Industrial Wireless

Three key considerations to build reliable wireless communications for AGVs

February 2021 Industrial Wireless

The automated material handling equipment market is expected to grow substantially in the near future. While this trend is anticipated, it recently accelerated in the spring of 2020, as a result of two significant driving forces: namely, the expansion of e-commerce businesses and the social distancing measures imposed on shop floors. In recent years, e-commerce warehouses have become hot property because of the rapidly increasing demand from online shopping. With this surge in demand, efficient and reliable automated storage and retrieval (AS/RS) systems are crucial to keeping warehouse logistics up and running.

In addition to expanding e-commerce business, factory owners are also starting to redesign their shop floors in order to align with social distancing guidelines. Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are now widely deployed to reduce human contact and increase operational efficiency. With AGVs and AS/RS now becoming mainstream, machine OEMs and system integrators are looking to build reliable connectivity platforms to achieve seamless operations in warehouses and factories. Since AGVs and AS/RS are constantly on the move, fast and stable wireless connectivity is a fundamental requirement. The biggest challenge is how to build a reliable wireless communications network for these systems.

Key factors machine OEMs and system integrators should be aware of when building robust AGVs and AS/RS systems include:

Industrial-grade designs for optimal reliability

Choosing a robust, industrial-grade wireless solution is a top priority. Wireless clients and access points (APs) can be reinforced with RF and power isolation to protect devices against electrostatic discharge damage and sudden inrush currents generated by motors. They should also have a wider operating temperature range and feature high ingress protection to ensure that wireless connections remain stable, even in environments with heavy ambient interference. Through these enhancements, industrial-grade devices are designed to last longer as well.

Seamless wireless connectivity to ensure continuous operations

When selecting wireless communication devices, see if the device can be equipped with millisecond-level roaming technology, consider external antennas for more flexible deployment and to achieve broader Wi-Fi coverage, and follow configuration guides from the device provider.

Built-in security features and management software to enhance network security

It is highly recommended to secure all wireless communication devices after configuration and to deny unauthorised devices access to the wireless network, creating an additional layer of network security.

Moxa’s solution

Moxa has helped machine OEMs and system integrators worldwide to augment their AGVs and AS/RS for optimal reliability and efficiency. Moxa’s AWK series AP/bridge/client solutions combine a rugged design with high-performance Wi-Fi connectivity to deliver a secure and reliable wireless network. With the MXview network management software and AeroMag technology, customers can easily configure, manage, maintain, and troubleshoot their networks.


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