Smart Manufacturing: AMRs strut their stuff during pandemic, beyond
Michael Fleming, a systems integrator with decades of experience, said a systems integrator is optional because AMRs are designed and engineered to be easy and fast to install and handy to reconfigure as requirements in an industrial plant change.
“AMRs are focused on the user/owner being able to program, customize and integrate them themselves, whereas AGV [automated guided vehicle] makers tend to do that for the customer,” said Fleming, who is global product manager for AMRs and AGVs for systems integrator MHS.
While AMRs and AGVs may do some of the same tasks, many of which are focused on moving material from one location to another, there are other differences between the two technologies.
“The biggest differential is in the mindset that the AMR is decentralized and doesn’t need a fleet manager,” he added. “Within the last two years, AMR makers have begun offering a fleet manager for the very reason that AGVs have always had a fleet manager.”
That has to do with the number of autonomous vehicles operating in one location. With growing numbers, eventually the business has a fleet, and management of that fleet becomes a necessity.
“As fleet sizes grow and tasks targeted are more determinisitic in nature [the tasks need to be executed within a specific timeframe consistently thoughout the day], the need for efficient traffic management and order allocation management is being recognized by the AMR manufacturers,” Fleming said.