The purpose of the self-alignment function is to eliminate free spinning of the swivel castor as the wheel becomes airborne in applications such as AGV trolley transportation in hospitals, factories, warehouses and more. The castor wheel stays in its intended tracking position, then returns to full swivel function once it makes contact with the ground. This prevents the castor from becoming jammed when it returns to the ground. The self-aligning function does not affect the overall height of the castor, and can be used with conductive or anti-static wheels.
In hospitals, Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) are used to transport trolleys remotely – without human assistance. A location is entered into a computer system as part of a programmed mission, all of which are monitored from a control centre. AGV trolleys remove significant labour hours from each day of hospital operations, allowing staff more time to care for patients and complete other tasks.
Here are some of the benefits of using self-aligning castors on trolleys that will be used with AGV systems:
- Keeps trolley wheels securely straight and in line while the AGV has the trolley raised from the ground
- Provides accurate and safe unloading of the trolleys
- Reduces physical strain and manual labour for employees
- Ensures maximum safety for staff
- Ensures maximum workplace efficiency
- Removes any potential hazards from outward facing wheels
As you can see, the self-aligning castor system is perfect for AGV trolley transportation, as it keeps the wheels straight while they are raised off the ground – providing accurate and safe unloading of the trolleys. Self-aligning castors can help realise the full potential of AGVs by reducing physical strain on staff, and eliminating any potential hazards from outward facing wheels. Without self-aligning castors, trolleys may be unloaded by AGVs with wheels in uneven positions. This would then require significant extra force from the staff member to commence manual movement of the trolley. Self-aligning castors ensure maximum safety when using AGVs.
AGV systems have many benefits in hospitals, some of those include:
- Providing a back of house hidden transportation solution
- Removal of competition for lifts or corridor walkways – increasing efficiency
- Less maintenance and repairs to lift doors, walls and doors, frames – AGVs are more accurate and more predictable than humans
- Significant reduction in manual handling injuries and minor strains
- Enables more work to be done by less people
- Allows staff more time to care for patients and complete other tasks
- Safety sensors that allow the vehicles to stop when people or obstacles on the path are detected – avoiding personal injury and damage to payload or surrounding objects
Many of these benefits may not be fully realised without the use of self-aligned castors. It is also clear that many of these same principles apply to other environments and industries that would benefit from AGVs, such as various laboratories, clinics, warehouses and factories – even large hotels and casinos. All of those industries and environments could benefit greatly from a combination of AGV systems and self-aligning castors.
Richmond offer self-aligning castor wheels with load capacities between 100kg and a massive 500kg per castor. This excellent load bearing strength allows potential use in automotive, aviation, and other heavy duty production and maintenance industries.