Today you can replace almost any manual goods handling and movement with automation equipment. Automated Guided Vehicles are used in a wide variety of material handling applications. Whether handling pallets, rolls, racks, carts, containers or any other load configuration an AGV can carry it.

The range of possible AGV applications is as large as it is diverse, presented here is a selection of the most common and the most advanced solutions we can offer. Although your exact materials handling application may not be specified here you can be sure that NDC has the experience and the ability to provide you with one.

Contact us for more information about an automation solution for your business.

Typical Applications

Warehouse Automation

AGVs can be used to in a warehouse environment to automated specific task or as part of a completely automated system. Some example warehouse operations to which AGVs are well suited include:

  • Finished Product Handling:Transporting finished goods from manufacturing plants into storage and then from storage to shipping is the final and most delicate stage before delivery. This handling operation is the most delicate in the process as finished products can be subjected to damage from rough handling.Because NDC Automated Guided Vehicles operate with precision navigation and control systems they represent the absolute minimum in risk to the finished products. Accurate computer control over position, speed and acceleration means every loading and unloading operation is precise, safe and repeatable. 
  • Empty Pallet Handling:Any operation that uses pallets to store and transport goods must also deal with empty pallets. Moving stacks of empty pallets around a warehouse or production facility is a necessary but repetitive task. An AGV system can easily automate this simple task and ensure that every transport is controlled and predictable.
  • Truck/Container Loading:AGVs are capable of delivering goods from your warehouse directly into the final transport that will carry them to your customers. Automatic loading of Roll-On-Roll-Offs can be done quickly and space permitting the AGVs can also drive directly into shipping containers or truck bodies.

Production Automation

Production environments have a different set of challenges to warehousing facilities, but many are well suited to automation, a few examples include:

  • Raw Materials Handling:Timely and reliable delivery of raw materials is a necessity for any manufacturing operation. Whether you are working with steel, plastic, rubber or any other material an NDC Automated Guided Vehicle system can provide a constant just-in-time flow of raw materials to keep your production machines operating at maximum capacity.Requests for delivery of raw materials can be automatically scheduled via an interface with your production control software, or manually by production machine operators. 
  • Hazardous Materials Handling:Some material handling is better left to an automated system. In some cases the material or product to be moved may be dangerous, or it could be that the environment in which the machine must run would be harmful to an operator.

Product Transport

If your production and warehousing is done on the same site it is likely that finished or partially finished products need to be moved large distances between facilities. NDC has a range of Automated Guided Vehicles designed for mass transport of goods through outdoor environments.

Specialized Applications

The Specialized Applications detailed below are more than just the automation of existing tasks, they can alter the way you do business. NDC Specialized Application AGVs are based on our newest and most innovative technology and offer new opportunities to your business.

Hospital

Hospital AGV Applications are different to most other AGV applications as it requires transports in narrow corridors and between different levels through elevators.

NDCs solution with Range Navigation is especially developed for the typical narrow corridors in a hospital facilities and our stainless steel hospital AGVs are designed to run in clean room grade environments.

Narrow Aisle

The heart of NDCs Narrow Aisle Solution is our Side-Loading AGV. Unlike tradition forklifts that must turn and drive on a straight line into a load or unload point our Side-Loading AGV uses a turreted-mast arrangement that allows it to pickup and drop off at 90 degrees from the way it is facing.

The advantages to this can be enormous. Since no turning is required drive lanes in your warehouse need only be large enough to allow the passage of the vehicle in a straight line. NDC has developed a vehicle that can operate in a very narrow 1.8m wide lane. Add to this the ability to reach up to 10.5m height and consider how much extra space you can make.

Pick-n-Go

Pick-n-Go is a new control system for AGVs that gives a large advantages to operations where order picking is a primary activity. In a typical manual order picking system an operator will drive a forklift through the warehouse occasionally stepping off to pick items from the shelves and load them onto the vehicles then drive to another section etc..

An automated Pick-n-Go system replaces the forklift with an AGV which will follow the operator to each location as they pick the items in the order. Once the vehicle is full it will return to dispatching and a new AGV will already be waiting at the next pickup point.

A Pick-n-Go system means less time wasted hopping on and off of forklifts, less damage to items caused by forklift handling and less risk of injury to your staff. All these benefits result in increases in the productivity of your staff and less mistakes as well as cost savings from reduced damage to the warehouse and products from forklift accidents.