According to Cunningham, “The biggest challenges that automotive companies are experiencing is labor costs. Automation can alleviate these challenges. Manually driven fork trucks and/or tuggers are primarily non-value-added activities for personnel that can be better supported with AGVs. There is also a space savings. AGVs can work with greater accuracy within a confined space to support automatic tote transfer and other tolerance sensitive "cart to flow" related activities. Lastly, there is improved safety. AGVs are proven to reduce the potential for injuries and support a safer environment.”
Cunningham discussed the 5 biggest benefits flexible AGVs provide to the automotive industry with Merrell. They include:
• More accurate inventory planning within each station is assisted by implementing dedicated routes
• The reliability of an AGV will support accurate planning and reduce bottlenecks throughout the production process.
• Ability to adapt more complex line-side delivery solutions
• AGV delivery options offer the flexibility required for continuous improvement within each process.
• Provide a safer and more predictable work environment
Merrell asked why flexible, vision-guided AGVs the optimal choice over laser, wire, tape, or magnet guided vehicles. “Certainly the flexibility to support additional routes when needed is a major benefit, as well as the much quicker implementation supporting a faster ROI, reduced maintenance required to support other conventional systems, noted Cunningham.
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