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Automated Guided Forklifts - Food, Beverage and Health Care Industries

Filed under: Technology

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV’s) can provide many benefits to adopters as outlined in our previous blog. This week’s blog takes a closer look at some industry specific applications and benefits for the food and beverage and health care industries.

Food and Beverage Industry
AVG’s can be a full turnkey materials handling solution in the food and beverage industry, as demonstrated in the diagram below:

  1. In the warehouse
      • AGV’s can handle the storage of raw materials, work in progress and finished products. 
      • AGV’s can easily be programmed to interact with different styles of racking, block stacks, conveyors, ASRS, other vehicles and pedestrians ensuring optimal safety.
  2. At the production lines

      • AGV’s can handle the repetitive movement tasks including:
        • Delivery of raw materials to production lines
        • Movement of in-progress work between stations during the production process
        • Loading and unloading of automatic batch retorts
      • With installed sensors and load protection devices the safety of materials and product is guaranteed.

  3. End of the line

      • AGV’s can assist with delivery of empty pallets or packaging materials (boxes, containers and cartons).
      • AGV’s can transport finished products from the end of the production line to palletisers or stretch wrapping machines as well as storage and shipping locations.
  4. At the shipping/receiving dock

      • AGV’s can assist with the automatic unloading of raw materials.
      • AGV’s can deliver completed pallets to a staging or shipping area ready to be loaded.
      • AGV’s can complete automated loading of finished goods into a variety of transport modes.



Healthcare Industry

The adoption of AGV technology can assist healthcare facilities in making substantial monetary and labour cost savings.
  This diagram showcases an example of the improved efficiency and accountability obtained with the use of AGV’s


Some of the major benefits to the healthcare industry are detailed below:

  1. Patient care is improved as staff are not required to transport materials and supplies, thus allowing them to dedicate 100% of their time to patient care and treatment.
  3. Employee safety is improved as staff spend less time transporting heavy carts, thus reducing the potential of workplace injury.
  5. Return on Investment AGV’s deliver quick ROI by:
    • Reducing labour and inventory costs
    • Eliminating time wastage from looking for supplies and waiting for elevators
    • Improved efficiency
  6. Security only properly authorised staff can access AGV’s to transport materials. Any unauthorised material movements are also monitored and reported.
  7. Accuracy the system can prioritise material requests based on importance, ensuring the right materials are delivered to the correct areas on time every time. In-built cart identification technology ensures the correct loads are transported, reducing distribution errors.

  8. Tracking in the rare event a load goes missing permanent records detailing all the materials lost are kept.

  9. Flexibility the system allows administrators to further optimise the system response times by:
    • Staging vehicles at a staging point prior to delivery (i.e. all food trolley are staged at the kitchen to be loaded simultaneously before deliveries are made)
    • Adjusting battery charge times ensuring a maximum number of vehicles are available for use during peak times, with the majority of re-charging taking place during off-peak times
    • Using layout wizard software to optimise vehicle guidance paths
    • Monitoring the whole system in real-time on handheld devices

As shown in this week’s blog the adoption of AGV’s in the food & beverage and healthcare sectors can provide a number of benefits and advantages including reduced labour costs and more productivity/patient care as employees can attend more to value adding tasks.


Published By: Paul Hinz

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