HK Systems has introduced a new family of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) that use a patented roller fork system, which eliminates the need for pallets in a distribution center.
The Pallet-Free AGVs, the company says, can handle both slip sheets and pallets. It can be used for stacking as well as with push-back racks.
John Hayes, sales manager for the company, which provides automated material handling systems and supply chain software, says the new product evolved out of requests from customers in the grocery industry for a better way to handle slip sheets. He says that the roller fork design offers greater life for slip sheets than pull clamp systems.
The company says that the new vehicles should offer a return on investment in about 12 months for large operations with multiple shifts.
HK Systems also announced that it is testing AGVs for freezer use. One customer, an ice cream manufacturer, expects to install six of the vehicles in a -20 degree F operation later this year.