Fast WLAN Roaming for Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) in Warehouse Management
In modern production and manufacturing, raw materials and goods are generally stored in climate-controlled warehouses until the moment they are needed. The warehouses organize the materials in standardized wooden pallets to simplify their transport by forklift trucks. Traditionally, a forklift truck must be driven and operated by a human worker. However, modern warehouse management systems are now turning to Automated Guided Vehicles, or AGVs, to lower operating costs and improve efficiency. There are a number of Automatic ID Data Capture (AIDC) technologies available that allow a warehouse management system to efficiently monitor the flow of products by using radio-frequency identification (RFID), barcode scanners, and wireless LANs. An innovative manufacturer in Europe hired Moxa to implement a wireless warehouse management system to control and monitor numerous AGVs.
• Enable all the AGVs to navigate flawlessly throughout the warehouse.
• Implement a wireless VLAN for different sections of the warehouse.
• Access point handovers must be seamless to avoid AGV collisions.
Using AGV forklifts to lift pallets onto multi-tier storage racks is a great way to maximize the floor space in a warehouse. In order to navigate the aisles on the warehouse floor, each AGV forklift in the customer’s warehouse relied on positional information collected by an onboard controller connected to up to 20 different onboard sensors. A wireless network can be used for communicating between the AGVs and the storage rack. The AGVs run on a circular rail, and receive control signals from the warehouse management system via the AWK-3121. In this way, each AGV has guaranteed access to the most up-to-date inventory information. Once an AGV is designated, it will deliver the correct goods to a specific area, and send the loading and delivery information to the warehouse management system.
Moxa installed an AWK-3121 on each AGV forklift and configured it as a wireless client so operators can remotely control the AGVs to move, store, and retrieve the proper goods at any given time. In addition, the AWK-3121s were also installed as APs on the storage racks to provide wireless access to the warehouse management system. The wireless network of AWK-3121s provided millisecond-level Turbo Roaming to allow the AGVs to move among the storage rack with real-time information transmission. Moxa’s Turbo Roaming ensures seamless wireless connectivity while the AGV forklift is in motion. The wireless LAN that connects the warehouse management system and the AGVs provided the right amount of flexibility for the warehouse automation system.
• The AWK-3121 supports wireless AP, bridge, and client operation modes for flexible deployment when planning a warehouse wireless network. Wireless networks provide secure and seamless data transmission and reduce the cost of cabling and maintenance.
• Implementing strict security polling on the wireless VLAN provides network administrators with leeway when addressing networking security, management, and scalability issues to enhance the overall efficiency of the AGV forklifts and warehouse operation.
• Moxa’s proprietary Turbo Roaming technology provides millisecond-level handover times to ensure seamless mobility while roaming across a wireless network.
See More Real World Applications
Moxa’s comprehensive line of WLAN and cellular solutions have been successfully implemented in various mission-critical industrial applications, including transportation, factory automation, smart grid, and heavy industry. For more information, please click on the icon to download the Industrial WLAN success stories.