What is an AGV?

And why you should buy one

This blog will unfold

  • The world of AGVs 
  • their benefits
  • how they work
  • their applications in different situations.

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) have revolutionised how we approach logistics and material handling in various industries.

These innovative automated pallet movers have brought significant improvements to production facilities, warehouses, and distribution centres. 

An automated guided vehicle from Global AGV is driving pallets around the facilities of Danpo, Denmark. The AGV helps Danpo boost volume, quality and the work environment.


The basics: What are Automated Guided Vehicles?

AGV stands for Automated Guided Vehicles – or All-time Great Workmate, which we like to call it. 

Because that's what it is. 

It's a tireless workhorse that works around the clock, never needs a break (except for short periods of charging time) and never complains about overtime. 

Who doesn't want a co-worker like that? 

More technically, AGVs are unmanned forklift trucks used in manufacturing plants and warehouses to automate tasks traditionally performed by human workers using forklifts.

They are designed to move autonomously, either following a predetermined path or using advanced navigation systems to find the most efficient route. 

AGVs can carry a wide range of payloads, from small parts to large pallets, and can be customised to suit specific industry requirements.


But how do AGVs work?

There are different types of AGVs – but all of them are equipped with advanced features and guidance systems that help them manoeuvre around their surroundings efficiently and effectively.

These features include:

  • Guidance Systems: The guidance system can, e.g., be sensors, cameras or wires embedded in the floor which emit a magnetic field which the AGVs sensors can detect and follow.
  • Route Programming: AGVs can be configured to follow specific paths, stopping at prescribed locations, providing a level of predictability and consistency in their operations.
  • Communication Abilities: AGVs can communicate with other AGVs or automation systems within the facility. This increases their collaborative capabilities, enhancing overall productivity.

By combining these features and capabilities, AGVs can effectively undertake pallet transports, serving as an invaluable asset in an automated facility.

3 types of AGVs

As mentioned, that are several types of AGV available on the market. Each is designed to cater to specific applications and requirements. 

Three of the most common AGV types include:


  1. Forklift AGVs: As the name suggests, these AGVs are equipped with forks that can lift and transport palletised loads. They can transport pallets between production lines or long-distance pallet transportation. Forklift AGVs often provide significant economic savings because they replace manual-driven trucks requiring personnel with proper licensing and training. 
  2. Towing Vehicles: Also known as tuggers, these AGVs can pull one or more trailers or carts behind them in a train-like formation. Tuggers are especially useful for transporting heavy loads over longer distances. They can have several drop-off and pick-up stops along a defined path through a warehouse or factory. Being able to pull several tons, they reduce the hazards associated with using large, heavy equipment. 
  3. Load carriers: Unit load carriers are self-driving platforms that transport individual objects or single units, such as pallets, bins, or containers. They are typically used for short-distance material transport within a facility. 


At Global AGV, we develop forklift AGVs that make it easy to automate simple A-B pallet transports within your production facilities. In fact, our model is so easy to install that it can be up and running within a few days in your existing environment – and you can quickly change the routes yourself when necessary. 

Learn more about our two models here L12 and L14.

An AGV is transporting pallets from storage to the production facility at Welltec, Denmark.

The Benefits of AGVs

Now we have the basics covered.

The million-dollar question remains:

Why should I invest in an AGV? 🤷‍♂️

Well, there are numerous benefits to implementing forklift AGVs in your production facilities and warehouses, including:

  • Improved safety: Did you know 87 people in the US are killed yearly due to truck accidents? Or that 95 are seriously injured daily? AGVs are a safe alternative to manually driven trucks because they have sensors and safety features that help prevent accidents and collisions with workers or other equipment.
  • Reduced cost of errors: Do you know how much you spend yearly on repairs due to truck collisions? Or have you ever had to do something manually (like foil wrapping) while waiting for a piece of equipment to be repaired? When a truck collides, it not only causes damage to what it hits – there is also a risk of affecting production. By automating truck driving, AGVs minimise the chances of human error, such as misplaced items or damaged goods, leading to cost savings.
  • Increased efficiency: AGVs can operate continuously, 24/7, without getting tired or becoming inattentive, and they don’t need breaks or shift changes. That is why you can achieve higher efficiency with an AGV. This allows for increased productivity and faster order fulfilment. All-time Great Workmate, right?
  • Scalability: Scaling your production up and down becomes much easier with an AGV. AGVs can be easily integrated into your existing operations as your business grows, allowing for a smooth expansion of your material handling capabilities. For instance, you can upgrade from 1 to 2 shifts (or 3) without hiring more people. You can also scale up periodically during high seasons or if you land a huge order at no additional cost.
  • Flexibility: AGVs can be reprogrammed or reconfigured to adapt to changing production needs, making them versatile solutions for various applications. Psst… And with Global AGV, you can even reconfigure them yourself. They are so easy to manage that you don't need our help.

Applications for AGVs in Production Facilities

AGVs have a wide range of applications in production facilities. Generally, AGVs are particularly useful in point-to-point pallet transport (or A-B flows), where you move the pallets from one specific position to another.

These A-B pallet flows take place in most manufacturing companies where goods or materials must be transported around the production facilities – for instance:

  • between different end-of-line equipment, such as conveyors and wrappers,
  • pick-up and drop-off at fixed stations or in rows,
  • or for long-distance pallet transport.


What can you automate with Global AGV?

Global AGV is easy to integrate into your existing production facilities. The AGV is the icing on the cake and what binds all your automation components truly together. 


End-of-line transport

Palletisers, wrappers and pallet dispensers are all great equipment on their own, but when they team up, it's a productivity powerhouse.

And AGVs play an essential role in this automation dream team. 

Imagine this: 
A simple palletising setup where AGVs pick up pallets from the dispenser, feed them to the robotic palletiser, drive the full pallet to the wrapper, and zip it off to the warehouse – all without breaking a sweat. 

No human involvement.
Just robots working in perfect harmony. 

The repetitive transports at the end-of-line offer a significant return on investment (ROI) and prompt payback – especially for operations running multiple shifts.

👉 See how A. Espersen reduces bottlenecks and wasted time at their fish plant logistics centre with Global AGV.

Pick-up and drop-off at fixed stations or in rows

Do you place pallets in rows?

For instance, at a waiting area, where the pallets are distributed to different places?

AGVs can help with that. The AGV can pick up pallets from around your production facility and drop them off in rows in a storage area. The sensors detect where the next pallet is placed in the row and will accurately place the pallets in defined lanes on the floor.

👉 See how Welltec leverage employee resources better with Global AGV

Long-distance pallet transport

Having a lot of long-distance pallet transports?

No worry.

Forklift AGVs excel in the long-distance transportation of pallets within a production facility. They efficiently bridge the gap between different areas within a large factory, shuttling goods back and forth.

Their programmed routes help optimise traffic flow in facilities reducing bottlenecks and downtime.

👉 See how A&O Johansen saves 60-80% on their internal logistics by letting 3 Global AGVs take over the daily handling of 800 pallets.

The Business Case for AGVs

Investing in AGVs is a downright game-changer—in our humble opinion, of course. And we know you're curious to learn more about the financial benefits.

We get it.

You want to know your investment pays off.

And it will.

Investing in AGVs can lead to substantial cost savings and operational improvements for businesses. By automating material handling processes, companies can reduce labour costs, minimise errors, and increase efficiency.

Want to dive more into how automated forklift trucks can benefit your bottom line and sprinkle a bit of joy onto your balance sheets?

Try our ROI calculator to see how quickly the investment pays off.

Global AGV - Logistics made simple

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