The AGV market is booming in silence
The trend is clear: More and more companies are discovering and deciding to go for Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs). One reason is the development of new vehicle types, such as mobile robots, expanding the scope of what an AGV can do. The fast-growing e-commerce sector and the next generation of automotive industries are also important driving factors.
The new AGVs
Some forty years ago, AGVs were primarily used for moving big and heavy goods in factories. The vehicles were always customized to meet very precise customer needs. One example is Tetra Pak, who started moving paper rolls with AGVs in 1976 in their plant in Lund.
Today, there are many types of AGVs. Most of them are still called AGVs, while others are referred to as carts, mobile robots and tuggers. Differentiation through new category names is natural in any market. Just think of the automotive industry. A car is no longer just a car. It is a hatchback, multi-purpose vehicle or sports utility vehicle.
An old truth in the AGV industry is that 4,000 AGVs are produced every year worldwide. The new AGV market with new vehicle types overturns that truth. Recent statistics from Samuel Alexandersson, Product Marketing Manager at Kollmorgen, points at a yearly production of 14,000 AGVs and AGV-related vehicles for 2015.
Sensational figures, but realistic as the fast-growing e-commerce industry is using lots of carts for light, short and fast movements. Statistics agency eMarketer expect this sector to double within the next three years, mainly driven by the Chinese market.
AGVs are also finding their way back to the automotive industry. Natural navigation opens up for moving from working in isolated optimized cells into fully integrated systems. The automotive industry is used to automation and is investing heavily right now in industrial robots – a leading indicator of AGV growth.
The silent boom in the AGV sector is, of course, exciting news for any material handling industry and warehouse. What is the expected growth of AGVs in your business sector? Should you go for floor-based or free-ranging AGVs? Feel free to contact Samuel Alexandersson and sign up for this newsletter to get the latest global AGV market trends right into your inbox.