Over time, the fact that warehouses and industries of all kinds are using automatized robots to perform productive and logistic tasks is becoming more common.
Investing in robotized transport noticeably improves the efficacy of the displacement and also contributes to the reduction of costs. At the same time, automatization augments the safety of workers and frees them from doing tedious and repetitive tasks, ultimately enabling them to make a better use of their time.
There are two types of mobile robots: AGVs and AMRs. Both can move independently while transporting loads, nontheless, some differences should be known.
What is an AGV
An AGV is an Automated Guided Vehicle destinated for moving units of loads (boxes, pallets, trolleys, containers…) with a series of actions and functions well defined and delimited with a low capacity of making decisions and adaptability to the changes and demands of the environment or facility.
What is an AMR
AMR stands for Autonomous Mobile Robot, and it is destinated for moving units of loads (boxes, pallets, trolleys, containers,….) with a series of actions and functions well defined and delimited with a high capacity of making decisions and adaptability to the changes and demands of the environment or facility.
AMRs are equipped with a high number of sensors and an internal software of control that lets them adjust their parameters of function in real-time to adapt to the environment autonomously. In simple terms, AMRs are equal to AGVs but way more intelligent.
Differences between AGVs and AMRs
Next, we are going to analyze the differences between AGVs and AMRs revising the elements that affect the election process.
On one hand, AGVs navigate following a defined route. To make that possible, previously the infrastructure that will guide the vehicle has to be installed (reflectors, bands, or magnetic cords, for example). Once installed and the circuits have been defined, AGVs will follow set routes.
On the other hand, AMRs do not require such precision of the route to follow due to the system that grants them the benefit of choosing the most optimal route within the defined space.
Detection of obstacles
Both AGVs and AMRs are able of detecting obstacles safely. But, AGVs do it by stopping their movement until the obstacle disappears. On the contrary, AMRs not only are capable of dodging the obstacle but also if necessary, recalculating a new route to arrive at the destination without having to deal with obstacles.
Ability to adapt to changes
If there is an aspect that AGVs are not on a plain field is the dependency of the navigation system, for example with guided systems using magnetic bands, there is a major limitation to making changes on routes and paths.
On the contrary, AMRs, because of the laser-based systems of navigation, they are more flexible to changes. Thanks to that, the creation or modification of routes can be done more rapidly and with fewer costs. Also, they are capable of autonomously verifying the correct position of pick-up and delivery stations to position themselves better and correct possible deviations.
Vehicle and installation cost
When calculating the cost of the equipment we have to take into account both the vehicle and the required installation.
With this in mind, AGVs are simpler than AMRs and therefore more economic. Nonetheless, the installation of an AGV system could be more expensive -depending on the guided system-, because it requires a presential installation (magnetic bands or inductive systems); unlike the installation of an AMR system that is simpler (the assembly of reflectors to help the guide system) and therefore faster and cheaper.
Which automated displacement system to choose?
The 4.0 Industry looks for way more flexible and intelligent solutions, capable of adapting and also making smart decisions in real-time. Because of this, AMRs especially stand out due to being, simply put, the smarter version of AGVs.
Taking into account that AMRs display various additional functions and also count with a faster and easier implementation, they tend to become the priority pick of lots of industries and warehouses. But, when talking about repetitive processes and fixed routes, AGVs still have the better edge.
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