Take a load off: Jervis B. Webb Co. unveils a new trailer loading and warehousing automatic guided vehicle (AGV). The SmartLoader is an automatic fork truck that loads any standard trailer without the need for modifications.
Using technology similar to that found in military guided missiles, the unmanned and adaptable SmartLoader moves loads around a warehouse using a high-tech, inertial guidance system. SmartLoader delivers palletized loads in multiple configurations from palletizer output, rack or staging areas into any over-the-road trailer without guidance wires, lasers or magnets. It can also stack loads and remove items from a conveyor system.
The SmartLoader maneuvers around the warehouse using a vehicle control computer that accurately maintains the intended path. The vehicle senses transponders embedded in the floor to identify its exact location, and is designed to integrate with warehouse management systems to provide real-time control.
These AGVs run on eight-hour batteries, which the vehicles automatically recharge without manual intervention. They're also able to adapt to various trailer sizes and to pack loads loosely or tightly. Safety features include laser scanners that detect items in the vehicle's path, causing the vehicle to stop immediately. (Jervis B. Webb, www.jervisbwebb.com)