RedViking AGV Solution With Lift and Transport

A heavy truck manufacturer came to RedViking to improve their assembly process.  They were challenged with high rework costs because components were damaged during frame positioning.  This damage often went undetected until additional parts were added. They also needed to improve operator safety for this assembly. 

RedViking designed, built, and installed an inductive power, rail-guided AGV system with operator-controlled lifts to position and transport the heavy truck frames for assembly. Our remote-controlled AGVs gave operators greater control over part positioning to prevent damage to components and eliminated the trailing trip hazards.

Key Benefits:

  • Low Profile Battery-Free AGVs
  • 24/7 Movement and Lift Without Recharging
  • 18,000lb. Capacity Across 3-AGVs
  • Operator Controlled Lift and Positioning
  • Synchronized and Independent Motion
  • Supports Heavy and Shifting Loads
  • Elimination of Trip Hazards

Customer’s Original Process

Our customer’s original process was cumbersome. Frames were transported to the line by large J-hooks. Airbags were used to lift the frames onto an electric rail cart. Operators transferred the frames from the rail carts onto 3-strand conveyers. As frame components progressed through assembly, they trailed cords and lines.  

This process was cumbersome and frustrating. The airbags left no room to manipulate the frames into place. Hoses and lines were damaged as a result. It was hard for the operators to see the damage, so often, it was unnoticed until after the frame had been built up. 

The electric rail carts, used to transport the frames to a 3-strand conveyor, could not run the full length of the line. This part of the process was more risky for the operator than our customer wanted. The cords and lines from the electric carts created a trip hazard. Operators had to manually position the frames onto the conveyor.  

RedViking Solution

With RedViking’s AGV solution, the customer’s assembly process is safer and more efficient. The solution used inductive power transfer (IPT®) AGVs with rail guidance. Our AGVs provide 24/7 lift and transport, and rails offer an affordable guidance option for their straight-line path. They also have a low profile to allow improved operator access to interact with the large, heavy truck frame while. 

Battery-Powered AGVs Were Considered

Battery-powered AGVs were considered but ruled out for several reasons. Battery-powered AGVs cannot operate 24/7 without being charged. This did not work for this customer because they needed their line to be operational at all times. This would require purchasing additional AGVs to replace those that are charging; this was not cost-effective. More importantly, a battery-powered AGV does not have sufficient power to power to simultaneously move the vehicle and power the lift in this application. For this customer, a heavy-duty lift with extra capacity for shifting side loads was critical to provide frame access and positioning.

Never Over-Automate

AGVs with wireless guidance were considered. However, the customer’s assembly process followed a straight-line path. We did not recommend wireless guidance because it would have been more automation than they needed. A RedViking design standard is to never over-automate a project.

Advance Prove-Out Creates Uneventful Install

Another benefit of working with RedViking is that we prove-out the mechanical and controls features of our AGVs on our one-of-a-kind inductive power test track. This shifts the installation risk away from our customers. We stand behind our work and are willing to accept that risk.  

In this case, the customer was thrilled that their line started up without issue.  The operators appreciate being able to operate the AGVs and lifts independently because it saves time and protects the frame components. Hoses and lines are not being crushed. The solution is operating through all shifts without interruption.

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