Automatic Guided Vehicles are safer than fork lifts, says JBT


Maximising productivity and safety: when it comes to the timely movement of materials in a busy warehouse or distribution environment, fully achieving these two objectives is critical.

Traditionally, manual fork lift trucks have been seen as the ‘go-to’ option but, increasingly, the use of Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for handling repetitive movements are streamlining operations all over Europe.

The world’s largest supplier of AGVs is JBT Corporation, which has been designing and manufacturing a range of systems from its UK headquarters in Leicester for over 25 years. These systems are now in use throughout the UK and Europe in leading packaging, production and food processing organisations.

“There’s sometimes an initial perception that automated systems such as AGVs aren’t nearly as safe as fork lift trucks controlled by personnel,” says Kenny Watson, JBT’s European business development manager. “This isn’t true. AGVs improve safety as they’re programmed to automatically account for every aspect of an environment. This eliminates human error which is the main cause of accidents.

“JBT AGVs are fitted with a number of safety sensors that protect line operators and other personnel. These sensors bring the AGV to a safe stop before contacting any obstacle that might be in its path.”

AGVs often resemble a manual fork lift truck but they operate automatically without an operator. They navigate using feedback from reflective markers that are mounted on posts or columns. This laser navigation system allows the AGV to maintain very precise positioning during operation. The AGVs provide unmanned, routine movement of materials to support operations at a facility. Tasks typically include retrieving materials, delivering raw materials, moving work-in-process or finished goods, and removing waste. AGVs can also deliver packaging materials to the point of use including empty pallets, containers, lids, plastic wrap/labels, and cardboard.

“Many organisations are now having to increase efficiency, and automating material handling systems can lead to significant improvements,” says Watson. “AGV systems are extremely flexible and scalable so that they can change and grow with the organisation. AGVs can also relieve staff of simple repetitive tasks, so that their skills can be better used in other parts of the process, leading to a more streamlined, cost-efficient operation. We typically see payback well within two years.”

JBT Automatic Guided Vehicle Systems are exhibiting at both IntraLogisteX (Ricoh Arena, Coventry, UK, 25 – 26 March 2015) and Anuga FoodTec (24 – 27 March 2015, Cologne, Germany).


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Additional information below on JBT’s AGV product line


Further information from:               Sally Masterson
Masterson Media, Edinburgh, UK
T: +44 (0)1875 615007
M:   078 998 12254