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A SEMINAR ON
USE AUTOMATED GUIDED
VEHICLES IN INDUSTRIES
Mr. Pathan Alamkhan G
Mr.Patil B.A. sir
Department of Automobile Engineering
Government College of Engineering and
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This is to certify that Mr. Mayur Badge has successfully
completed the seminar work entitled “ ”under my supervision,
in the partial fulfillment of bachelor of engineering –Automobile
Engineering (Branch) of university of pine.
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It is indeed a great pleasure for me to present this seminar
report in its completed form.
A proud privilege for me to note with deep sense of gratitude
that it is mainly due to guidance of my esteemed seminar guide Prof.
Mr. B.A Patil sir that I am able to complete this seminar report. With
out his help the seminar report would have been incomplete.
I also wish to thanks all my friends who helped me and guided
me in this project.
Pathan Alamkhan G
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SR.NO. TOPIC PAGE NO.
1. Introduction 1
2. 2.1 Towing Vehicles. 2
2.2 Unit Load Transporter 2
2.3 Standard Automatic Guided Pallet Trucks 2
2.4 Assembly Line Vehicle 3
2.5 Light Load Transporter 3
2.6 Advantages and disadvantages 3
3. AGV System components 5
3.1 Vehicles 5
3.2 Guide path and Guidance System 7
3.3 Floor and System controls 8
4. AGV Guidance and controls 10
4.1 Method of Programming 10
4.2 Guide path Techniques 11
4.3 Communication technique 12
5. Applications of AGVs 13
6. Future Trends 15
7. Conclusion 17
8. References . 18
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An automated guided vehicle system is a material handling
system that uses independently operated , self propelled vehicle that are
guided along defined pathways on the floor. The vehicles are powered
by means of on board batteries that allow operation for several hours (8-
16 hrs.) between recharging. Guidance is achieved by using sensors on
the vehicles that follow the guide wires. The vehicle is controlled by an
off board controller or a micro- processor. This controller sends
commands to the vehicle such as identification of load, its destination
and other special instructions. An AGV system provides a material
handling system i.e. both flexible and readily adaptable to either
production or production changes.
AGV systems are originally developed for the distribution of
material in warehouse environments although this is an imp. use, two
major growth areas have been evolved the movement of material to and
from production areas in manufacturing facilities, reflecting
manufacturing work lifts and use of carriers of work in progress in
assembly plants, replacing serial type asynchronous or fixed index
assembly conveyor system and small packages, in hospitals to deliver
meals, and for material handling.
AGV system were first introduced in 1950 in USA and later in
Europe in early 1960, the technology caught on much faster in Europe.
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TYPES OF VEHICLES
2.1 Towing Vehicles:
These vehicles consist of an AGV with no load carrying
facility but with a hitch or tow bar that can pull trailers, carts pallets
jacks and wheeled racks. They are used where large volume of product
to be moved or in retro fit applications where product in historically
been moved by trailers. These vehicles can move loads up to 50,000
2.2 Unit load Transporters:
These vehicles are designed to carry individual loads. Unit
load transporter can have an extremely versatile deck design, which
permits them to be equipped with rollers, belt conveyors, power lifts,
special fixtures, or on board robot arm, These AGV can be either bi-
directional or unidirectional and are used in house as well as on factory
flowers. Unit load transporter scan lift loads ranging between 12,000 to
2.3 Standard Automatic Guided pallet Trucks:
These vehicles are designed to service palletized loads to and
from floor level positions. The shadow fork region has limited fork
travel and is designed to move pallets to and from floor positions
exclusively. The fork truck version has travel up to 20 feet and can
move pallets both at floor level and on stands or racks.
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2.4 Assembly Line Vehicles:
These vehicles have a fixture on board that accept the
frame initial parts of the product that is to be assembled. The vehicle is
routed through the various manufacturing stations of the factory where
parts and assembly are added to the product. these AVG can provide
total automatic transfer of material these are known as material handling
system on automated assembly line. They can skip assembly section if
required in particular section breaks down.
2.5 Light Load Transporters:
These vehicles are design to carry boxes, baskets, small
parts, etc. with any other unitized container. It generally has a footprint
allowing its use in tight spaces and narrow aisles. These vehicles are
used for a wide range of functions from mailrooms to clean rooms in
every type of manufacturing and office environments.
