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Title: Simulation in automated guided vehicle system design
Author: Ujvari, Sandor
ISNI:       0000 0000 5379 436X
Awarding Body: De Montfort University
Current Institution: De Montfort University
Date of Award: 2003
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The intense global competition that manufacturing companies face today results in an increase of product variety and shorter product life cycles. One response to this threat is agile manufacturing concepts. This requires materials handling systems that are agile and capable of reconfiguration. As competition in the world marketplace becomes increasingly customer-driven, manufacturing environments must be highly reconfigurable and responsive to accommodate product and process changes, with rigid, static automation systems giving way to more flexible types. Automated Guided Vehicle Systems (AGVS) have such capabilities and AGV functionality has been developed to improve flexibility and diminish the traditional disadvantages of AGV-systems. The AGV-system design is however a multi-faceted problem with a large number of design factors of which many are correlating and interdependent. Available methods and techniques exhibit problems in supporting the whole design process. A research review of the work reported on AGVS development in combination with simulation revealed that of 39 papers only four were industrially related. Most work was on the conceptual design phase, but little has been reported on the detailed simulation of AGVS. Semi-autonomous vehicles (SA V) are an innovative concept to overcome the problems of inflexible -systems and to improve materials handling functionality. The SA V concept introduces a higher degree of autonomy in industrial AGV -systems with the man-in-the-Ioop. The introduction of autonomy in industrial applications is approached by explicitly controlling the level of autonomy at different occasions. The SA V s are easy to program and easily reconfigurable regarding navigation systems and material handling equipment. Novel approaches to materials handling like the SA V -concept place new requirements on the AGVS development and the use of simulation as a part of the process. Traditional AGV -system simulation approaches do not fully meet these requirements and the improved functionality of AGVs is not used to its full power. There is a considerflble potential in shortening the AGV -system design-cycle, and thus the manufacturing system design-cycle, and still achieve more accurate solutions well suited for MRS tasks. Recent developments in simulation tools for manufacturing have improved production engineering development and the tools are being adopted more widely in industry. For the development of AGV -systems this has not fully been exploited. Previous research has focused on the conceptual part of the design process and many simulation approaches to AGV -system design lack in validity. In this thesis a methodology is proposed for the structured development of AGV -systems using simulation. Elements of this methodology address the development of novel functionality. The objective of the first research case of this research study was to identify factors for industrial AGV -system simulation. The second research case focuses on simulation in the design of Semi-autonomous vehicles, and the third case evaluates a simulation based design framework. This research study has advanced development by offering a framework for developing testing and evaluating AGV -systems, based on concurrent development using a virtual environment. The ability to exploit unique or novel features of AGVs based on a virtual environment improves the potential of AGV-systems considerably.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Skovde ; European Commission
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Semi autonomous vehicles