AGVs vs Forklifts: Benefits and Drawbacks
Selecting the right automated guided vehicle (AGV) or forklift will make a difference in cost and production. Some people feel the traditional forklift is the best option while others feel an AGV is a threat to the forklift as it will end up cutting jobs if it replaces the forklift. What is the best option for your business?
What is An AGV?
An AGV is an automated guided vehicle, or a mobile robot. It moves by wires that are attached to the floor using magnetic strips and laser navigation. AGVs use a live video stream from cameras around the warehouse to help with vision navigation.
People often consider AGVs because they are cheaper for a company in the long-run. You do not need to invest money into salaries that never end, while the AGVs are a one-time investment. The equipment can run on its own and doesn’t require a large amount of human interaction to work. Another major advantage of AGVs is that they can boost production because they work 24/7.
Why AGVs Are Great For Companies
While they provide several cost-cutting opportunities for companies, AGVs provide other unique options such as being able to work in colder or hot climates that are uncomfortable for humans. They can work in areas with poor lighting and can reduce exhaust fumes and plant noise.
If you have a lot of employee error concerns leading to expensive accidents and other problems, AGVs can help to minimize these errors. They can be fitted with different safety devices that prevent collisions and can assist with object detection. Laser sensors, warning lights, bumpers, stopping devices, and object detection will help to prevent accidents and collisions.
Why Use a Forklift
Although AGVs have several benefits, they have some limitations. Forklifts have some major advantages that can sway some companies to stay with them. Initially, the upfront costs of forklifts are lower and they do not have as many maintenance costs involved as the AGVs. Human operators are capable of detecting problems quickly and improvising to prevent an accident. They can spot damaged flooring quickly to avoid debris and other things that could lead to a serious accident.
Advantages of Forklifts
A forklift operates at a higher speed compared to AGVs. If you do not have repetitive jobs, forklifts provide the best option. Non-repetitive jobs can be done quickly and efficiently. AGVs require specialized path mapping and expensive programming for them to work correctly. A forklift can handle different sized loads and pallets, and they are flexible at handling different jobs. Forklifts have a number of options to choose from to suit your handling, safety, and productivity needs.
Which Is Best?
To choose the right option for your company, you need to determine the environment that you will use the forklift or AGV. Forklifts can be fitted with different safety devices to prevent you from having problems with safety. While AGV looks attractive to a lot of companies, it is still advancing. Forklifts are still the plausible option at they can be equipped with attachments and safety devices.