Technology serves a multitude of functions; making the work people do easier and eliminating human error are the main goals of most technological advances. AGVs, or automatic guided vehicles, are quickly becoming essential to manufacturers and other sectors of the heavy industry. With AGVs there is an increase in safety, less damage to materials and buildings, 24/7 operation, no labor expenses, and inventory/production control-- making AGVs the optimal solution.
AGVs are vehicles that are guided by a computer rather than a human. They are powered either by a battery or electric motor, and are able to complete many functions in manufacturing, warehousing, and even farming applications. These self-propelled machines have capabilities ranging from load transferring, pallet movement and stacking, assembly and even towing heavy loads. These functions have been traditionally performed by people, which increased the risks of injury and human error. With these self-propelled vehicles, these possibilities are eliminated.
Casters are the wheels of industry, although technically, the wheel is only part of the caster assembly. The caster assembly is a wheeled device within a housing or framework used to provide mobility to an otherwise stationary object.
Casters come in many sizes, to accommodate any load capacity. They may be manufactured from a wide variety of materials, may swivel, lock, run on tracks, or work in tandem with other casters. They may be configured as traditional wheels or as bearings that facilitate smooth and/ or multidirectional movement. Some casters are designed to absorb shock.
Rolling chairs and grocery carts are perhaps the most familiar use of casters. They are found on heavier appliances, such as refrigerators and freezers, and on lighter furniture, such as tea carts or portable filing cabinets. Many pieces of luggage are fitted with casters, as are boxes and shipping crates used for transporting delicate items, such as musical instruments or electronic equipment. Smaller aircraft can be towed by caster dollies, allowing a single person to move an entire plane. Hospital gurneys and medical equipment are placed on casters that are antimicrobial, quiet, and capable of total or directional locking.
Forklifts are industrial vehicles used in applications such as warehouse storing and distribution for the lifting, moving and loading of heavy products, materials and packaged pallets. Forklifts typically have a power-operated, moving forked platform attached to the front of the vehicle. This is designed to be inserted under loads and raised in order to move the load to a desired location.
Forklifts are sometimes referred to as forklift trucks or simply lift trucks. Practically speaking, these terms are all interchangeable. In a technical sense, lift truck is more accurate since not every type of this machine possesses actual forks for lifting. Since the vast majority of lift trucks do possess forks, the term forklift is sufficient and will be used for the purposes of this article.
Almost every industry which handles heavy items and large quantities of materials or goods utilizes industrial trucks or pallet trucks. Using a forklift in most industrial or commercial situations improves storage potential, reduces risk of injury and cuts stocking time. Forklifts are used in both indoor and outdoor applications and can be designed to meet a number of specific requirements. They are particularly useful in storerooms, construction sites and loading docks where efficiency is improved by the addition of mechanical power. Forklifts also enable a facility owner to maximize vertical storage space by enabling loads to be stacked as high as the lift trucks can reach.
Hydraulic lift systems are tools used to lower or raise work platforms and other surfaces that could not be moved by manual labor. They are powered by liquid mechanics, via a combination of a hydraulic cylinder and hydraulic fluid.
Platform lifts are highly versatile lift machines, available in a variety of configurations, shapes and sizes. In general, the purpose of lifts is to lower and raise goods and people. Platform lifts are designed to, as their name suggests, lower and raise platforms. They have applications in industrial settings, commercial settings and consumer settings alike.
Available in custom designs that serve specific tasks, some of the most common uses of platform lifts involve construction, automotive repair procedures, accessibility, transportation and building maintenance. For example, quite a few large commercial institutions and facilities buy a small set of platform lifts so that they can independently perform tasks, rather than having to rely on outside contractors for work. Also, many businesses purchase and install permanent platform lifts that serve to fulfill the requirements of wheelchair accessibility regulations like those outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Similarly, private residents with wheelchairs sometimes have platform lifts installed in their homes to make it easier for them to get from one floor to another. Platform lifts may also function as industrial or small, privately-owned elevators. The latter are generally low-power and low-capacity in comparison to their industrial counterparts. Likely, they are powered by electricity and able to bear the weight of only one or two average weight people at a time.