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If you have ever stepped foot onto the floor your local Amazon distribution center, you probably have seen that the online retailer integrates human and robotic workers like no other. Driverless automated guided vehicles slip down aisles and between workstations as human workers load and pack orders onto conveyor belts.
While AGVs are equipped with safety features that help prevent accidental collisions, Amazon workers quickly learn to stay out of the way of their robotic counterparts.
Amazon is leading the industry in automation in the same way that it has changed the way people shop for the products they want. So it’s a good bet that AGVs and other robots will soon make their way into businesses like yours — if they haven’t already.
Lessons Learned from AGVs
One way AGVs, driverless lift trucks, and other robotic materials handling devices prevent accidents is through the use of warning lights. Many come equipped with bright blue, red, or other colored lights that illuminate the path of the moving vehicle to warn pedestrians and other vehicles of their presence.
When workers see a bright blue square of light heading their way, they know to get out of the way. And while AGVs are designed to stop before a collision will take place, the interaction between human workers and driverless vehicles fitted with warning lights helps facilitate production and increase the speed of operations in a manufacturing facility, distribution center, or other types of businesses.
Warning lights inform workers of a vehicle’s presence well in advance of its arrival so they have time to get out of the way. The less an AGV has to slow down or stop, the faster its task can be completed.
Using Zone Lights on Forklifts
The same beneficial technology can help improve the flow of operations using manned forklifts and other materials handling vehicles. When pedestrians are aware of the presence of forklifts in their work area, it not only improves safety but also speeds up operations. Workers know to get out of the way of moving forklifts and lift truck operators have more light to see if there is somebody in their path.
Today’s warning lights operate on low voltage but project a powerful thick beam that can be seen well before the vehicle gets close to human workers. Many also feature flexible mounting components, including magnetic mounts, brackets, and clamps, so they can be positioned for maximum efficiency.
Combined with horns, backup alarms, and other safety devices, these helpful forklift accessories can minimize the risk of accidents while maximizing productivity in any workplace.