AGVs and Manufacturing 4.0 at 5G Speed

By Anonymous User posted 08-11-2020 15:50


By Carlos Pinheiro Guimaraes and Steve Garbrecht

Your management says you need to operate and maintain a fleet of automated guided vehicles (AGVs). But to derive the real value from them, you’ll need to digitize the manufacturing environment and connect the vehicles, then capture and meld all that information. When AGV information is integrated with all your systems, you’ll be able to capture the necessary data, produce insights, reduce uncertainty, and support decisions. That’s truly what you’re after.

A challenge with handling multiple AGVs in your operation is the connectivity. Traditionally most companies use WiFi to connect to the units, but inside a large manufacturing plant with heavy equipment, magnetic fields and other interferences, making sure you are connected and bringing your AGV data in real-time, all of the time is also a challenge. 

The optimization gained by investing in these machines can quickly be eroded if there are WiFi shadows around your facilities and you lose the connectivity with your unit, right when a problem is about to happen.

Hitachi is partnering with telecommunication carriers and technology providers like Verizon and Ericsson, that can fully enable private 5G environments to replace WiFi at the edge, significantly increasing the density of connected devices, sensors and machines, improving the latency and throughput of data streams and assuring complete coverage in your facility, to make sure you do not lose sight of your AGVs for a single millisecond.

Help with Implementation, Insights

But getting there is no small undertaking. This is where a consulting partner comes in. The partner will guide you in choosing AGVs, implementing them, and integrating them with other software systems. Together, you will improve fleet management and move your manufacturing company toward Manufacturing 4.0, which has the potential to transform the industry by automating, capturing, and analyzing the vast amounts of data that now flow to and from manufacturing technologies, including AGVs, fixed robots, PLCs, MES, and ERP systems.

As a consulting partner, Hitachi brings to the table its depth of experience in digital manufacturing, logistics, and supply chain. We know digital systems, controls and automation, video and sensor technology, and the Internet of Things. We’re also very experienced at delivering AGVs and integrating them as part of a broader solution. Here are some examples of customers we have worked with:

Customer Experiences:

Large Manufacturer - Laser Guided Vehicle Predictive Maintenance

  • Operates a new fleet of 350 AGV units across 5 plants, but maintenance costs are out of control and real efficiency contribution of the units can’t be properly measured and correlated to the bottom line.
Solution Overview:
Use 5G, Video and Edge Analytics and SAP PDMS to optimize AGVs operational processes to reduce maintenance incidents and increase ROI.
  • Use 5G to assure 100% connectivity with all units with no WiFi shadow spots.
  • Stream, store and analyze data from all Units at the edge to provide insights about the root-causes of excessive maintenance.
  • Use SAP PDMS to optimize spare parts and maintenance operations performed in the field.
  • Use Geofencing, Smart Cameras and LIDAR Sensors to monitor AGV Units and help to diagnose maintenance root-causes that are external to the units and increase safety between AGVs and Humans on the plant floor.

Large Global Producer of Chemicals - Integrate AGV Fleet

  • Needed to automate warehouse and logistics operations across multiple AGV vendors that use proprietary software, then monitor the execution in real-time to optimize and secure operations.
Solution Overview:
AGV Management & Operation Optimization
  • AGVs from multiple vendors from large 40-ton autonomous vehicles to critical AGVs handling controlled materials in hazardous parts of the plant.
  • Verizon 5G, MEC and SAP provide real-time edge intelligence integrated with core SAP applications.
  • Hitachi and SAP are providing SAP Cloud Platform Accelerators to facilitate “out of the box integration” with the top AGV vendors in the market and allowing automation of processes and operations.
  • Verizon 5G and MEC edge architecture assure 100% real-time connectivity for AGVs within a high density environment.
  • Combines intelligent edge processing with SAP cloud-based applications to optimize AGV predictive maintenance, reduce cost of operations while increasing ROI.

Solutions to Jump Start

Hitachi has packaged solutions that help in the integration and management of AGV’s that also extend into other aspects of optimization for manufacturing facilities, to tie things together.

What makes us unique in this field is that Hitachi is also a manufacturer with a more than 110-year history of success across a range of industries. We have taken our knowledge of systems integration and manufacturing to create, through Hitachi Vantara and JR Automation, manufacturing solutions for your digital future.

Hitachi is also partnering with ERP vendors and leading telecommunication companies and carriers that can fully enable a private 5G environment at the edge, significantly increasing the density of devices, sensors and machines connected in real-time, improving the amount of data streaming to terabytes and assuring 100 percent coverage of physical operations and facilities, so you do not lose connectivity you’re your AGVs in operation.

Hitachi Vantara has created solutions that allow seamless integration between AGVs from multiple vendors to you ERP and back-end applications, a foundation that includes AI algorithms and specific analytics to optimize predictive maintenance, quality and insights about the performance and real impact of AGVs to your operations.

Ready to start? Contact Hitachi Vantara and talk to a consultant today.

1 comment



05-04-2022 14:33

Good one