Material Handling Requirements and Growing Emphasis on Factory Automation to Propel Market Growth

The past couple of decades has witnessed significant progress in robotic technologies. Industrial ecosystems are evolving at a rapid pace, and leaning toward automated systems to boost and enhance productivity levels, streamline logistics, and improve transportation & logistics systems. The advent of Industry 4.0 has set led to data exchange and automation in the manufacturing sector across the world. With growing interest and a shift toward automated systems and technologies, automated guided vehicle market has witnessed growth in the past few years. Technological advancements, particularly in the navigation space, have played a key role in the growing adoption of automated guided vehicles in the manufacturing sector.

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Evolving material handling requirements, growing demand for precision, and high adoption of robots in factory setting are some of the key factors that are expected to boost the growth of the automated guided vehicle market during the forecast period (2019-2027). During the course of the forecast period, the demand for automated guided vehicles that are in-sync with manufacturing execution systems (MESs) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) is expected to witness considerable growth, owing to a shift toward make-to-order manufacturing. Thus, the global automated guided vehicle market is expected to reach a market value of ~US$ 4 Bn by the end of 2027.

Automated Guided Vehicles Fulfil Demands of Industry 4.0

Advancements in navigation technologies in recent times have played an imperative role in the development of cutting-edge automated guided vehicles. Due to these advancements in technologies and innovations, stakeholders in the automated guided vehicle market have a plethora of navigation technologies to choose from. However, as per the current trends, key participants in the automated guided vehicle market are primarily interested in four major navigation technologies: magnetic navigation, vision-guided vehicles, laser-guided navigation, and natural navigation.

Within the automotive industry, deployment of automated guided vehicles in intra-logistic applications is increasing at a rapid pace. With evolving industrial requirements, players in the automotive industry are seeking solutions to improve their production capabilities by increasing their dependency on automated guided vehicles. In the past two decades, logistic requirements in the manufacturing sector have increased in accordance with the changing market demand. Customization is a growing trend in the automotive sector and to fulfill these demands, automotive manufacturers are engaging in innovations– a factor that is expected to propel the demand for automated guided vehicles. With the dawn of Industry 4.0, a number of smart factories or smart industry initiatives within the automotive sector have sprung up in recent years– a trend that is likely to continue.

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The automotive industry is expected to play a key role in bolstering the growth of the automated guided vehicle market and is anticipated to be the most prominent end-use industry during the forecast period.

Food & Beverages Industry Deploys Automated Guided Vehicles to Increase Productivity

While the automotive industry is expected to provide a significant impetus for growth of the automated guided vehicles market, the food & beverages industry will provide significant opportunities for market players. In the current scenario, some of the leading factors that are expected to boost the adoption of automated guided vehicles in the food & beverages industry include improvements in warehouses, need to minimize overhead costs, and increase productivity with minimum labor. Forklift automated guided vehicles are increasingly being used in the food & beverages sector, as manufacturers in the value chain are investing resources to move repetitive tasks toward automated solutions.

Moreover, with significant growth in trailer loading applications worldwide, automated guided vehicles have emerged as the prime candidate to streamline and bring about improvements in terms of productivity and efficiency. Stakeholders in the automated guided vehicle market are focusing on the development of automated guided vehicle that communicate with warehouse programmable logic controllers (PLC) and warehouse management systems (WMS). Companies are also likely to leverage the benefits of the 3D technology for imaging to track pallet activity efficiently.

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Analysts’ Viewpoint

The global automated guided vehicle market is expected to grow at a staggering CAGR of ~14% during the forecast period. With Industry 4.0 being adopted rapidly across the manufacturing sector worldwide, automated guided vehicles will play a key role in enabling manufacturers to achieve efficiency and productivity goals. Moreover, significant improvements in navigation technologies will enable development of state-of-the-art automated guided vehicles during the assessment period. While the automotive sector is likely to generate the highest revenue for manufacturers, manufacturers in the automated guided vehicle market should also tap into opportunities in other end-use industries, including food & beverages and distribution & logistics.

Automated Guided Vehicle Market: Overview

  • Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are driverless, self-operated computer controlled vehicles that are fitted with guidance and collision avoidance system and can move material from one place to another, without the need for human intervention. AGVs are reliable , durable and conduct work efficiently
  • Major advantages offered by AGVs include enhanced workforce safety and reduction in operational cost and production time. These advantages are substantially boosting the popularity of these vehicles across various industry verticals. 

Key Drivers and Restraints of Automated Guided Vehicle Market

  • Rise in need for automation in the material handling process across sectors, such as automotive, manufacturing, aerospace, and healthcare, is estimated to drive the demand for AGVs. A key benefit associated with AGVs is the reduction of labor cost. Furthermore, it also promotes efficient material handling since manual material handling has always been time-consuming and prone to accidents.
  • AGVs combined with radio frequency technology collaborate with the warehouse control system and the warehouse management system to improve accuracy and efficiency, since AGVs have little downtime and operate at a fixed rate to meet a predictable metric for operational activity. Therefore, the use of AGVs in warehouses directly reduce labor costs and increases the efficiency and reliability of storage process.
  • A key challenge for manufacturers of automated guided vehicles is in turning a prototype into a commercial product in the market. These vehicle manufacturers face various issues including modeling, data modelling, and self-calibration. 

Automated Guided Vehicle Market: Segmentation

  • Based on type, the automated guided vehicle market has been segmented into forklift AGVs, load transfer AGVs, pallet trucks, light load transporters, assembly line vehicles, tugger AGVs, unit load carrier, towing vehicles and others. Tugger AGVs have lower lifetime cost, as compared to that of other types, and they can be scalable during the work, which is helpful to meet the workflow changes and capacity demands. Moreover, tugger AGVs improve the overall safety during work time.
  • Based on end-use, the automated guided vehicle market has been segmented into distribution & logistics, automotive, aerospace, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, food & beverage, and others. The automotive segment accounted for a notable share of the global market, owing to high integration of automation on the work floors to improve production output and conduct efficient work. 

Automated Guided Vehicle Market: Regional Segmentation

  • Based on region, the global automated guided vehicle market can be segregated into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa
  • During 2018 Europe & North America, together, dominated the global automated guided vehicle market owing to high level of industrial automation in these regions. Asia Pacific is likely to overtake Europe during forecast period to become a prominent market for automated guided vehicle. 

Key Developments

  • In 2018, Toyota Industries Corporation introduced an automation software T-One for Toyota’s Autopilot automated guided vehicle. The intelligent software enables efficient operations, quick navigation, and robust route planning and vehicle utilization.
  • In 2015, Jungheinrich AG acquired MIAS Group, a specialist of stacker cranes and load handling equipment. This acquisition enabled Jungheinrich AG to expand its technology portfolio in the field of automated warehouse solutions. 

Key Players in Global Market

  • Key companies operating in global automated guided vehicle market include
    • Toyota Industries Corporation
    • Egemin Automation Inc.
    • Bastian Solutions LLC
    • Hyster-Yale Materials Handling Inc.
    • Swisslog Holding AG
    • Dematic GmbH & Co. KG
    • JBT Corporation
    • E&K Automation GMBH
    • Oceaneering AGV Systems
    • Seegrid Corporation
    • Konecranes
    • AGVE Group
    • Transbotics
    • Jungheinrich AG

 

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