01/05/2012 - 16:44 pm

RHC AGV for aerospace wing facility


UK firm RHC Lifting Limited has commissioned and supplied its first Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) to GKN Aerospace’s new state of the art composite wing structures manufacturing and assembly facility, near Bristol, which was officially opened on Friday 27 April by the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

RHC Lifting designed, manufactured and commissioned the AGV, which is to be used to transport the wing spar mould tools to different manufacturing processes around the facility. The AGV combined with the multi-latching crane system and vacuum lifting beams already installed by RHC Lifting gives GKN Aerospace a complete solution to its material handling requirements.

This is RHC Lifting‘s first AGV which brought together a number of components from numerous companies including, wheel units from CFR, lifting jacks from PowerJacks Limited, battery units from Powercell Industrial Battery Engineers and a Siemens control system. 

The AGV has an overall size of 9.2m x 1.1m x 0.5m, with a self weight of 3.7 tons, and a lifting capacity of 10 tonnes. The AGV can move components around the factory floor up to speeds of 55m/min and is powered by sealed lead acid batteries which have the ability to operate the AGV continuously throughout a single nine-hour shift.   

The AGV is controlled by a trained operator via an Autec Dynamic FJM radio controller to drive, steer and lift. The eight independently driven wheels mean that the AGV can move sideways and turn on the spot, allowing for precision positioning.

To remove human error and reduce the risk of damaging the wing spars, the AGV uses a number of ultra-sonic sensors located on the front, sides and rear to automatically position the AGV into the tool and autoclave.

RHC lifting director Philip Goodway said: “With this AGV, RHC Lifting has shown its ability to develop and produce another highly technical and customised material handing solution which matches GKN Aerospace’s requirements and high standards.”

GKN Aerospace will now receive RHC Lifting’s after sales care package including, operator training, servicing, statutory inspections and provide 24/7 breakdown cover for a two year warrant period.

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