined.
However, the increasing size of many distribution centres has brought this technology back on to the agenda.
“The increased distances that trucks have to cover in some of today’s facilities and the ever present need to reduce labour costs and maximize productivity, has led to renewed interest in this concept,” says Steve Richmond, director of Jungheinrich UK Ltd’s Systems & Projects Division.
Jungheinrich’s Auto Pallet Mover is based on standard Jungheinrich lift truck technology. The driverless APM moves independently around the warehouse and has been designed to perform ‘routine’ handling tasks such as delivering palletised loads from the goods-in area or production line to a transfer point and other points around the system.
The APM’s dedicated control and guidance system not only ensures efficient route planning and vehicle coordination, but also delivers optimum traffic flow around the distribution centre or factory.
The APM can operate as a stand-alone product or be integrated into a solution controlled by a warehouse management system.
Of course, comprehensive safety features have been built in to the new product to guarantee collision-free and safe operation in all working environments. And, because it is based on standard Jungheinrich lift truck technology, the system can be easily serviced and maintained.
Steve Richmond, adds: “There is renewed interest in this market sector and we believe the development and launch of our new Auto Pallet Mover is well timed. The Jungheinrich APM offers a number of advantages not the least of which are the ability to reduce labour costs while improving safety and reducing product and equipment damage.”