AGVs for High Production Auto Assembly Line

A large automotive manufacturer approached RedViking to update its existing assembly process.  Their challenge was a noisy, older chain-based conveyance system that had limited operator access and poor operator conveyance. RedViking’s solution was a turnkey automotive assembly line built with flexible AGVs resulting in a clean, quiet, efficient assembly line with operator-friendly ergonomics and 360-degree access to the line.

Key Points:

  • Clean Floor Without Trip Hazards
  • Debris Management System
  • Quick Remove Side Panels for Maintenance
  • Heavy Lift Capacity
  • Dual Safety Scanners
  • 360-Degree Access
  • Flexible Line Changes Over a Weekend
  • Low Profile AGVs
  • 24/7 Movement and Lift Without Recharging
  • Operator Controlled Lift and Positioning
  • Synchronized and Independent Motion
  • Supports Heavy and Shifting Loads

Our Customer's Original Process

The large auto manufacturer had an old chain conveyance assembly line that was inflexible and difficult to scale. It posed safety risks for the operators, including trip hazards and collisions with the operator, as well as poor ergonomic positioning. The assembly line also had extensive requirements that resulted in costly line shut-downs.

RedViking’s Solution

We replaced the traditional conveyance with AGVs to offer assembly line flexibility, sustainability, and improved worker safety.  This eliminated the requirements for floor pits, drag chains, or hundreds of highly skilled changeover staff during shut down.

Inductive Power Transfer AGVs

Inductive power transfer (IPT®) powers these specialized AGVs. This power source requires only two shallow grooves cut into an iron-free floor and eliminates the need for battery charging or additional AGVs. An IPT® solution also provides for flexible and efficient navigation, as path changes may be made quickly. Line changes are instead made through software, controls, and minimal floor changes rather than tracks and chains. Downtime and change costs are significantly reduced.

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.

Operator Safety

One of our customer's goals was to improve operator safety. One of the many advantages of the IPT® AGV solution is enhanced safety. The flat concrete floor is free of obstructions and trip hazards, which greatly reduced the risk of trip-related injuries. It also improves operator ergonomic positioning, which also contributes to fewer injuries.

AGV Prove-Out for Uneventful Installations

Another benefit of working with RedViking is that we prove 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. 

We had another happy customer with this prove-out process.  They were 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 provides 360-degree access. The solution is operating through all shifts without interruption.

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