JBT has redesigned its range of Automatic Guided Vehicle systems (AGVs) into standard modules, which can be combined to suit different applications, with the aim of simplifying AGV solutions and the way customers make purchases.
This redesign means that JBT can quickly deliver a broad range of high value, low-cost AGV solutions, where each application is matched with the appropriate level of automation. The modules include load handling, battery, controls, rear support and power (for either hydraulic or electric vehicles).
"Each of the modules has been cost-reduced and optimised," explains Mark Stevenson, JBT director of sales for Europe. "In doing so, we've also increased the reliability of the modules as each one has proven its effectiveness, so the vehicles don't need to be custom-designed for each project."
JBT is the world's largest supplier of AGVs and has been designing and manufacturing a range of systems from its UK headquarters in Leicester for over 26 years. These are now in use throughout the UK and Europe in leading food, beverage, packaging, and production organisations.
JBT used its experience and leveraged patterns in AGV sales while implementing its redesign. In addition to the vehicle redesign, the company also updated its SGV Manager software by introducing a 3D mapping system to maximise system throughput.
"We wanted to take away the complexity and mystery from AGV systems," adds Stevenson. "The 3D map provides a real-time, virtual view of the AGVs at work, and allows users to pan or zoom the view to easily monitor and optimise the system.
"The software also allows users to easily navigate to other screens so, even if they only have a little training and experience, they can quickly interface with the system."
In addition to its standard vehicle types, JBT offers customised vehicles for unique applications. Simpler solutions can also be provided using only vehicles and excluding the SGV Manager software. This approach allows small companies, or those new to automation, to try AGVs. These simple solutions may be upgraded in the future as the system expands.
"AGV systems are extremely flexible and can be adapted to grow with an organisation. They can also relieve staff of simple repetitive tasks, so that their skills can be better utilised in other parts of the process, leading to a more stream-lined, cost-efficient operation. We typically see payback well within two years."
JBT will be displaying the technology at IMHX 2016 (Stand 9F73), which takes place at NEC Birmingham on 13th-16th September. Find out more about IMHX and register for FREE at www.imhx.net.