Automated guided vehicles boost warehouse safety
A contract bottling company has deployed Dematic automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to assist with improving safety and efficiency at its South Australian facility.
Vinpac International bottles over 10 million 9-litre cases annually and distributes to over 500 customers in the Australian wine industry and beyond, operating out of the Barossa and McLaren Vale wine regions.
To assist in its production, the company has rolled out self-charging Dematic Counterbalance AGVs, which are designed to increase efficiency, productivity, accuracy and safety in manufacturing and distribution centres. The vehicles offer high-precision laser guidance and the latest safety scanner technology, thereby minimising mistakes and workplace accidents — which provides significant improvements in occupational health and safety standards.
The AGVs are capable of lifting loads of up to 1500 kg to a height of four metres. They are powered by high amp hour, maintenance-free batteries and can drive themselves onto charging floor plates at times of inactivity for battery top-up as required. The design of the AGVs means they can withstand the typically challenging environment of a warehouse, all while providing a 360° safety field of protection.
For maximum safety in an environment where there are personnel and other material-handling equipment, the AGVs have three obstruction sensors. These sensors are designed to identify any unexpected object within the scanner’s horizontal sensing plane. The obstruction sensor has two sensor fields — one protection field and one warning field. When an obstacle is detected in the warning field, which is longer and wider than the protection field, the vehicle will slow down to below normal walking pace. When an object is detected in the protection field, the safety PLC will trigger an emergency stop within the AGV and it will remain stopped until the obstruction is cleared.
The AGVs also have four emergency-stop buttons, with one in each corner of the AGVs. Once pushed, they trigger an emergency stop in the vehicle until it is released manually, and the reset button is pressed.
“The safety of our team is paramount, so the deployment of these AGVs will help to enhance the working environment for our valued team members and will deliver the best level of service possible to our customers,” said Andrew Holdback, Group Operations Manager at Vinpac International.
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