Astradis - Automatic specification tool for process-specific selection of AGVs for industrial introduction in SMEs

When introducing problem-specific solutions, such as the optimization of intralogistic processes through the introduction of automated guided vehicles (AGVs), small and medium-sized enterprises are often faced with the challenges of keeping track of all the information, correctly classifying the framework conditions and thus ultimately making economic decisions. This is exactly where the research project ASTRADIS, funded by the Bremer Aufbaubank through the European Regional Development Fund, comes in.

This project of BIBA and Plan B was about the development and research of a support tool, which facilitates the introduction and planning of AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles), especially for SMEs, by supporting the user in the selection process and taking into account AGVs and AGVs offered by different manufacturers.

Here you will find insights into the research results and the prototype of the selection tool for automated guided vehicles.

Flowchart as concept for the process of assisted AGV planning
Figure 1: Concept for the process of assisted AGV planning. Graphic: BIBA

Motivation

Automated guided vehicles (AGVs), automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and also autonomous mobile systems are considered to be highly relevant for the design of production and logistics systems. Nevertheless, their use of automated guided vehicles lags behind material flow technologies and transport solutions that are classified as similar or even less relevant. The reasons for this are often to be found in the high time and cost involved in planning and the specialist knowledge required for this. Yet the advantages are clear: increased flexibility, optimal utilization of technical equipment, reduction of empty transports and transport damage, and the relief of employees, to name just a few.

In a joint research project of BIBA and Plan B Automatisierung, funded by the EU under the European Regional Development Fund ERDF, the planning, selection and verification process for AGVs (automated guided vehicles) and AGVs (automated guided vehicles) could be combined and simplified in a software-based support tool. It can thus contribute to making the introduction of automated guided vehicles in companies faster and more cost-effective.

Component diagram for the notified planning tool
Figure 2: Component diagram for the notified planning tool. Graphic: BIBA

Tasks at a glance

  • FTF market research and systematics incl. development of a FTF catalog
  • Conceptual design of the support tool for FTF selection and FTF planning
  • Mapping of a FTF selection process as a further development to the existing analog questionnaires
  • Recording process for the customer-specific use case taking into account the transport task in the real environment
  • Direct interface to the material flow simulation to determine the required transport capacities and verification of the AGV planning
  • Development and implementation of the tool, the interfaces and the user interface
  • Integration to a complete system and evaluation

Results and benefits for the user

Detailed planning in 5 steps
Basic requirements - layout - process definition - AGV selection - simulation

The user-friendly software solution Astradis offers the possibility to enter the topic without detailed knowledge or planning expertise in the area of automated guided vehicles.

The user is guided through the entire planning process for FTF selection with the guided recording. Various functionalities, which can also be used individually, are available.

In a first step, the manufacturer-independent FTF catalog can be searched. The number of solutions can be reduced by manual filters and, after selecting a solution, contact can be made with the relevant manufacturer. This already provides a good overview of the types of AGVs that fit the task. The catalog thus also functions as a context-based idea generator. Currently, the catalog includes about 320 automated guided vehicles and transport systems (as of 2022) from various manufacturers.

Screenshot of FTF catalog software with an AGV selection and filter functions
Figure 3: Screenshot of the FTF catalog

Alternatively, it is possible to reduce the solution set of the driverless trans vehicles by means of the assisted requirements recording program-controlled. This is based on a questionnaire, but is much more convenient and structured in use than analog templates. In addition, the digitized data can be used directly via the software interfaces. On this basis, a technical exchange with the suppliers of the AGV solutions or a system integrator is possible for further AGV planning.

Screenshot of the AGV catalog software with guided requirements recording and comparison of the abstracted process data with the AGV catalog.
Figure 4: Guided requirements recording (top) and continuous comparison of the abstracted process data with the AGV catalog (bottom)

The planning of an AGV system can also be further detailed by the user himself. With the help of the layout editor, the spatial conditions can be intuitively recorded on the basis of a building floor plan and relevant locations such as handling and loading points, the transport routes, but also gates and obstacles can be drawn in the 2D layout by drag & drop. Optionally, the layout can be created in an on-site inspection with an augmented reality (AR) app. The description of the transport task is effortless and without much prior knowledge via prefabricated building blocks with defined input fields.

Browser-based layout editor for defining the deployment scenario via predefined building blocks that can be placed and connected with each other via drag & drop.
Fig. 5: Browser-based layout editor for defining the deployment scenario using predefined modules that can be placed and connected with each other via drag & drop.

With the integrated interface to the material flow simulation, the AGV planning can be verified by the simulation based on this data situation and the number of necessary automated guided vehicles and thus the quantity structure for the request can be determined.

As a result, the user is provided with an information package containing the collected requirements, the transport profiles and the route matrix. The special added value is thus the systematic linking of structured queries, the specific transport task and the hall layout with existing planning approaches and FTF expertise.

The result

Simulation model of an automatically generated layout.
Figure 6: Simulation model of an automatically generated layout.
  • Practical tool for holistic, digital and automated planning of automated guided vehicles (AGVs)
  • Independent FTF catalog with 320 automated guided vehicles (as of 2022)
  • Customized vehicle selection through an assisted digital questionnaire
  • Intuitive layout editor with drag&drop elements for handling points, routes and existing restrictions
  • Systematic and guided creation of transport profiles
  • Simulation-supported determination of the required number of vehicles
  • Software basis for a multitude of further applications and extensions

To the detailed report "Astradis" from October 2022 (German language, PDF file)

To the website of BIBA - Bremen Institute for Production and Logistics (English language)

Do you like what you see?

This approach is interesting for your production, or do you have further questions about one of our solutions?

Feel free to contact us. We would be happy to advise you!

Stephan Schnitger - Sales Management - Plan B GmbH - Montageanlagen

Stephan Schnitger

Sales Management

Phone +49 421 22325 - 218

E-Mail: schnitger@plan-b-bremen.de

Interesting solution?

This approach is interesting for your production, or do you have further questions about one of our solutions?

Feel free to contact us. We would be happy to advise you!

Jörn Fischer - Factory Consulting - Plan B GmbH - Montageanlagen

Dr. Jörn E. Fischer

Phone +49 421 22 325 221

E-Mail: info@plan-b-fc.de

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