For many years, Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) have proven their worth with a long history of automatically transporting loads within a production or distribution environment. To many, that’s the extent of what AGVs can do.
The thing is, there are many activities where these autonomous mobile robots can be used to bring value to your operation. In our most recent whitepaper, ‘Five Unexpected Applications for AGV Success’, we outline several ways where AGVs can bring you value. We covered using AGVs for cold storage and for automatic trailer loading in two previous posts. Given that we covered trailer loading, another area is trailer unloading using AGVs.
Automatic Trailer Unloading
Automatic trailer loading may not be well known as fairly standard AGV functionality, but automatic trailer unloading is even less well known. While unloading would seem to be a simple and very similar action to loading, it isn’t. As it turns out, automatically unloading a trailer is not exactly the reserve action of loading one.
The overall process for automatic trailer unloading can be potentially much more complicated depending on the condition of the load when the lift gate is opened on the trailer. If the load was securely loaded and where it should be, then unloading is indeed the reverse process of loading.
But if the load shifted, spun, tilted, or any combination of these, the AGV may have difficulty in seeing the pick points for the pallets in the load. This can make trailer unloading more difficult, but not insurmountable.
Beefier, but That’s a Good Thing
With both automatic loading and unloading, the AGVs access the trailers without modifications to trailers, docks, or facilities. The AGVs required for this type of work are “beefier” than a traditional AGV, as the machine has to drive back and forth over rough and uneven dock plates, and on less-than-ideal conditions in the back of a semi-trailer. You need a rugged design that can handle this environment.
Reduce Labor and Operating Costs
Automatic trailer loading/unloading systems can operate 24/7, practically lights-out, and lead to more efficient operations and shorter wait times in shipment areas. This directly leads to labor cost savings and reduces operational expenses.
Navigate Where Others Can’t
The intelligent, free-roaming navigation system used for automatic trailer loading/unloading systems can handle the widest range of difficult trailer operating requirements, including wet floors, frost, and varying wall and floor surfaces. Moreover, the AGVs are capable of performing a full cube-out of trailers, which can substantially lower shipping costs.
You can read about other unexpected Applications for AGV Success in our next blog post, or, for more instant gratification, download the entire whitepaper, ‘Five Unexpected Applications for AGV Success’, here.
AGVs can bring fast ROI and efficiency to an operation in many more areas than you may realize. And as technology advances, the options will continue to grow for making AGVs an integral part of your supply chain operation.
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