IPCM n. 75 | May-June 2022

Page 138


Automated Guided Vehicles in Finishing UCIF – Italian Surface Treatment Equipment Manufacturers’ Association Milan, Italy



n the last article published on ipcm®, we dealt with the new

This also translates into the possibility of linking them with MES

technologies and dynamics required of industrial surface treatment

systems to run automatic cycles with fleet control for the safe

processes by the market1. These do not involve only materials,

movement of multiple AGVs through natural navigation and active

surfaces, and cost optimisation, but also modularity, digitalisation, and

control of obstacles on the route with collision avoidance and, if

automation. This brings us now to the topic of design and integration of

feasible, autonomous route change features. This ensures safe

smart AGV systems for internal logistics.

interaction even in the presence of sudden obstacles and/or people

AGV stands for Automated/Automatic Guided Vehicle: the name itself

thanks to their stop functions. Precise positioning to within +/- 10 mm

suggests the idea of an object capable of moving autonomously, which

is also ensured.

is the actual purpose of AGVs. This technology has existed for many

On the other hand, one aspect that needs to be assessed during

years, from simple models with elementary drive units to modern

project development is that of AVGs’ energy supply, as no physical

systems with natural navigation, which are able to move autonomously

connections can be put in place during movement. Actually, there exist

within production departments using various technologies, from

various solutions, such as recharging on special fixed stations with

odometry to laser detection and, in some cases, GPS. In the automotive

autonomous management of these phases exploiting idle time, or

industry, AGV systems are used for a variety of tasks, such as

recharging systems at workstations using super capacitor technology,

transporting workpieces among different points on workstations.

or even inductive charging both on the move and on fixed stations.

It is indeed no coincidence that, in coating departments, their use is

Another advantage of AGVs is the possibility to offer various

becoming more and more widespread for transporting chassis, with

configurations, from integrated lifting systems to bi-directional

clear advantages in terms of flexibility compared with conventional

roller conveyors and on-board 6-axis robots. The world of AGVs is

handling systems, such as overhead or floor conveyors, belts, or roller

undoubtedly evolving and their use in various industrial sectors is

conveyors. Benefits also include these vehicles’ safe interaction with the

becoming increasingly widespread due to their ability to transport

surrounding environment and, above all, with operators, through the

even bulky and heavy objects. This can take finishing processes to the

use of laser scanners and presence sensors.

next level – and the Italian companies represented by UCIF are already using these technologies to make their solutions faster and more



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N. 75 - MAY/JUNE 2022 - international PAINT&COATING magazine