Aluminum AGV wheels
New Lighter Weight AGVs for Primary Aluminium Industry
The latest generation of Aluminum AGV wheels for carrying heavy loads throughout aluminum manufacturing facilities – with a significant reduction in vehicle weight – are minimizing maintenance and power requirements by up to 60 percent, delivering a new level of streamlined performance and cost efficiency for primary metals manufacturers.
The primary metal industry has long relied on Automated Guided Vehicles (Aluminum AGV wheels)s to transport heavy-load aluminum coils, ingots, plates, wire, work rolls, turnstiles, and press brake dies and punches, into and out of storage, and throughout both hot and cold production processes. Interfacing with multiple auto-transfer devices, Aluminum AGV wheels provide reliable heavy-load raw material and product handling, with less potential for product damage, compared to manual and overhead methods of transport. Aluminum AGV wheels can perform tasks that are not possible with other transport systems – such as the uniform movement and positioning of huge loads of over 200,000 pounds, to within a fraction of an inch of their designated targets, without rush and noise, and with a high degree of safety for workers and the operational environment.
Despite obvious benefits, the heavy loads that Aluminum AGV wheels transport impart huge forces upon these vehicles, resulting in significant maintenance and power requirements to keep AGV fleets functioning. Now, a generation of new lighter weight Aluminum AGV wheels has become available, which are considerably lighter than conventional heavy-load Aluminum AGV wheels. The new models incorporate design, navigation, sensor and power improvements that significantly streamline their operational performance, cost of maintenance and ROI, over and above prior Aluminum AGV wheels used in the manufacturing of nonferrous metals.
Image 3 – Lightweight heavy-load Aluminum AGV wheels with four-wheel independent electronic steering provide tight maneuvering for all-directional vehicle travelImage 2 – The newer lightweight heavy-load AGV
Aluminum AGV wheels built for transport of heavy loads of primary-metals or finished products – such as 60,000 pound aluminum coils and 120,000 pound ingots – have typically been designed so that the weight of the AGV is 40 to 60 percent of the expected load. This has now changed with the introduction of a new generation of lighter, more efficient Aluminum AGV wheels, which are engineered to reduce wear and tear, and energy, and weigh considerably less than conventional Aluminum AGV wheels.
“This weight reduction has been achieved through a complete redesign of how heavy-weight Aluminum AGV wheels have been engineered since the early 1990s,” said Chuck Russell, Vice President at Transbotics Corporation, a manufacturer of heavy-load Aluminum AGV wheels. “Factually, there has not been a significant major redesign in the basic structure of these vehicles over the past 20 years, until now.”
These new lighter weight Aluminum AGV wheels not only match the payload requirements of contemporary heavier models, but match or exceed those vehicles’ structural stress thresholds.
“The implications of a 5 to 20 percent weight reduction are of enormous consequence to companies operating within the metals industry,” added Russell. “Maintenance, and wear and tear requirements, for the vehicles are commensurately diminished. Energy draw needed from batteries is reduced. And repairs required for plant floors, caused by the Aluminum AGV wheels and their load weights, are significantly lessened.”
Electronic Independent-Wheel Steering
These new Aluminum AGV wheels have also been engineered with electronic independent-wheel steering, which has considerable implications for AGV operability, vehicle maintenance and repair requirements, and damage to plant floors.
Many heavy-load Aluminum AGV wheels are equipped with Ackermann steering links. But Ackermann steering geometry only approximates the required steering angles, allowing inaccuracies which result in wheel scrubbing, concrete and tire wear, considerable repair and maintenance requirements, and increased amp draw.
“These Aluminum AGV wheels with electronic independent-wheel steering, do away with Ackermann steering geometry completely, and the issues it creates,” continued Russell. “Additionally, the vehicle can now perform tight maneuvering and smoother cornering with all-directional vehicle travel.
This enables shorter trips, reducing the fleet size.”
