AGV vs. AMR - What's the Difference?
AMR vs AGV – What's the difference?
Automation of internal logistics is a recurrent issue for both large and small companies. Why use employee resources to move materials around when you can automate these tasks and have employees focus on higher-value activities? By automating material transportation, organizations can optimize productivity and can schedule deliveries more effectively to reduce production bottlenecks. But when it comes to choosing between AMR vs AGV, what is the difference and which is the best fit for your needs?
What do AGV and AMR stand for?
AGV stands for Automated Guided Vehicle, while AMR stands for Autonomous Mobile Robot. Though both are used for material transportation, there is a fundamental difference in their operation and flexibility.
- AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle): A robot that follows fixed paths or tracks for material transportation, typically requiring infrastructure changes like magnetic tapes or wires.
- AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robot): A robot that operates autonomously and can navigate in an uncontrolled environment without the need for fixed paths or tracks. AMRs are known for their flexibility and are a significant part of all MiR AMR automation solutions.
Understanding the distinction between AGV vs AMR we can now dive into the advantages and benefits of each.
What are the advantages of AMR over AGV?
Until recently, traditional automated guided vehicles (AGVs) were the only option for automating internal transportation tasks. AGVs are a familiar fixture in large, fixed installations where there is a need for repetitive, consistent material deliveries, and where large initial cost outlays and long return on investment (ROI) can be tolerated. Today, however, AGVs are being challenged by the more sophisticated, flexible, and cost-effective technology of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). While AGVs and AMRs both move materials from one place to another, that is where the similarities cease. Understanding the advantages of AGV vs AMR is crucial in making an informed decision for your material transportation needs.
01 Do you need fixed routes or intelligent navigation?
AGVs: AGVs operate on fixed routes guided by wires, magnetic strips, or sensors. These routes are predefined and require extensive installation, which can be costly and disruptive to production. AGVs have minimal onboard intelligence and can only follow simple programming instructions. They can detect obstacles but cannot navigate around them, so they stop until the obstacle is removed. Changing the fixed routes for AGVs involves additional costs and disruptions.
AMRs: In contrast, AMRs are equipped with intelligent navigation capabilities. Like the autonomous mobile robots of MiR, they use cameras, sensors, and laser scanners along with sophisticated software to construct maps and navigate autonomously. Unlike AGVs, AMRs do not rely on fixed routes. They can detect obstacles and safely maneuver around them by choosing the best alternative route. This ensures that the material flow remains uninterrupted, optimizing productivity. The intelligent navigation of AMRs makes them a preferred choice in AMR vs AGV considerations for dynamic environments.
02 AGV vs AMR Automation: Few Applications vs. high flexibility
AGVs: AGVs are limited in their applications due to their dependency on fixed routes. Typically, an AGV is programmed to perform the same delivery task throughout its service life. Altering its function or route is not cost-effective as it requires significant changes to the physical infrastructure.
AMRs: On the other hand, AMRs offer high flexibility. They can perform a variety of tasks at different locations with simple software adjustments. The missions of AMRs can be controlled via their interface or configured through fleet control software. This software can prioritize orders and assign tasks to robots based on their position and availability. The flexibility of AMRs in adapting to changing environments and production requirements makes them a versatile solution in AGV vs AMR comparisons. Additionally, AMRs allow employees to focus on high-value work, contributing to the overall success of the company.
03 Traditional Business Models or Agile Businesses: Which One Are You?
AGVs: AGVs have been a staple in traditional business models where the production environment remains relatively unchanged. They operate on fixed routes and require extensive infrastructure, which makes them less adaptable to changes in production lines or products. This rigidity can be a limitation for businesses that need to be agile and responsive to market demands.
AMRs: On the other hand, when comparing AMR vs AGV, AMRs are designed for agility and flexibility, which is essential for modern manufacturing environments. Whether it's a small or large facility, AMRs adapt effortlessly. If production cells are relocated or new processes are introduced, AMRs can quickly re-map the site or upload a new building map. This adaptability empowers organizations to have full ownership of the robot and its functions. AMRs enable businesses in various industries to stay agile and optimize production even in highly dynamic environments.
04 Expensive vs. cost-effective: Is It Worth the Investment?
AGVs: AGVs come with a higher initial investment due to the need for installing wires, magnetic strips, or other guiding infrastructure. This not only makes them more expensive but also causes disruptions in production during installation. Additionally, the inflexibility of AGVs means that adapting them to evolving business needs can incur further costs.
AMRs: In contrast, AMRs, despite having more advanced technology, are typically a more cost-effective solution for AMR automation. They do not require extensive modifications to the building infrastructure, making them faster and less expensive to deploy. AMRs can be operational in a short time, adding efficiencies almost immediately. With lower initial costs and rapid process optimization, AMRs often offer a remarkably fast return on investment, often in less than six months. As businesses grow, AMRs can be scaled with minimal additional costs, making them a superior choice for modern, agile manufacturing environments.