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Automated Guided Vehicles Help with the Heavy Lifting and Positioning

Thursday, 15 October 2020 ( #996 )
Handling Specialty designs and manufactures custom material handling systems for customers around the world. When a client in the gas compression industry needed a nonintrusive way to move massive gas engines around its manufacturing facility, Handling engineers set to work to design an easy-to-install solution. The result? A rugged, semiautomated AGV system that provides reliable tracking and guidance, flexible steering, and synchronized lifting behavior.
Handling's AGV solution comes in two models: one with four-wheel sets and one with six wheel sets. Each set consists of two wheels and a rotating axis, which offer the unit considerable steering flexibility. This is possible with the help of cable-pull rotary encoders. The encoders provide angular position information that can be used to initiate a variety of steering modes, including traditional steering (forward and reverse), side steering (all wheels orient to 90 degrees for sideways movement), and zero-turn steering (vehicle rotates in place). An optical read head guides the AGV through the plant by tracking the system's position via a line painted on the factory floor. With +/- 0.2-mm resolution and +/- 10-degree alignment tolerance, the read head verifies the position of the AGV and relays it back to the control system. When the AGV needs to navigate to one of the plant's test cells, photoelectric distance sensors monitor the system's forward and reverse position relative to each cell. The AGV is also outfitted with a hydraulic platform for lifting and lowering the plant's heavy gas engines during production. The built-in platform can lift equipment up and down by four inches, and the lifting capacity differs by model. The version with four wheel sets has four corresponding cylinders and is capable of lifting 40,000 lbs; the model with six wheel sets and six cylinders can lift up to 100,000 lbs. Distance measurement sensors monitor the lifting movement of both versions to ensure that the platform is level.
One of the most unique features of the six-cylinder AGV is its ability to operate in tandem with another six-cylinder system. This not only increases the AGV's lifting capacity to 200,000 lbs, but it also requires 12 cable-pull rotary encoders and 12 distance measurement sensors - 24 motors in total - to work in parallel to provide feedback to the system. A Handling Specialty heavy-duty AGV system is able to provide a flexible, operator-friendly solution capable of moving large loads that met any customer's unique application requirements for virtually any industry. Additionally, if your business is experiencing downtime by sending your forklifts out for service and repair, consider Handling Specialty's Excalibur Fork Truck Service Lift and turn a small portion of your facility into your own forklift maintenance hub. For more information, please contact: Handling Speciality Web: www.handling.com Telephone: +1 905.945.9661 Fax: +1 905.945.0155 Toll Free: +1 800.559.8366 Email: send an email
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