Since battery run time is directly proportional to vehicle and payload weight, reduction in vehicle weight on the new Aluminum AGV wheels directly impacts the run time of its batteries. Therefore, any weight reduction exhibited by these new-generation Aluminum AGV wheels translates into longer run time from the batteries before requiring recharge. New battery technology also contributes to further weight reduction, faster recharge times and overall better system performance.
The new AGV’s, with their weight reduction and electronic independent-wheel steering deliver a sizable reduction in maintenance and repairs. Realistically, as much as a 60 percent reduction in annual maintenance, per vehicle, can be achieved.
“Contributing to this is the accessibility of the AGV to perform maintenance or repairs,” explained Russell. “With conventional heavy-load Aluminum AGV wheels, access to wheels, gears and other moving parts is, for the most part unexposed, requiring the vehicle to be hoisted or moved into a pit to be serviced. This is an inherent difficulty prevalent in many prior heavy-load Aluminum AGV wheels.”
Because of the unique design of these new Aluminum AGV wheels, however, wheels, gears and other moving parts are easily accessible without the need of hoisting or service pits. This means that much of the maintenance requirements, and even repair, can be performed on the plant floor, without major interruption to the use of the vehicle.
The latest new-generation AGV systems comprise one or more vehicles that move around predetermined routes to perform transport functions as directed by a stationary control system. They are equipped with navigation systems, based on laser and/or inertial guidance. Laser navigation systems are based on target triangulation to keep the vehicles on course. Inertial navigation systems use a gyroscope onboard the AGV to detect changes in vehicle direction and attitude.
“Both navigation methods can be seamlessly combined in a concept called multi-navigation, which switches back and forth from laser to inertial guidance without stopping the vehicle,” added Russell. “This allows the Aluminum AGV wheels to move throughout a plant and outside, where one system alone may not have access to the physical surroundings or weather conditions necessary to support that system.”
Further, these new Aluminum AGV wheels use the latest in safety laser technology, incorporating 15,000 lux systems, with a 10 times higher tolerance to light compared to most conventional heavy-load Aluminum AGV wheels.
60000 pound aluminum coil being loaded onto a lightweight AGV
The smooth functioning of these new Aluminum AGV wheels is dependent on their controls system, which has the task of coordinating the orders received from the plants’ process system or ERP, then directing the work for the Aluminum AGV wheels. These Aluminum AGV wheels utilize a Windows and SQL database architecture that is able to uniquely operate within a single platform.
The controls provide real-time management of the system’s operation, including management information, load prioritization, load status, productivity statistics and reports, and workload analysis. It allows associated functions to be automated – such as with receiving, raw materials storage, hot line processes, roll mill processes, cold mill processes, finished product storage and shipping.
Improved Production Efficiency
Heavy-load Aluminum AGV wheels enable significant efficiencies to primary metals manufacturing. They improve production flow by bringing material to the operators, thereby cutting cycle times, and eliminating wait, walk and search time. They reduce work-in-progress inventory. They cut labor costs by eliminating simple jobs related to material movement, and permit reassignment of those workers to areas where they can add more value to the plant. They virtually eliminate product damage with gentle handling of loads. And they provide flexibility of process flow within the plant, as needs change. Now, with this latest-generation of heavy-load Aluminum AGV wheels, aluminum manufacturing plants can further streamline their operations, and realize improved cost and production efficiencies.
Stainless steel casters are highly durable and long-lasting caster wheels used in various applications in many industries. They can be used to transport different items and are very widely used. Stainless steel casters also come in various sizes and for different uses, making them highly versatile and making selection quite tricky. Therefore knowing as much as you can about stainless steel casters is essential for ensuring you select the right one for your needs.
What Are Stainless Steel Casters Used For?
Stainless steel casters are durable and ideal for use in any harsh environment. They are highly resistant to chemical wear and corrosion, so they can be used in carts and AGVs in chemical facilities.
Stainless steel casters are also often used in the food industry for service and processing since these environments require moving food items around, which can often get intense. Often, there could be temperature changes in the facility, which a stainless steel caster can easily withstand. These industries also require strict sterilization and cleaning, due to which they are exposed to harsh cleaning agents, which can easily corrode any other material.
