Converting lift trucks to AGVs

A solution from Kollmorgen

Smooth and synchronized teamwork is the best way for a worker and his lift truck to maximize productivity.

The traditional  vehicle-based, order-picking process can include unproductive steps.  By converting ordinary lift trucks into automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) in its central facility, Sweden’s Coop has increased productivity by 100%.

A traditional truck-based order  picker  spends as much time picking as he does picking up  empty  pallets  or  containers, delivering  full  pallets  and driving  around.  As the  second largest retailer in Sweden, Coop wanted  to  make  sure  the  handling  of  3,500 pallets per  day and  65 million packages per year was as efficient as possible.

Using onboard hardware and software,  the  new  vehicles automatically  escort  the  picker and  are  always  optimally  positioned to minimize the distance and  effort  needed  to  pick  and place   products.   The vehicles automatically lift the forks to the right height for easy stacking.   The units communicate with a remote warehouse management system that plans efficient routes through the warehouse in coordination with other units. The system also integrates with Coop’s  existing voice-guided picking technology, which ensures accuracy as productivity soars.

Productivity almost instantly doubled at the Coop distribution center, and  workers reported decreases in stress and physical  strain.

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Kollmorgen products in Wisconsin. Contact Tri-Phase Automation Sales

Read the application report: Converting lift trucks to AGVs

Page layout as originally published in Modern Materials Handling October 2009 has been modified.