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Footswitches for control of driverless transport systems

Driverless transport systems, also known as automated guided vehicles (AGVs) or autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), are increasingly being used on production lines, including transport manufacturing.

They fulfil several functions including material handling to transport materials, components and finished products between different stations on the production line. They also play a crucial role in just-in-time manufacturing operations by ensuring the right materials are delivered to the right place at the right time. In addition, AGVs and AMRs offer flexibility in production line layouts as they can easily adapt for changes in the manufacturing environment. They also contribute to a safer working environment on production lines as they are equipped with sensors and collision avoidance mechanisms to prevent accidents.

The role of footswitches in driverless transport systems

AGVs and AMRs can be operated in various ways and footswitches are often employed for control, particularly for safety and manual operation purposes. They can be used by operators working with driverless transport systems to:

  1. Act as an emergency stop device when operations need to be halted immediately.
  2. Control the movement of the vehicles when manual intervention is required, such as loading or unloading operations, without the need for complex control interfaces.
  3. Integrate with safety interlock systems to ensure that certain actions, such as opening access doors or initiating maintenance procedures, can only be performed when the vehicle is stationery, and the footswitch is activated.
  4. Trigger an emergency stop if the operator detects a potential collision or hazard in the vehicle’s path.

Their hands-free operation and immediate accessibility make footswitches a popular choice for safety-critical applications where a quick response time is essential. One of the footswitches in Herga’s range that is used in AGV and AMR systems is the 6289 General Purpose Footswitch.  This versatile, compact footswitch is durable and reliable, with steel housing for long life and protection rating IPX2 or IPX7 (IPX8 on request). It can be customised to suit customer specifications and is available in a wide choice of colours and switching functions.

To find out more about Herga footswitches, please contact our team.

Article published on: 22/04/2024

Article last updated on: 22/04/2024