They are also used in marine environments where they regularly come in contact with saltwater.
These casters are also used in medical and pharmaceutical industries since they have to resist damage from sterilizing chemicals. Stainless steel casters do not get rusted, preventing bacteria accumulation and creating a sterile environment.
Manufacturing facilities also make use of stainless steel casters since they use harsh chemicals in the manufacturing process, which are easy for stainless steel casters to withstand.
What Are The Advantages Of Using Stainless Steel Casters?
Stainless steel casters are very widely used because there are many advantages to using these caster wheels. Some of the advantages include the following:
Resistant To Corrosion
Stainless steel casters are resistant to rust and corrosion. This is why they can be used in different environments and be exposed to water and chemicals without any danger of rust and damage. Stainless steel caster wheels are also resistant to damage from extreme temperature changes since extreme heat and cold cannot damage the integrity of their structure, which makes them the perfect choice for harsh environments.
Stainless steel casters can easily carry hundreds of thousands of pounds in weight without buckling under pressure. They are incredibly strong, making them perfect for use with heavy equipment. You can rest assured that your equipment will be on safe wheels when you entrust them to stainless steel casters.
Stainless steel casters are also durable. They can last for years in harsh environments without needing replacement unless something unprecedented happens. This is also why they are ideal for carrying heavy loads and working in harsh environments. These environments will save immense maintenance costs just by using the correct caster wheels.
Easy To Clean
Since stainless steel casters are resistant to corrosion, they are pretty easy to clean. Once they have come into contact with an unsanitary environment, or if you see the wheel collecting grime, you can use powerful detergents and sanitizers on them without worrying about rust or corrosion. This is why these casters are ideal for the food, pharmaceutical, and medical industries.
Stainless steel casters also often contain antimicrobial properties. These wheels can be infused with active antimicrobial substances, which can prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi on the wheels. This property also makes the wheels perfect for environments where sanitation is of utmost importance.
Lastly, one of the biggest benefits of stainless steel caster wheels is that they are very versatile. You can use them in all sorts of environments and many different industries, making these wheels the correct choice in many instances. And there are so many types of stainless steel casters that you will indeed find the right fit for any use.
Stainless steel casters are usually sleek and can look professional and add aesthetic value to wherever they are being used. They do not accumulate dirt easily either, which is why these casters usually look stellar.
How Do We Take Care Of Stainless Steel Casters?
Stainless steel casters are very durable, requiring the least amount of maintenance among all types of casters. However, it would help if you did not skip routine maintenance with these casters since it will help them last for many years without causing any trouble.
Make sure that you inspect the caster wheels thoroughly every time you inspect the rest of the equipment. See if you see signs of wear on the coating or any rough or damaged spots. The quicker you find out about issues with the wheels, the quicker you can sort the problem out.
Keep Them Smooth
Stainless steel casters are resistant to corrosion, but they will rust if not correctly lubricated when it’s time. It is ideal to lubricate stainless steel casters at least once in six months to keep them smoothly rolling in motion. You must also lubricate the wheels immediately if you feel that the movement is less smooth or if the wheel has started to tug.
Check The Fastenings
Don’t just examine the wheel for wear; also check the fasteners. If the fastener wears away or loosens, the wheel will get compromised, and there might be some damage to the equipment it is carrying. Therefore remember to check the fasteners for wear and fix anything that needs attention.
Repair And Replace As Necessary
Always remember to repair anything that needs attention immediately. Letting damage to the wheels build up over time will compromise their integrity and cause wheel failure quickly.
Do not try to work with faulty and damaged wheels. If the caster has become damaged beyond repair, you should replace it as quickly as possible since not doing so can compromise the transit process and damage the equipment. Ideally, you should also know the lifespan of the wheel you have so you can prepare for replacements once the time is over.
Stainless steel casters are widely used in the market everywhere. These wheels are strong and incredibly durable, making them best for harsh environments. Stainless steel casters are also long-lasting, so they can go years without being compromised. Talk to the manufacturer before investing in the wheel, so you know what grade is best for your line of work.