Automated Guided Vehicles Use Supercapacitors to Enhance Battery Systems

Automated guided vehicles, or AGVs, are used in industrial settings to transport materials around distribution centers and production lines. Implementing AGVs means that onboard operators or drivers are not necessary, eliminating the cost associated with hiring employee operators. By cutting out manual transport, AGVs reduce the potential for injury and ensure the timely delivery of materials. They are typically grouped in four general categories: tow vehicles, unit load carriers, carts and forklifts.

In order to ensure the success of these applications in distribution centers, AGV manufacturers turn to ultracapacitor technology. Although at one point AGVs solely used battery systems, today some manufacturers have replaced their batteries with supercapacitors to improve the efficiency of these applications. An AGV requires bursts of high power for lifting or dumping, as well as continuous energy for travel between stations. These bursts of power significantly reduce the life of the battery, requiring manufacturers to replace batteries frequently. There is also the need to exchange the batteries during working shifts. Unlike batteries, ultracapacitors require little maintenance, and can be charged in seconds using in-floor inductive charging, freeing manufacturers from constant battery swaps and replacements

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Since supercapacitors can provide peak power for lifting or dumping, they perform well in applications such as AGVs which require these frequent large bursts of power. Because of their fast charge capability, ultracapacitors can also take advantage of regenerative braking, capturing the energy that would otherwise be lost and then releasing the energy to assist the AGV during its travel. They help maximize performance and the run time of AGVs, providing a dependable energy storage system with a long lifespan. Coupled with inductive charging, the AGV can operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no battery changes, thus maximizing the AGVs role in the process line. All kinds of applications can benefit from converting their energy storage to ultracapacitors, resulting in enhanced efficiency and optimal performance.

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