T. P. Ferreira, I. A. Gorlach
automation, AGV, material handling
The use of autonomous vehicles for material handling tasks in industry continues to grow because of higher productivity, improved ergonomics and safety aspects. Despite these advantages, the major drawback of implementing autonomous vehicles is their high cost, which makes it difficult to justify economically the automation of processes. Hence, there is a need to develop an affordable design of autonomous vehicle or Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV). AGVs designs and capabilities vary depending on the complexity of the task, the environment and the level of autonomy. As the AGV market is highly competitive, the designer and the manufacturer need to provide a low-cost solution without compromising the AGV functionality. An Autonomous Guided Cart (AGC) is one of variations of AGVs that provides automation of transporting tasks with a minimum level of control and complexity, and at an affordable cost. In this research, a low-cost AGC was developed specifically for a local automotive manufacturer. The AGC employs a line-following mechanism for navigation making use of a guide sensor in conjunction with a magnetic strip. An industrial PLC controls the motors of the AGC using the principle of the differential drive. A wireless communication module is used for interfacing with the host computer and other devices of the material handling system. SCADA software provides a versatile platform for the overall AGC control. The developed AGC was tested in the real industrial application and demonstrated the required level of performance for the material handling tasks. Due to its low cost, simplicity and flexibility the AGC can be economically viable for small and medium enterprises in a variety of industrial sectors.
Cite this paper
T. P. Ferreira, I. A. Gorlach. (2016) Development of an Affordable Automated Guided Cart for Material Handling Tasks. International Journal of Circuits and Electronics, 1, 145-150