AMR vs. AGV: Which One is Better for Automated Material Handling

Automated Material Automation

Automation is becoming the new normal for warehouse and manufacturing operations in the age of industry 4.0. You will agree with me without a single question. Automation is the need of the hour for manufacturing and retail industries to stay up to their competitive edge in this ever-evolving world. Thanks to the technological advancements and innovative artificial intelligence algorithms which automated material handling solutions came into existence.

Technologies such as conveyors, collaborative robot arms, forklifts, enhanced picking, and sorting, are advancing swiftly, inversely proportional to the cost. It means the cost of such technologies is reducing as they are evolving. This fact makes these options easily accessible to companies of all sizes, shapes, and types.

The advent of material handling solutions, especially automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), is one such technological advancement that has been the center of attention of retailers. They help warehouses in a wide range of material handling activities. Moreover, AGVs and AMRs play a promising role in streamlining several warehouse operations.  

But the question arises: what are the facts that make AGV and AMR different from each other? Will AMR replace AGV over time? Also, which one is better for automated material handling?

This post will clear all your doubts and answer all your questions. So without further ado, let’s get started! 

What is an Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR)?

AMR is the abbreviation of autonomous mobile robots. It is a vehicle that uses onboard processors and sensors and moves material from one point to another without the need for physical markers or guides. It learns about the environment. Moreover, it remembers the location and plans its path from one point to another dynamically.

  • Responsiveness: AMRs are smart enough to sense and avoid blocked paths and obstacles. It is capable enough to find the best route towards the destination.
  • Operational flexibility: AMR plans the shortest route from one point to another dynamically based on present conditions and requirements. The AMR path changes as the work changes.
  • Deployment: Great AMRs can be implemented and put to work in less than 15 minutes.
  • Navigation: AMRs find the best possible route from one point to another by utilizing robust technology such as Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), LiDAR sensors, and more.

What is an Automated Guided Vehicle(AGV)?

AGV is the abbreviation of automated guided vehicles. It is an industrial vehicle for material handling automation

AGVs can be pre-programmed for the transportation of goods in a manufacturing or warehouse ecosystem. 

  • Responsiveness: It has limited flexibility to acquire environmental changes or changes in workflow. 
  • Operational flexibility: The operating pattern of AGV requires the repetition of the entire deployment procedure. 
  • Deployment: AGVs require the installation of navigation guides. Sometimes it requires substantial facility renovation. 
  • Navigation: Wires or magnetic strips embedded on the warehouse floor guide AGV. 

Comparison between AMR and AGV 

Implementation of automated and robust material handling equipment is the most efficient way to establish a connection among different areas of your production center, warehouse, or logistics. They are used in environments with repetitive and continuous material flows just like automated conveyors. They help to reduce accidents, boost productivity, and save time. AGVs have dominated the market for the past few decades. They move in a guided way and have come up against formidable competitors. AMRs are also known as autonomous intelligent vehicles. It functions without a preset route. 

Keep reading to understand the difference between autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and automated guided vehicles (AGVs).

Speed and Load Capacity: Light vs. Heavy Goods 

AMRs were used to transfer goods that are not heavy priorly. while AGVs were tasked with automatically moving pallets. AMRs were hauled and tweaked over time. The autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) of this present age are capable to transport heavy pallets from one point to another.  As of now, AMRs can transport up to 1.65 to 2.2 tons, whereas AGVs can transport 5.5 tons approximately. Both AGVs and AMRs can be customized according to the requirements of the organization. 

Safety: Improvisation vs. Predefined Route  

Both material handling systems are extremely safe. Thanks to technological advancements, and several safety devices including cameras, laser sensors, protectors, and more. AGVs provide an enhanced sense of safety because the operators are familiar with the path. Contrary to this, the behavior of AMRs is very unpredictable. They stop suddenly when an object or hurdle comes across their path. However, they ensure accident-free circulation. Employees of the industry should get themselves familiar with how AGVs and AMRs work so that they know how to behave in their vicinity. It also helps employees to develop a better understanding of how to behave in case of an emergency. 

Price: Cost per Installation vs. Cost per Robot 

The cost per robot of AMRs is higher than that of AGVs. It is crucial to note that AGVs necessarily notify the infrastructure of the warehouse for the installation of wires and magnetic strips. This enables vehicles to navigate. AMRs have higher unit costs as compared to AGVs. The warehouse does not have to meet certain requirements for the smooth implementation of AMRs.  

Adaptability: Open Circuit vs. Closed Circuit

AGVs are extremely efficient when they are traveling along their redefined path. They work appropriately as long as a hurdle interrupts its path. They stop immediately when an unnecessary object comes across their path. On the flip side, AMRs can create an alternative route when they face any obstacle in that route. AMRs modify their path constantly and this makes them more efficient. 

Which One is Better? 

Consequently, the factors that determine which one out of the two material handling systems is better are those having to do with the organization’s logistics planning, the scope of application, and the objective. As every coin has two sides, both AGV and AMR are strengths and weaknesses. One of them will be more appropriate depending upon the ecosystem and application of the industry.  

AMR is the most appropriate material handling equipment if the project needs a long trip and several routes that do not follow the same pattern mandatorily. It makes AGVs more viable economically when it is implemented in the new building. Hence organizations should choose between AGVs and AMRs based on their requirements. 

Interested in creating supply chain benefits for your industry? Are your operations configured appropriately enough to handle future expectations? Are you familiar with your current cost per item shipped? All of these questions can be answered to help your organization’s bottom line by retaining the use of professional services by MWI Solutions. McCombs-Wall Inc offers a comprehensive range of leading technologies and professional services. The ultimate goal of MWI Solutions and its product InterSort is to create a competitive advantage for your industry.

McCombs-Wall Inc comes with the following set of technologies:

    • Space and storage planning
    • Order management system 
    • Warehouse management system 
    • Warehouse control system 
    • End of line automation
    • Sorting and conveying systems
    • Goods to person
    • Order fulfillment system

So visit the official website of MWI Solutions and choose what’s best for you!

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