MHI Solutions - Volume 3, Issue 2 - (Page 101)

SOlUTIONS SPOTlIGHT Assembling Assembly lines Assembly lines are on the move, thanks to automatic guided vehicle systems By MICHAEl FICKES M embers of MHI's Automatic Guided Vehicle Systems (AGVS) Product Group are the industry's leading suppliers of automatic guided vehicle systems. Automatic guided vehicle (AGV) systems move parts and materials in many industries-automotive, chemicals, plastics, hospital, newspaper, commercial printing, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, warehousing and distribution and manufacturing. For manufacturers, however, AGV systems can do more than carry parts and materials from location to location. They can form the actual assembly lines where the parts and materials are put together. Assembly lines at Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Harley Davidson, John Deere and Yamaha are composed of AGV systems. "Automakers have only a few days to change their lines to accommodate new car designs," says David Noble, senior sales engineer with Daifuku North America Holding Company. "Assembly lines consisting of physical pieces of equipment tied together and bolted to the floor make changes difficult to make on a short schedule. The auto industry searched for years for ideas that would speed line conversions." AGV systems answered the call. In fact, the auto industry discovered AGV systems quite a while ago. The first automatic guided vehicles were manufactured in the 1950s. Called tuggers, they were tow tractors used to ferry parts to stations on the manufacturing line. On an AGV system assembly line, driverless vehicles move from workstation to workstation carrying parts and partial assemblies. A worker or workers at a station carries out the assembly task, and the system sends the AGV along to the next station. Ergonomics Typical auto assembly lines today use two-part vehicles: the vehicle itself plus a custom designed, welded-steel loadhandling frame that bolts to the vehicle. The frame can have built in automation. For instance, it may consist of a scissor lift that can alter the elevation of the assembly. At John Deere, for instance, operators log into their assembly line workstations, Noble says. Then, as the carts arrive they adjust to the ergonomic needs of the worker. The load-handling frame, for instance, may raise or lower to accommodate shorter and taller workers. Automatic guided carts For auto assembly lines, the loadhandling frames mount on specially designed carts-automatic guided carts or AGCs. An AGC is a streamlined, A worker mounts a tire on a John Deere lawn tractor carried by an AGV system assembly line at the company's Horicon, Wis., plant. * MHI SolutIonS 101

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MHI Solutions - Volume 3, Issue 2

CEO Update
Wearable and Mobile Technologies
The Rise of Automation and Robotics in Supply Chains
Disruptive Technology
The Power of the Cloud
Connections between Education, Industry Key to Training the Workforce of the Future
The Food and Beverage Industry
ProMat 2015 Preview
2015 MHI Innovation Awards to be Awarded During ProMat
Industry Trends
Economic Market Analysis
Collaborate With Supply Chain Management Programs to Solve the Workforce Shortage
Safer Handling
MHI Solution and Product Groups—Moving Forward
Solution Group Update
Solutions Spotlight
Roadmap Update
Where Are They Now
MHI News
Index of Advertisers

MHI Solutions - Volume 3, Issue 2