Our new AGV tracking technology based on contour navigation, relies on the infrastructure of the customer site (walls, posts, racks, machines) to calculate the position of the AGV. The AGV has a “contour” map in its memory, which fits to the representation of the environment in which it operates. An upstream cartography established from on-site data (installation plan, geometric survey, 3D scan) allows the construction of this map representing the spatial structure of the customer environment. During the operating phase, the AGV constantly scans its environment and locates itself by comparing its vision of the environment with the contour map it has in memory.
With no less than fourteen sites installed by Alstef Group, U Logistique, the logistics company of the U Group, wished to continue the long-standing relationship between the two companies and to be one of the first sites equipped with contour navigation. Thus, 50% of the cells of the U LOG factory in Clermont L’Hérault use contour navigation.
We met Guillaume Malou, AGV Project Manager at U Logistique to look back at the first months of operation of this installation, which consists of 3 AGVs of the GL8.1 type:
“This project is part of a continuous innovation approach that we have been maintaining for many years with Alstef Group. We are very much in demand for this kind of new technology, whether it be contour navigation or other innovations.” Guillaume Malou, U Logistique
A technology that already keeps its promises and allows the AGV fleet to operate without disruption, Guillaume Malou confirms:
“Alstef Group’s teams have done a great job on site navigation to make the system even more robust.”
Unlike laser guidance, contour navigation does not require a target-based tracking infrastructure, thus offering many advantages in terms of cost and maintainability, right from implementation of the system.
In addition, the absence of a tracking infrastructure eliminates accidental damage to targets and their cleaning. With maintainability made easier, U Logistique gains autonomy and can concentrate on its core business. Guillaume Malou confirms,
“In a changing environment, we used to have targets that could be damaged, resulting in maintenance or intervention costs; today, regarding maintenance, we have gained in serenity.”
Finally, the systems benefiting from this natural navigation can easily adapt to changes on-site. With no tracking infrastructure constraints, production processes and AGV circuits can evolve more easily over time. This flexibility is also reflected in the system’s compatibility with other laser, magnet or optical guidance systems, ensuring perfect adaptation to the environment and to the logistics functions addressed (transfer, storage).
This technology of tracking by contours has seduced U LOG since a new site is already under commissioning in Saint-Just which will be equipped with 100% of contour navigation.