Which is the best load moving system for you?
If you need to move heavy materials, parts, equipment and machinery from one place to another within your plant or manufacturing facility, you have a number of options to choose from. One option, of course, is heavy-duty Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs). And another option is transfer carts. Read on to discover which material handling system is best for you.
|Heavy-duty Automated Guided Vehicles
Heavy-duty AGVs are computer-controlled, wheeled transporters that operate on shop floors without a driver or operator. Battery-powered, they typically move loads of up to 125 tons. They navigate a facility by following magnetic strips or wires in the floor, by using vision cameras, radio waves or lasers for navigation, or by using a combination of in-floor transponder codes and inertial guidance.
Transfer carts are self-propelled modular transporters that move heavy loads at ground level. They typically run on wheels, are battery powered, steerable and operated by radio remote control. They typically lift and move loads of up to 100 tons.
Automated Guided Vehicles
|Lifting capacity||125 tons||100 tons|
|Moving capacity||125 tons||100 tons|
|Travel path||Unlimited maneuverability because units can typically be steered in 360°||Unlimited maneuverability because units can typically be steered in 360°|
|Footprint||Many heavy-duty Automated Guided Vehicles rotate 360° within their own footprint||Most transfer carts rotate 360° within their own|
|Rotate in place||Many heavy-duty Automated Guided Vehicles can rotate a load in place||Many transfer carts can rotate a load in place|
|Reach||Can reach anywhere the vehicle and the load can fit||Can reach anywhere the load can fit|
|Vertical path||Limited||Typically elevate loads off the ground by only a few inches|
|Loading||Most heavy-duty Automated Guided Vehicles need a forklift, crane or other device to place a load on the unit||Self-loading with skid.|
|Floor space||Operate on any floor surface in a facility that is flat, level and engineered to withstand the weight of the load being transported||Operate on any floor surface in a facility that is flat, level and engineered to withstand the weight of the load being transported|
|Cost of installation||Medium to high, depending on the need to install guidance systems in the floor||Low|
|Cost of operation||Low||Low|
|Cost of training||Low||Low|
|Cost of maintenance||Low||Low|
|Installation time||Weeks to months, depending on the need to install guidance systems in the floor||Minutes|
|Operation||Units must initially be programmed once to govern their start point, speed and path.||One person
Operator walks alongside the unit and has an unobstructed view of the path ahead, beside, behind and above
|Flexibility of use||High; no first-in, first-out concerns||High; no first-in, first-out concerns|
|Training||Level of training is low.
Operation is simple.
|Level of training is low. Operation is simple.|
|Air quality||Battery-powered heavy-duty Automated Guided Vehicles produce zero emissions||Battery-powered transfer carts produce zero emissions|
The bottom line
Transfer carts are superior when travel path flexibility is key.
Heavy-duty Automated Guided Vehicles may be an effective option when you need to move loads of up to 125 tons along predictable paths at regular intervals without any human input. They are especially suitable for operation in extreme cold and heat, and around hazardous materials.
Transfer carts are perfect for moving loads of any distance and especially 1000 ft. or more, when loads are unevenly shaped or unevenly balanced, when excellent visibility while in motion is important, and when safety is paramount.