Even before the pandemic, facilities were using automated guided vehicles (AGVs), smart conveyors, and other equipment to increase efficiency in their applications.
Then 2020 happened. The pandemic has heightened the need for this equipment in distribution centers and logistics applications for a couple key reasons:
∙ Reduction in workforce density: To keep employees safe, automated processes continue to be adopted or expanded. This helps reduce the number of on-site employees needed, and in turn can help reduce the virus’ spread in the workplace and surrounding community.
∙ Consumer buying behavior: Guidelines for social distancing and reduced trips to indoor spaces meant that many consumers shifted to buying more household essentials online (where they were also able to find more supplies). Guaranteed quick shipping didn’t stop with the pandemic – and automated equipment has helped companies keep up with increased production and delivery needs.
These systems are major investments, and the need to show ROI is expected at most companies. This means that real-time communications between the equipment is critical to ensure their smooth operation. In applications where internal actions are calculated down to the millisecond, there’s no margin for error.
Wireless radios designed for industrial environments can help you know exactly where moving equipment such as AGVs are at all times. Radios supporting common PAC protocols such as EtherNet/IP™ or Modbus® can send diagnostic data directly to your controller, helping your team maintain visibility into your facility’s operations. That tracking also enables you to make adjustments to the equipment’s movements if needed, or recognize points where processes could be updated for efficiency. You can also link radios to ensure that in the event that one fails, communications will continue unabated.
In a signal-heavy facility, you may benefit from adding radiating cable, which can be used in environments where flexible solutions are a must. This solution radiates RF signals and can help bring wireless communications to tough spots, as well as help reduce the impact of interference within your facility.
Wondering about which wireless solutions may be best for your application? ProSoft offers expert help with pre- and post-site surveys, consultations, commissioning, on-site training, and more. Contact us to learn more.