SAFELOG GmbH started the revision of its AGV portfolio at the beginning of 2021. With the market launch of the AGV M4 in July 2021, the revision of the first model has now been completed.
The increase in automation of intralogistic and production enables countless new applications for Automated Guided Vehicles. AGV manufacturers are challenged to adapt the software and hardware components for their devices to new tasks and increased requirements. These may be the battery capacity, implementation of the VDA5050 communication standard or compatibility with 5G networks. The intralogistics experts at SAFELOG are facing these challenges and revise all models in their AGV portfolio. The new SAFELOG AGV M4 will be the first of its generation, coming in summer 2021.
"The expectations of our customers regarding the performance and operational flexibility of AGVs are increasing from year to year," reports Mathias Behounek, Managing Director of SAFELOG GmbH. "Meeting these is an important goal of ours, and thus, of course, shape the demands we make on ourselves - we continuously improve our AGV models and exploit the maximum potential."
More drive torque and new lifting system
The specially developed brushless DC motor is decisive for the improved performance of the SAFELOG AGVs of generation '21. A low-wear and powerful drive ensures a significantly higher starting torque. Goods up to the maximum load of its respective unit can be moved without any problems. At the same time, the increased dead weight of the SAFELOG AGV M4 supports optimal power transmission. "With the drive, we can map a wide speed spectrum from 0.02 m/s to a maximum of 1.6 m/s. The reduced minimum speed opens up additional application possibilities for us in the field of mobile assembly systems," Behounek explains. The maximum tractive load is still 1,500 kg, while the capacity for Topload has been quintupled to 1,000 kg. For transporting and handling these higher loads, SAFELOG equips its AGV M4 with a stable steel chassis as well as an optional electric scissor lift. The lifting system, which is mounted on both sides, has a maximum lifting height of 40 mm to automatically pick up pallets and pallet cages as a top load.
Design changes open up additional areas of application
Trolleys and trailers for intralogistics processes are usually manufactured according to customer wishes or special application requirements. "In order to make the range of applications for the AGV M4 as extensive as possible, we have reduced the unit height by more than 15 per cent to 220 mm," Behounek explains. "This enables us to drive under a large number of the trolleys and trailers commonly available on the market. Those may be automatically coupled and decoupled by combining lift pins and snap latches." Two RFID readers on the top of each AGV confirm the control system as soon as a trolley is driven under. To simplify the coupling process, the SAFELOG AGV M4 was equipped with a camera system to automatically analyze the trolley position. Therewith, the AGV calculates the alignment and drives under the trailer accordingly. Precise adjustment of the trolley by a worker is therefore not necessary. The housing of the AGV M4 is dust and splash-proof according to IP54 to withstand demanding production environments.
Inductive charging system and scalable battery capacity
With the '21 generation of AGVs, the inductive charging systems from Wiferion GmbH will become standard on all new SAFELOG AGVs. The previous charging system via copper sliding contacts will continue to be offered as an option. The power supply to the AGVs via the Wiferion etaLINK 3000 charging system is fully automated during operation without interrupting the material flow. The charging process is wear-free, so there is no contamination of the working environment through abrasion, as occurs with sliding contacts. The base plate of the loading station can be approached from any direction. As soon as the receiver in the AGV is completely positioned above the stationary plate, the inductive coil is automatically switched on and charging of the LiFePo4 batteries starts. If no charging stop is needed, the charging plate can be driven over without reducing the process speed.
Compared to the previous model, the battery capacity of the SAFELOG AGV M4 is configurable. Depending on the application, the AGV can be equipped with up to four LiFePo4 batteries to achieve an optimal process adaptation. The capacity ranges from 21Ah to 84Ah. "If the AGVs are operated in multi-shift operation under high load, a solution with four batteries is recommended," Behounek explains. "If intermediate charging is possible on the process side, for example in buffer stations, one battery is perfectly sufficient for smooth operation."
The new generation of AGVs can be used in a process of older model AGVs, as SAFELOG provides software updates across generations. This means that swarms consisting of AGVs of different AGV generations can be operated together without restrictions. The swarm intelligence of the agent-based control system connects young and old and ensures successful management of the intralogistics tasks at hand.