Can automation streamline poultry pallet transportation?

Automating the pallet transport process with an automated guided vehicle (AGV) can help the poultry industry solve labor challenges.

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Patrick Poendl | Dreamstime.com
Patrick Poendl | Dreamstime.com

Automating the pallet transport process with an automated guided vehicle (AGV) can help the poultry industry solve labor challenges.

“When talking about automation, AGV is a very easy and flexible unit to adapt into an existing environment,” said Ole Madsen, CEO, BILA Logistics. “Wherever you have a pallet transport, you can either have a manual operation or you can automate the pallet transport with a put a plug and play AGV.”

As an example, the automated technology streamlines the transportation of poultry cages on pallets from trucks into the processing facilities, resulting in safe, predictable movement throughout the facility.

Addressing labor challenges

Interest in automation surged during COVID-19 as the poultry industry faced increased workforce challenges. As a result, there has been growing interest in robotic and automated technology solutions could help solve labor challenges and improve worker safety.

“I would say that one of the key benefits is, of course, reducing the need for manpower within the production,” explained Karsten Munk Matthiesen, CEO, Sanovo Technology Robotics A/S.

Automation can also help reduce the unpredictability of human drivers. The pallet transport is equipped with several sensors, which are used to scan the layout of rooms to avoid obstacles. It can also be programmed with certain rules or “recipes” so that it follows a specific route within the facility.

“The automated transport drives slowly and carefully,” Matthiesen said.It doesn't do any hazardous driving where you normally see a forklift driver driving very fast and in a possibly hazardous manner.”

Operational costs

The safe, predictable movement of automated pallet transport can also help reduce costs associated with everyday wear and tear and facility maintenance.

“Normally you would have to put some money away each year for restoration of the factory to keep it in good shape. But, because the movement of these transports is limited with rules – it doesn't hit any walls, it doesn't cut any corners, it doesn't go into a storage corner – so it drives very safely. Because of this, money is saved on facility maintenance and service of the AGV,” Matthiesen said.

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