Automation is not only about efficiency. It is also about safety. Moving things in a controlled way in manufacturing plants and warehouses contributes significantly to fewer injuries and less damage to goods, pallets and racks. Zero accidents is a vision within reach.
Automated guided vehicles, such as mobile robots, carts and self-driving lift trucks, drive with care and adapt the speed to the situation. Should an obstacle appear, such as a manual lift truck, safety sensors on the vehicle react in 60 milliseconds (vehicle based on Kollmorgen automation kit). The average human reaction time is 215 millisecond (be amazed by your “slow” reaction time at Human Benchmark).
Automated guided vehicles give managers the opportunity to protect human lives in daily operations, while improving quality, speeding up production and reducing waste. But is there a catch? Are automated guided vehicles only for large companies with big wallets? Not at all. Many people are surprised by the modest initial investment and short payback time.
Usually, the payback period for a system with automated guided vehicles is 1-2 years. Plant managers can look forward to many years of profits, while knowing their investment also leads to a better workplace for the staff. When you know that you will be exposed to fewer dangerous situations, you tend to be more positive toward your employer, put more effort into your work and be more willing to stay longer with the company.
With automated guided vehicles, efficiency and safety go hand in hand. You gain many benefits in the short term, for both people and profits, and in the long term, you can strive for the ultimate vision: Zero accidents.