RFID in an Automated Guided Vehicle

Turck is supplying Movexx with most of the equipment required for an automated guided vehicle, including the programming of the Codesys controller on the HMI VT250

  • The AGV receives the order wirelessly to move the frame with metal carriers to the painting line

  • RFID tags that provide the AGV with position information are embedded in the floor

  • ''The transport solution had to be as flexible as possible'' - Bert Eilander, VDL Weweler

  • Turck’s VT250 communicates wirelessly with the IMS and controls virtually all systems of the vehicle

  • Turck’s contactless angle sensor measures the angle of steer

  • Three fibers with connected amplifiers are installed for the bidirectional control of each direction

The truck and automotive supplier VDL Weweler in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, wanted to automate a transport operation requiring physical effort, but which has to be completed at the demand of the production system.

The responsible production planners saw the need for optimization in the transport of support elements and suspensions for truck trailers. Up to the middle of 2015, these components were still being transported via lift trucks between the basic production area and the paint line.

Manual transport lacked precision

The disadvantage of this solution was that it required a lot of physical effort from the employees. Furthermore, colleagues could not always work as precisely as an automated vehicle, so the production was endangered. Therefore, in 2014 the decision makers at VDL Weweler decided to automate the transport of the frames.

Movexx develops new automated guided vehicle

The company turned to the transport specialists at Movexx International B.V. to develop an automated transport solution. Movexx is a Dutch manufacturer of industrial trucks, including many customer-specific products. The manufacturer had already developed and built so-called AGVs (automated guided vehicles). However, a new solution had to be developed for this task.

The AGV needed to move in both directions because it was only possible to reverse out of the target stations. The hydraulic lifting platform raises the frame two centimeters from the floor in order to transport it.

Comprehensive automation solution from Turck B.V.

To develop the transport vehicle, Andreas Versteeg got Turck on board during the planning phase. Movexx had previously used the Turck sensors and LED lights in its products. However, this project also required solution expertise as well as capable components.

The greatest challenge was the bidirectional control of the AGV on the factory floor. Turck suggested a combined RFID contrast strip control.

RFID system for destination control

Optimum line tracking is combined with RFID tags which are stuck to the factory floor at key points along the lines. The tags at the turnout points indicate to the AGV whether it is to continue driving or stop. The AGV does not itself make decisions. The intelligence is in the networking of the AGV with the higher-level IMS (integrated manufacturing system), which instructs the AGV to move to a specified point.

Turck’s VT250 HMI-PLC operates on the AGV. It communicates with the IMS via a wireless TCP/IP connection and responds as a Profibus master with a BL20 gateway containing the inputs and outputs to which all signals of the vehicle are connected.

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