AGV solution in automotive environment

In the body shop of the international automobile premium manufacturer, an automated guided vehicle (AGV) system makes fully automated production safer and more efficient. As general contractor, KUKA was responsible for the AGV system integration in the entire body shop: from the development of the safety concept, through planning, engineering, simulation and project management. A milestone was set in the AGV supported production of vehicle bodies.

Fully automated body-in-white production flexibly interlinked

To ensure that the system linkage within this production section ran smoothly, Mercedes-Benz commissioned the automation specialist KUKA. "As general contractor, we have the necessary engineering know-how to plan all process steps and workflows and successfully implement the complex project handling with all trades", explains Michael Jürgens, Head of AGV Solutions at KUKA. After the KUKA team had developed the safety concept for the automated guided vehicle system and planned and simulated the flexible system linkage using around 100 automated guided vehicles (AGVs), KUKA coordinated the successful implementation of the automated guided vehicle system.

Personal safety through
forklift-free production

In order to increase the safety of the employees, the transport of the body parts between the body shop lines is forklift-free. To ensure that components and car bodies arrive at the process stations just in time, KUKA has developed an automated guided vehicle system. This efficient intralogistics solution ensures that around 100 AGVs coordinate the delivery of the required components of the respective vehicle model at the right time to the right production station, where they are assembled without intermediate buffers. Numerous work steps take place here simultaneously in two process modules. At the same time, the AGVs must meet the high safety standards for interaction with the people in the plant. This means that the AGVs use optical sensors, among other things, to detect when there are people or other obstacles in the driving area. "In this case, the AGVs stop in an intrinsically safe manner and also give an acoustic and optical warning", describes Felix Tschorn, Project Manager AGV Solutions at KUKA. "Only when the road is clear again do the vehicles continue the transport."

Free navigation in harsh
production environments

"The particular challenge of the project lay in the complexity and scope of the plant linkage," says Felix Tschorn. "The intralogistics solution was to control the AGVs centrally and at the same time enable flexible route guidance by means of free navigation." The AGVs are navigated via a magnetic grid network.
Video: Flexible AGV solution in the truck cabin assembly
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