Trailer-Loading AGV Uses No Wires Lasers


“SmartLoader is a vehicle you need to see to believe. An automatic fork truck that loads any standard trailer without modifications is revolutionary,” said Brian Stewart, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “The engineering behind this vehicle truly is rocket science. The technology used to guide SmartLoader is similar to the technology found in military guided missiles.”

The first-of-its-kind on the market, the unmanned and adaptable SmartLoader moves loads around a warehouse using a high-tech, inertial guidance system. SmartLoader delivers palletized loads in multiple configurations from palletizer output, rack or staging areas into any over-the-road trailer without guidance wires, lasers or magnets. It also has the ability to stack loads and remove items from a conveyor system.

A leading beverage company is already using more than a dozen SmartLoaders three shifts a day, five to seven days a week to reduce operating costs – particularly the costs associated with continuous trailer loading operations, down time, equipment maintenance and damaged product.

“As the material handling needs of our clients have evolved, so has our development of innovative, customized solutions to meet those needs,” said Susan Webb, President and CEO. “SmartLoader is the answer for companies that want to fully automate their warehouses and distribution centers.”

The SmartLoader maneuvers around the warehouse utilizing a Vehicle Control Computer that accurately maintains the intended path and performs required tasks. Transponders embedded in the floor are sensed by the vehicle to identify its exact location. The vehicle integrates with Warehouse Management Systems to provide real-time control.

SmartLoader runs on an eight-hour battery, which the vehicle recharges itself without manual intervention. Other key features of SmartLoader include moving dual or single loads; adapting to various trailer sizes and skew angles; and packing loads loosely or tightly. Various safety features also are integrated into SmartLoader, including laser scanners that detect items in the vehicle’s path, causing the vehicle to stop immediately. Each vehicle also is equipped with electronic “touch bumpers” and beam optics as added precautions.

“SmartLoader can provide enhanced inventory control and increased warehouse productivity for a variety of industries from food and beverage to paper products to coatings,” said Brian Jaynes, Director of Business Development and head of the Automated Handling Group. “The real value in adding SmartLoaders to an existing system is the ability to operate continuously around-the-clock.”

At NA 2006, the Webb Company will exhibit another innovative product, SmartCart®, a cost-effective Automatic Guided Cart that is guided by magnetic tape. Other products to be highlighted include the company’s heavy-duty AGVs, AEMs, AS/RS and enclosed track conveyors. Twinlode Corporation, a joint exhibitor, will display its dual pallet drive-in rack, an economical, high-density storage system.

The Jervis B. Webb Company demonstration will take place in booth #3047 (in the back of the hall, near food services).

More than 400 leading North American manufacturers will be on hand to display their products and technologies at NA 2006. The Material Handling Industry of America sponsors the show, which takes place from March 27-30, 2006 at the International Exposition Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
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