TWControls

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV)

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Hi everyone I have a project that I am looking at involving automated guided vehicles. I've seen various ones that follow wires in the floor and tape. I understand the laser target navigation and believe this is what this project will require given several floor obstacles that will make the wire and tape methods difficult. But this application is also in a very high traffic area so it will require presence sensing devices to make sure it is safe to operate. Does anyone have an experience with AGVs? I'd love to get you input and ask you some questions Tim

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No doubt there are others with more AGV experience, but I've dealt extensively with the SICK line of laser scanners, both safety and non safety. I used to be tech support for a SICK distributor. Most, if not all, of the AGVs that I have seen use SICK safety scanners, and there are a lot of options for using the scanners. In addition to the basic safety functionality, with a couple of add-on parts you can even access the contour data and use that for the navigation part (think DARPA), though it would take some significant development. More on our level, is the ability to network multiple scanners for better coverage (forward/reverse for example), and on the more expensive units the ability to dynamically change the protective fields based on speed of the AGV (using an encoder), or position (like that tricky corner that always encroaches on the standard protective field. I'd be glad to answer questions on that aspect of the project.
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Use a Hiprom GPS system and Sick area scanners.

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Since I am into electric vehicles - desire to convert 56 Chev pickup to AC 3 phase drive - I have some thoughts. I would assume speed to be about 3 to 5 mph and drive more than likely DC. Since this is in high traffic - I assume worst case ie pedestrian - area. Also am assuming rubber tire drive AC would be nice but a little hard to get VFD and motor at 72 or so volts. With off shelf VFD battery voltage would need to be around 160 if using single phase sorce VFD and passing DC thru the rectifiers. For 230 battery voltage is bout 325. Detection and stopping are of paramount concern. Given that then the total load must be considered to enable rapid stopping ALSO again - worst case - crash stop when headed downhill - MUST KNOW THE SLOPES if any. Ice snow and wet pavement are also concerns. Crash stop would be right now probably involving mechanical brake. Any other stop could be done by dynamic braking possibly hooked up to charge battery (regenerative braking). In addition to prox sensors sensitive to building components (wall chairs etc etc) AND people I would have hand (or bump) actuated door type panic bars. Proxes could stop within 6" and panic bar would give crash stop. I would think laser sensing would require line of sight. Loss of laser signal wouold require a stop and a mayday call for service OR a manual operation. Floor sensors would be a good operation maybe but do require maintenance. I do not think having crash stop is worth a darn if cargo can slip off and hurt someone (had conduit slide off truck rack in a panic stop - EMBARRASING) I would definitely have some method of manual operation if for no other reason to clear the highway until maint can get there. Batteries - quick change would be best. No point in equipment idle when charging battery especially so if multi shift operation. Dan Bentler

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Hi Tim, Wire guidance was replaced by laser guidance in the 1990's. Egemin Automation is an Automated Guided Vehicle manufacturer and offers laser navigation on AGV. The Sick laser navigation unit is used for position triangulation and Sick laser safety systems are used for obstacle detection. Your concern about safety in high traffic areas can be eased by a few possible actions: Egemin AGVs can be programmed to automatically slow down in specific areasYou can put temporary pause stop in specific areas (ie. intersections, doorways, etc.). The AGV would stop for 2 - 3 seconds then resume travel.Audible alerts can be programmed into your AGV system. When the AGV approaches high traffic areas the onboard horn will sound.Automated Guided Vehicles by Egemin use Windows Embedded on solid state media and communicate over standard 802.11 wireless networks. Travel paths are created using AutoCAD, making vehicle path adjustments quick and easy since AutoCAD is the industry standard CAD software. Additionally, Egemin's Automatic Guided Vehicles use best-of-breed electrical components that are off-the-shelf and widely available in the marketplace. Best of luck with your AGV project. Contact me to discuss further. Regards, Dave Noble Egemin Automation Inc. 616-393-0101 www.egeminusa.com

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Good information. I'm still digesting it and trying to determine the best guidance system for the application. Dave, I might take you up on that call. Thanks Tim

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RFID tags are being used as personel safety in some applications.

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