Did you know that 20 percent of non-fatal injuries in the workplace are caused by manual handling? Handling heavy materials day-in and day-out can put massive amounts of strain on your employees’ arms, legs, and backs. Another 10 percent of non-fatal and fatal injuries are caused by machinery mishaps. One way to prevent ergonomic and machine-related injuries in the warehouse is to invest in machines that
- Transport heavy materials instead of human workers.
- Have top-notch safety features designed to prevent accidents.
But what if we told you that there’s one piece of machinery—a smart, laser-guided robot—that can do both? Laser-guided vehicles (LGVs) are a fantastic addition to any warehouse environment. They can reduce the likelihood of accidents and even improve productivity and morale. A key feature of LGVs is their ability to navigate with extreme precision, which ensures higher accuracy and fewer on-the-job injuries. Here’s everything you need to know about LGVs, including how laser-guided vehicles navigate with extreme precision and cautiousness.
What Are LGVs?
LGVs are a type of automated guided vehicle (AGV) that uses a laser positioning system to navigate around the warehouse. These vehicles are free to move at high speed and aren’t anchored to structures embedded in the floor, and any change to vehicle routes can be made by simply modifying the software.
What Are They Used For?
Traditionally, LGVs are used to move burdensome materials around a factory or warehouse. They can transport pallets, rolls, racks, carts, containers, and raw materials such as paper, steel, or plastic. Some newer AGVs and LGVs can even help load trailers.
LGVs make transporting these heavy objects easier, faster, and safer. Having employees handle these materials can be dangerous and inefficient. Multiple employees are needed to move materials over 50 lbs.—which means that, until the material in question is moved, you’re out multiple workers. And since heavy objects need to be handled carefully, the moving process is often painfully slow.
Humans are also susceptible to errors. Mistakes are only human, so you can’t fault your employees for the occasional blunder. However, blunders that are made when handling weighty materials can be destructive or downright deadly. Even if no major incidents occur, the weight can still take a serious toll on your employees’ bodies and cause them to experience long-term aches and pains. Using LGVs significantly reduces the risk of harm to your employees and the damage they could cause to pallets or other important goods through human error.
Built for Precision
We’ve touched on the basics of how these laser-guided machines navigate the warehouse. We’ve also explained a few of the benefits of using LGVs to transport materials instead of human workers. But what makes LGVs so much better at transporting than humans? Here are the key features that make LGVs ideal for handling heavy goods.
Are you worried about accidental collisions? LGVs are unmanned machines that follow a set path. But what if something gets in the way of that path? Nothing, really. LGVs come equipped with numerous safety features, including collision avoidance. These laser-guided vehicles use proximity laser sensors to detect obstructions. If the sensors detect something in the LGV’s path, the LGV will either stop or recalibrate its route.
Are you wondering how laser-guided vehicles navigate with extreme precision? The rotating laser sensors that LGVs use are elevated high in the air (around 10 to 15 feet), have a long range (around 100 feet), and perform several revolutions per second. LGVs are constantly processing new information and recalibrate themselves frequently, often one to two times per minute. This results in phenomenal accuracy that’s close to plus five mm.
Easy To Modify
LGVs are controlled by a computer that uses radiofrequency to provide the vehicle with commands. You can monitor and control various aspects of your LGVs operation—such as its speed, route, and more—by modifying the software. If you think that sounds overly complicated, trust us, it’s easier than it sounds. You won’t have to do much tinkering after the initial setup.
There are other machines on the market that are designed to transport heavy goods. But many of these other machines require intricate and obstructive pathing to function. Worse, these paths are almost impossible to change once they’ve been installed.
LGVs, like these machines, require pathing to function. The difference is that LGV pathing is simple, non-obstructive, and easy to change. The reflectors LGVs use to navigate are a unique kind of retro-reflective tape. This tape is almost completely flat, which means people and machines can travel over it freely. It’s also easy to remove and reinstall. If the layout of your warehouse or the needs of your company change, you can contact the supplier and have them send someone out to rearrange the paths accordingly.
What Are the Benefits of LGVs?
Apart from improving productivity and accuracy and reducing harm to both employees and pallets, there are several other bonuses to using LGVs in the warehouse. For instance, their non-obstructive paths mean you won’t have to sacrifice valuable warehouse space. LGVs provide other advantages including
- Lower labor costs
- Less time and money spent on cleaning and repairs.
- Moving materials without the need for human intervention, freeing up employees to focus on more important tasks.
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