Dematic has announced the launch of its latest freezer-rated automated guided vehicles (AGVs), with a third-generation model featuring advancements in sensor and navigation technology that exceed recently updated global safety standards.
Designed and built in Australia, Dematic’s full range of AGVs, including high-reach and counterbalance, are now all rated for deployment in freezer environments.
“Cold storage facilities are harsh environments for workers, creating a range of occupational health and safety risks that lead to many injuries per year,” says Tony Raggio, general manager of sales at Dematic ANZ mobile automation. “Having workers in freezer environments is also a complex challenge to manage, with a range of safety checks and restrictions required to protect workers.”
“For an increasing number of food and beverage and grocery supply chains operating cold storage facilities, AGVs provide a solution for overcoming these complex challenges as well as the difficulties of sourcing labour. Our third generation AGVs are built to operate automatically 24/7 in cold storage environments, without posing occupational health and safety risks to workers.”
According to SafeWork New South Wales, working in extremely cold environments increases worker health and safety risks. A list of potential harms from prolonged exposure to cold stress includes fatigue, mild to serious health issues (increased risk of incident/injury, hypothermia, and frostbite/trench foot), and long-term health effects (arthritis, rheumatism, breathing difficulties, and heart disease). For manual warehouse freezer operations, workers need frequent breaks from the cold – every hour worked in the freezer requires 10 to 20 minutes out of the freezer.
An AGV system removes occupational health and safety risks and reduced productivity because it can operate full-time in temperatures down to -25°C – picking and transporting products in freezer environments.
“Dematic is extremely proud to be Australia’s only manufacturer of freezer rated AGVs and one of very few suppliers globally. As an industry leader in the AGV space, Dematic is committed to continuous improvements with the latest technology advances. Our new freezer rated AGVs reflect this commitment, with upgrades that exceed new global standards for safety and performance,” adds Raggio.
AGVs operating in Australia are covered under the recently updated Australian Standard AS 5144-4 (equivalent to the international standard - ISO 3691-4). This standard specifies clear procedures for achieving safety for both manufacturers and operators.
“Updated standards make it much clearer which functions of an AGV need to be covered to ensure safety and avoid accidents,” explains Raggio.
Dematic third-generation freezer-rated AGVs include several safety features, including a 360° safety scanning system with automatic slowing and stopping, easily accessible emergency stop buttons, visual and audible warning and alarm lights, redundant and safety-rated features, and compliant system and solution design.
“Dematic and our parent company, KION Group, have been involved in the development of updated safety standards globally, and we have now completed a project to bring its AGVs and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) in line with them,” concludes Raggio.