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AMRs vs AGVs: What are the key differences

AMRs vs AGVs: What are the key differences

Over the past several years, as warehouse automation has become a necessity rather than a luxury, companies of all sizes have started investing more in warehouse robots. Using automated robots helps to streamline how goods are sorted and shipped, increases productivity, and raises the stakes of the game for warehouses throughout the country.

As demand for warehouse automation continues to grow, warehouses big and small are looking into which robots make sense for their warehouse. At ABCO Systems, we want you to understand the different options for robots and which solution might help take your warehouse to the next level.

AMRs

What are AMRs?

AMR stands for Autonomous Mobile Robot — a self-contained machine that can be programmed to carry out a wide range of material moving activities.

An AMR does not need human supervision thanks to sophisticated sensors and cameras that it uses to see. This gives it the ability to detect if a human or obstacle is in the way and move out of the way accordingly which helps keep warehouses safe even while introducing automation.

What can AMRs do?

  • Transport and sort goods
  • Help with the picking process
  • Manage inventory
  • Avoid collisions with humans, objects, and fixed structures

Benefits of AMRs:

  • Increases efficiency and productivity by eliminating the need for workers to complete repetitive, physical tasks
  • Frees up employees to focus on more important tasks
  • Streamlines picking processes which reduces human error
  • Saves time, cuts costs, and increases productivity
  • Can work safely with humans
  • Smaller than other machinery including forklifts
  • Can obey programming instructions
  • Can be deployed in minutes with proper route mapping

Types of AMRs:

  1. Picking and putting which picks up items and places them where they are needed
  2. Inventory management to track SKUs in real-time and alert the need to replenish low stock
  3. Transportation for bringing direct goods to their next stop

AMRs are dependable and can work for 12-15 hours before needing to be charged. A single robot can free up to two employees, allowing them to work on other more important jobs. If your team is constantly carting things around large areas, AMR technology will benefit your warehouse.

AGVs

What are AGVs?

AGV stands for Autonomous Guided Vehicle — an unmanned guided vehicle that completes automated repetitive tasks that help keep warehouses moving smoothly. AGVs move materials from one part of the warehouse to another, often delivered directly to processing lines via a predetermined path mapped by QR codes on the floor. By using an AGV, a warehouse is more likely to keep running smoothly rather than deal with delays due to waiting on humans.

What differentiates an AGV from an AMR is an AGV travels on a predetermined path and cannot make corrections to its path in real time.

What can AGVs do?

  • Transport raw materials
  • Deliver materials directly to production lines
  • Deliver materials without needing human interaction
  • Move materials to storage or retrieve items from storage

Benefits of AGVs:

  • Increases efficiency and productivity by eliminating the need for workers to complete repetitive, physical tasks
  • Frees up employees to focus on more important tasks
  • Streamlines picking processes which reduces human error
  • Saves time, cuts costs, and increases productivity
  • Can work safely with humans
  • Smaller than other machinery including forklifts
  • Can obey programming instructions

Types of AGVs:

  1. Carts that move around the facility and carry materials
  2. Tuggers which can pull carts with loads up to 50,000lbs
  3. Forklifts that can move paper rolls, coils, and more
  4. Unit-load that can move single products such as a pallet or bin
  5. Heavy haul that can move machinery up to 250,000lbs

How to choose between AMR and AGV

AGVs have been a warehouse staple for decades and were first introduced in the 1950s. Until recently, they were one of the only options for automating the repetitive tasks of bringing goods from one place to another. However, with the introduction of AMRs, their status as the primary warehouse robot is being challenged.

AMRs are more sophisticated, flexible, and cost-effective. They are also more autonomous when maneuvering and can detect objects and move around them or stop. For example, if an AMR detects a human moving towards it is trained to get out of the way while AVRs follow predetermined tracks on the floor and cannot adjust their path, even to avoid hitting a person or machine.

5 Differences between AMRs and AGVs:

  1. AMRs have better data collection than AGVs
  2. AMRs are safer than AGVs because AMRs can move around objects and humans in their path while AGVs cannot
  3. AMRs are more cost-effective than AGVs as it does not require changing the building infrastructure needed to create the predetermined paths AGVs use
  4. AGVs have a simpler control system and sensors than an AMR
  5. AGVs stick to their path while AMRs can become “lost” when crossing large expanses of floor space

We hope that this article was able to shed some light upon the differences between AGVs and AMRs. While Automation continues to become an integral part of warehouse operations, robotics may still feel like uncharted territory that is financially out of reach for many businesses.  Remember that the cost of robotics is highly dependent upon many factors.  As a Systems Integrator, ABCO Systems is at your service to help you navigate your way through the countless options in robotics and all other aspects of automation.

To learn more about if an AGV or AMR is right for your warehouse, or to set up a consultation to discuss your challenges and how we can offer solutions to fit your unique needs, CLICK HERE and an ABCO Systems Team member will put you in touch with the right team to make your dreams of Robotics a reality.