The United States Patent and Trademark Office has awarded Farmington Hills-based Jervis B. Webb Co. — a subsidiary of Japan’s Daifuku Co. and a provider of material handling solutions — U.S. Patent No. 7,980,808 for its Automatic Transport Loading System and Method and U.S. Patent No. 7,991,521 for its Variable Path for Automated Guided Vehicle.
The Automatic Transport Loading System and Method is Webb’s second Automatic Transport Loading patent for its SmartLoader Automatic Guided Vehicle, which loads and unloads standard, over-the-road trailers and other containers without requiring any modifications to the trailers. This patent applies specifically to loading and unloading the ends of trailers by actively adjusting the position or angle of the forks on the AGV. Normally, the forks of an AGV are parallel to the floor when it is picking up and dropping off loads. However, loading and unloading the end of a trailer requires the AGV to be outside of the vehicle on a loading dock or ramp that may be lower or at a different angle than the floor of the trailer. The newly patented technology enables the AGV to compensate for differences in height and position, as well as drop and pick up loads when the forks are not parallel to the floor.
The Variable Path for Automated Guided Vehicles patented technology is a method for controlling several AGVs in a system. The AGVs are instructed to not only follow a predetermined path, but to also vary that path in multiple, minor ways. This reduces wear on the floor because the AGVs are not following identical paths.
More at www.daifukuwebb.com