2.6 Advantages and Disadvantages
2.6.1 Advantages of AGV
Following are the advantages of AGV
1. Reduction in labor force.
2. Improved productivity and quality.
3. Job enrichment and worker satisfaction.
4. Reduction in space requirement
5. Reduction in product damage.
6. Improvement in house keeping.
7. Ease of removal and relocation.
8. Integration with other type of automations.
9. System adaptability and flexibility.
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2.6.2 Disadvantages of AGV
Following are the disadvantages of AGV
2. External use is limited.
3. Requirement of specially designed floor space.
4. Performance is affected if guide path bed is not stable.
5. Sufficient support from management is required.
6. Equal support from worker is required.
7. Obstructions are created.
8. Maintenance is required.
9. Other considerations are :
a. The vehicle must not be used for inventory storage or acts as
b. It is not possible to operate vehicles made by different
manufacturers on same guide path and control system.
c. Vehicles are not suited for situations where ambient temperature
d. It is difficult to upgrade a simple system in to complex one.
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AGV SYSTEM COMPONENTS
Although all AGV system are different, in general they consist
of following components:
The component of an AGV system that is most readily
identified is vehicle itself. The vehicle consists of a frame, batteries
on board charging unit, electrical system drive unit, steering,
precision stop unit, on board controller, communication unit, safety
system and work platform.
a. Frame :
The frame is usually constructed of welded steel member
with aluminum cover Plate.
b. Batteries and charging :
AGV systems are typically powered by 24 or 48v D.C.
industrial batteries. Battery charging is accomplished by one of two
techniques viz. Opportunity charging or full cycle charging.
c. Drive unit :
The main components of motor speed controller and drive
mechanism. The driver speed controller mechanism is usually a
pulse width modulated four-quadrant servo drive unit. The carrier
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drive commands are generated either through the microprocessor or
at the hand control unit.
Vehicles are designed to maneuver in three different ways
forward only, forward and reverse, four directional. The major
components of power steering system are the steering antenna,
the steering motors and their controllers, steering linkage and
steering limit switches.
e. Precision stop controller :
A precision stop controller is used to stop AGV with close
location accuracy at workstation and charge station. At some
point before an up coming precision stop location, the vehicle
will receive a precision stop command from off board controller
or by code bar on board on the floor. AS it approaches stop point
the vehicle’s metal detector is activated and AGV slows to the
end of the plate.
f. On board controller :
The vehicle controller is used to monitor vehicle
performance through encoder data to determine position and
velocity discrete digital input, monitor functions as controls,
activation of safety devices, battery conditions, steering limit,
break release, running light drive controller status.
g. Communication Unit :
Instructions to the vehicle microprocessor are usually
generated by the Area controller and then relayed to the vehicle. The
communication System may be either continuous or discrete.
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h. Safety :
Safety systems may be divided in to three specific
categories, vehicle to Vehicle, vehicle to object, and vehicle to people.
The first system uses photo cells mounted on AGVs leading edge and
reflecting material on trailing edge to avoid collision of vehicles.
Vehicle to object system uses bumpers , toe born limit switches,
proximity sensors to protect both vehicle and any object in AGV path
generally vehicle have warning light buzzers or toner which flashes or
sounds to indicate automatic mode.
3.2 GUIDE PATH AND GUIDENCE SYSTEM;
Generally most AGV s need guide path to follow. The
guide path techniques used are known as passive or active tracking.
Passive tracking depends upon either optical or metal detection
principles where as active tracking involves inductive principle’s
a. Passive Tracking :
The optical method may be simply involved a light
sensitive photocell mounted on the vehicle, which follows the tape on
floor. It depends upon contrasting floor surface so that variation in
reflecting light that is sensed by photocell can be detect ed when the
vehicle begins to stray from them guide path. If guide path becomes
dirty, faded, or damaged or if the ambient light distorts the light level
sensed, the vehicle may stray from guide path.
A variation of optical method is lightening patented optical
system. It is based on bonding fluorescent particles to the floor surface
and stimulating these particles with ultra violet light and causing them
to omit a generated light in the sensing head an oscillation mirror scans
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the guide path and reflect the generated light in to photo reflector,
which intern relays signal to microprocessor.
