AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) and AGCs (Automated Guided Carts) are both automated material handling equipment, utilizing similar operational components and navigation methods.
Each versatile and can offer as much flexibility as their intended design allows to move a load from point A to point B. In short, an AGC is a type of AGV but is intended for lighter loads by virtue of its small chassis and low profile.
Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVS)
An AGV is a mobile robot that may utilize one or more different navigational methods, and uses computer-control, to move loads and materials. They are most often used in industrial applications to move materials around a manufacturing facility or a warehouse. There are many different types of AGVs, including: AMR, Tugger, Forklift, Unit Load, AGC and more. AGVs are designed to suit a multitude of applications, industries, environments, and load capacities, sometimes exceeding an impressive 250,000 lbs (113,400 kgs).
Automated Guided Carts (AGCs)
An AGC is typically designed to move carts by positioning themselves underneath and using a pin hook mechanism to attach itself to the cart. They can also be designed to move under a cart so that the cart can be lifted. In this case, the AGC supports the weight of the load on its own. A few general guidelines that identify an AGC include:
- Maximum load capacity typically around 1,000 lbs (450 kgs).
- Average maximum speed of 40 m/min (130 ft/min – 1570 inch/min).
- Small chassis and low profile to fit under carts, racks, and trolleys.
It is important to note that though typical, the features mentioned above are constantly being exceeded by advances in technology. Today, you can find AGCs that are faster, more reliable, and have higher load capacities. Early AGCs were primary users of magnetic tape navigation, a type of navigation that is quickly becoming outdated, though it is still considered reliable and price competitive. New generation AGCs are quickly adopting more modern methods of navigation such as SLAM or LiDAR.
When Is It Appropriate to Use an AGC?
To decide if an AGC is what your material handling process needs, one must consider the application. AGCs are most often used to move components from storage areas to assembly and production lines, and then to remove finish goods from the end of the line. These vehicles are typically designed for “easy” tasks in simple loop circuits. However, with technology improvements, today you can design AGCs to complete more complex activities. Keep in mind there is a fine line. The more complex the activity or load capacity requirements, the more you start to enter the world of “other” AGVs, where perhaps a different vehicle type is in order. If you need a vehicle to move a 60,000 lb. (27,200 kgs) aluminum coil for example, then an AGC is not appropriate.
The best way to decide which vehicle type you may need is to consult with an AGV supplier. AGVs can be extremely complex, and there are several deciding factors that need to be calculated in the decision-making process to determine the best mobile automation technology for the application. To help you with this, a supplier will look at things like:
- Layout, height clearance, tolerance, humidity and temperature, lighting, air flow.
- Load type: Pallet, container, roll, crate, tub, rack, box.
- Dimension, weight, fork pockets, stability.
- Wheel load, friction, incline.
The list can go on as the supplier will look for environmental, load, transport, floor, racking, equipment requirements, specifications and more. To learn more, we encourage you check out this Assembly Line AGV. This AGV can be designed like an AGC with new generation technology. This vehicle offers a simple and cost-effective solution for many assembly lines. Transbotics has extensive experience in both AGV’s and AGC’s.
Get in touch with an AGV specialist today, to begin exploring the best automation technologies for your material handling application.