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How TVC Nav helped our customer retrofit their fleet of AGVs to reach the next level of automation.


Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) have many forms of navigation, some require added infrastructure such as magnetic tape or QR code; whilst newer technologies such as natural feature navigation using 2D Lidar sensors provide greater flexibility. As natural feature technology becomes more prevalent and mature, this form of navigation is gaining further preference from users as they can freely change the AGV’s trajectory and route via the user interface without having to manually manipulate the existing infrastructures. (Magnetic tape or QR code)

In the case of certain manufacturing facilities where production lines are constantly dynamic and producing various high mix, high value goods, SLAM/Natural feature navigation AGVs are more sustainable and suitable. The good news is customers who have invested in magnetic tape AGVs in a prior era are able to easily transform their existing vehicles to natural feature AGVs through a process called “retrofitting”. Today, we’ll take a look at how we utilized our product – TVC NAV to assist our customer transform their fleet of 20+ magnetic tape AGVs to flexible SLAM AGVs.

The Challenges.

  1. Large Environment
    The customers’ facility was >20,000m2. This large map size meant the selected Lidar for the retrofitting project will need to have a high range and resolution in order to achieve the navigation accuracy required by the project. The accuracy of the scanned map directly affects the navigation accuracy, therefore selecting a suitable Lidar as well as tuning the map with our “Map Editing Tool” was a crucial step for success.

  2. High Accuracy Required
    The customers’ fleet of AGVs need to interface with existing machinery and equipment in their production facility to achieve complete intra-logistics automation. Therefore, the required accuracy for the AGV to intercept with the conveyor to receive and feed material is in the mm level.

    In order to meet the accuracy requirements, besides the Lidar specifications, the navigation system needs to be highly accurate and robust. TVC Nav, – our proprietary navigation software is able to achieve this. For the project our team of experts assisted our customer in multiple rounds of testing and optimizations to achieve the desired results for success.

  3. Elevator & Conveyor Communication
    The project required the AGV to travel across multiple different floors via an elevator. The customers’ existing fleet manager used to control the fleet of 60 magnetic tape AGVs did not possess this functionality. For the retrofitting project, our engineers customized and developed the elevator and conveyor communication feature.

  4. Dynamic Environment
    The customers’ production facility has quite a dynamic environment as there are workers on site carrying out their day to day tasks. In order for human workers and AGV robots to coexist and work together in a shared space, a heightened level of safety and intelligence is required.

    TVC Nav has excellent obstacle avoidance and safety features. When the AGV is faced with an obstacle, it is able to stop and either avoid the obstacle by diverting its’ trajectory to a clear path or wait for the obstacle to move away and continue its’ planned trajectory.



The Solution:

The solution we provided for our customers involved 3 phases:

Phase 1

Hardware selection and consultation:

        • Based on the project requirements and customers’ budget, we advised and selected the Lidar model and computing unit that were suitable to run our TVC Nav. We conducted the integration on site, and supported with any fine tunings and changes needed to be made to suit the motor and encoders selected by the customer.

Phase 2

Development, testing and iterations:

        • Our engineering team worked on developing additional features required by the customer and performing integrations with the customers business management software to ensure the desired complete intra-logistic automation results were achieved. At the same time we made optimizations to ensure the navigation accuracy and precision was achieved project targets.

Phase 3

Scaling & Training:

        • Once we have completed smoothly the retrofitting of the 1st two units of AGV retrofitting, our engineering team is supporting our customer with training in order to scale and replicate the results with the remaining AGVs. During this training process, our engineers remained available for remote support 24/7 and conducted weekly site visits to ensure all AGVs ran smoothly

The Results:

Watch how TVC Nav helped our customer achieve success with their retrofitting project here:

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