The other passive tracking techniques involve vehicle with metal
detecting sensor s following a stainless steel ribbon. Tran scar
patterned guidance system consists of two sensors packs each
containing five sensors and located at each end of AGV. The three
central sensors allow the vehicle to center itself on the guide path. The
two remaining sensors assist the vehicle in transverse curve. The
sensor locates the presence of guide tape and transmit this information
to the onboard microprocessor.
b. Active Tracking :
Active tracking involves use of guide wire and most
commonly used Technique in industry. A low voltage ( less than 40
v), low current (less than 400 ma), low frequency (Ñ to 15 kHz.) and
signal is conducted through a wire buried in a slot in the floor. A
small electromagnetic field is radiated from the wire and two
inductive type sensors are compared and as long as they are equal,
the vehicle is centered on the guide path if vehicle begins to stray,
signal magnitudes sensed are no longer equal and sensor difference
is used to steer the vehicle back on the guide path.
3.3 Floor and system controls:
The controller is the brain of the whole system, trying
the vehicle to the guide path and integrating the system. Not only
does it control the AGV system but it also integrates with automatic
assembly facility. The AGV system itself will usually contain three
levels of controller architecture, vehicle control system, floor control
system and vehicle on board processor.
a. vehicle control system :
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The top level of vehicle control system often
communicates with and under the control the facility’s host
computer. Most of the decision making takes place at this level as it
oversees the system operation. The vehicle system stores in memory
exact vehicle location at all the times and provides network access.
b. Floor control Unit :
This level is referred to as the data concentrator and acts
as traffic manager and communicating directly with the
vehicles and providing them with formatted detailed commands.
c. Vehicle processor :
Generally the vehicle processor knows the vehicle
location, and it can interpret commands received from floor control
unit and can monitor on board safety devices. The two type of
vehicle control processors are intelligent type and non-intelligent
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AGV GUIDENCE & CONTROLES
Some AGV system use vehicles, which have sophisticated
microprocessor on board and are known as smart or intelligent
vehicles. Other systems have minimal vehicle computing ability and
use a central computer for all process. In such systems central
computer decides location, direction, proper rout and path of the
vehicle. This is accomplished by turning on and off the path at
decision points or by commanding vehicle to follow a particular
frequency. All decision is making is made by central computer in
smart vehicles. The central computer dispatches the vehicle to next
location, though it’s on board microprocessor, the vehicle it self
makes decision as to which path it takes.
4.1 method of Programming
the smallest system uses manual programming to direct the
vehicle to specific destination and to dispatch the vehicle. These
system ranges from basic toggle switches, thumbwheel switches or
push button numeric pad for programming the vehicle to go to
specific station. The advantage of manual system is that it is the least
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expensive and simplest system. The disadvantages of manual system
are that its efficiencydepends upon operators. Finally these types of
systems controller cannot determine vehicle location while it is in
The second level of sophistication in control system is
referred to as remote dispatch. In such systems operator intersects
with the local controller who in turn transmit information such as
destination , rout and automatic load/ unload commands to the
vehicle this control system allows the vehicle to circulate on guide
path looking for work. this system does not allowed tracking
capabilities. The third level is more complex and expensive and is
referred to as the central computer controlledsystem.
4.2 Guide Path Techniques:
a. passive techniques:
It involves the use of chemical, paint and adhesive strips or
tape where by the AGV focuses a beam of light on the reflective tape
and tracks the path by measuring the amplitude of reflectedbeam.
Another passive method involves vehicles with metal detecting
sensors following stainless steel tape. Communication of commands
and positional information to the vehicle may be accomplished by
placing guide path codes along the guide path.
c. Active Techniques :
By for most commonly used method in industry is the wire
guide path. This method involves cutting a slot in the floor (1/8 to ¾
inch wide ) and (1/2 to 1.5 inch deep), in to which one or more wires
are placed and grouted and epoxyed. There are two different wire
guide path techniques, one using either one wire in the slot operating
on one frequency or one multiple overlaid frequencies and other
using several wires in the slot each operating at a different
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frequency. With multiple wire method a path is selectedat decision
points according to the assigned frequency. The vehicle can be
programmed by system controller at decision points to follow the
appropriate frequencies and thus the vehicle is directed on the
4.3 Communication Technique :
Irrespective of guidance technique used it is essential
for individual vehicle to be able to communicate with the system
controller. The vehicle must be able to receive such commands as
work assignments, destinations, route frequency, speed, blocking
instruction, when to start and stop and auxiliary equipment
commands used similarly vehicle must be able to transmit it’s status
to the system controller by sending such informations as vehicle
identification, location, direction of travel speed of travel & battery
status. There are two AGV systems viz. continuous & discrete.
