Evolution of AGV planning - from Excel to virtual commissioning
Deploying multiple Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) in a system can be a challenging task. A classical design of AGV systems to determine the number of required vehicles in Excel is still widely used in practice. The complexity of such systems severely limits the informative value of static design methods, but at the same time also poses challenges for simulation.
As a fully automated transport system, the vehicle systems offer good conditions for realistic mapping in simulation tools. Dynamic aspects, such as charging behavior, interactions between vehicles and, to a certain extent, other resources, as well as fluctuations in the production schedule and process behavior (e.g., by simulating failures) can be considered in a simulation. Initial findings on control rules can also be obtained from the simulation and tested in the tool.
Virtual Commissioning with a live connection to the real-world Fleet Manager software represents a next possible step for the design of AGV systems. This approach minimizes the deviations between simulation and real system. Rules can be implemented directly in the controller and do not have to be programmed twice. Testing the control system with a digital twin enables early detection of faulty or non-optimal settings.