Continuous indicates that the area controller always communicates
with any vehicle where as discrete means that area controller can
only communicate with a particular vehicle at times.
Radio frequency communication is widely used from in
an continuous communication. Each AGV is equipped with transmit
/ receive antenna. Each AGV may be on a different frequency.
The majority of AGV systems prefer discrete
communication method. The two type of discrete control are
inductive and optical. Inductive method utilizes
A set of wires buried beneath the ground along guide path in squares
or rectangles. Each communication point is assigned a unique
address through area controller. Yo communicate, vehicles either
come to a stop with their communication antenna immediately above
a communication loop or while in motion over an elongated loop.
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The optical method involves stopping the AGV at set
stations along the guide path where information is passed to the
vehicle using infrared light.
APPLICATION OF AGVS
AGV is used in various growing number and a variety of
5.1 Driverless trainoperation:
These applications involved the movement of large
quantities of material over large distances. e.g. the moves within a
large factory building or buildings in large storage depot. For the
movement of trains consisting of ¹ to 10 trailers, this become an
efficient handling method.
5.2 Storage / Distributionsystem :
Unit load carriers and pallet trucks are particularly used in
these applications. In these storage or distribution operation, the
movement of material is in unit load form. The application often
interfaces the AGV with some other automated handling or storage
system this type of storage / distribution can also be used in light
manufacturing and Assembly operation in which work in process is
stored in a central storage area and distributed to different work
station for assembly or processing.
5.3 Assembly line operation:
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AGV system is being used in a growing number of
assembly line applications. In these applications rate is relatively low
and there are variety of different models made on production line.
5.4 Miscellaneous Applications :
Other applications of AGV system including non-
manufacturing and non-warehouse applications such as mail delivery
in office building and hospital material handling applications
between different floors of the hospital.
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Although it is difficult to predict the future with absolute certainty, it
can be concluded from the trends that seem to indicate future status
of AGV systems.
6.1 Guidance :
The research is being accomplished to expand
capability and even to eliminate the need for guidance using guide
path on board controller. On board controller is becoming more
sophisticated and at same time they are becoming smaller and less
expensive the vehicle controllers are exhibiting such features as
expanding diagnostics. Although vehicle cannot repair themselves,
they can at least indicate their problems to maintenance and repair
person. Controller sophistification will also allow the vehicle to
operator more intelligently in complex handling situation and will
increase the system integrity in the event of host computer failure.
6.2 Vehicle communication:
The trend is towards continuous as opposed to discrete
So that vehicle will be able to communicate and receive updated
instruction at any time.
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6.3 system controller:
System will be designed to have capability to track
material and store this information. They will be able to follow and
control material flow to support just in time concepts. The system
controller will also be able to be integrated with network allowing it
to communicate with any other facility controller.
6.4 Vehicle :
Vehicle will become more standard requiring less
engineering to adapt the vehicle to a particulate task, thus lowering
the coast of vehicle to a particular task, thus lowering the coast of
vehicle to a great extent this will make them easier to justify for
6.5 Improved Graphical Display :
There will be probability the increased use of color
graphical display showing entire guide path, every vehicle location,
the vehicle identification, the vehicle status and vehicle load.
New safety sensors for proximity detectionwill be
developed and coupled with computing power of on board controller
to produce on even vehicle that readily negotiate pedestrian clogged
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This seminar report gives the introductory and brief
information about the AGVS. These systems interfaces with
automatic storage on one hand and with manufacturing operations on
the other. They are coordinated through a centralized computer to
provide virtually automatic flow of material through a manufacturing
plant, taking row material to machine and carrying finished products
in to storage or shipping. Such totally automatic systems are bound
to become more prevalent in the future.
Another trend ganging momentum is the great
sophistification of controls that permits a vehicle to operate more
intelligently and thus fit more ifficiently and thus fit more efficiently
in to complex handling patterns.
The guidance control system of AGVS can be used for other
material handling systems such as lift trucks, which permits further
reduction of human drivers and materials handling becomes more
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1. M. P. Groover “Automation, Production Systems and
Computer integrated Manufacturing “ TATA McGraw Hills
2. J.H. Fuchs “Advanced Manufacturing Methods”, Tata
McGraw Hills Publications, First Edition,1992.