Safety in automated guided vehicle systems

Modified contactors of the C100 range ensure for collision-free, autonomous transport

In the wake of Industry 4.0 in factories and warehouses, automated guided vehicle systems (AGVS) have become part and parcel of everyday operations. AGVSs offer numerous advantages: these range from more flexibility and better use of space to increased safety.

The increasingly battery-powered systems offer the greatest possible flexibility within a production facility or a logistics centre, because they can head for their destination directly without having to follow a predefined route.

In terms of safety, the requirements for autonomous automated guided vehicle systems are tough. People and other vehicles along the travel path and incorrect operation of the vehicle represent unpredictable factors which could compromise the safety personnel.
For this reason, the electrical components used in these systems must comply with appropriate safety standards. Catering precisely for this, Schaltbau has special DC contactor models in its product range – the bidirectional C100/80, C100/120 and C100/200 with auxiliary switches.

What do the Schaltbau C100 contactors do?

Two C100 contactors are used in each vehicle:

In the event of a fault, as a main contactor, it disconnects the control circuit from the battery.
  • As an emergency-stop contactor, the second contactor switches off the entire system – an important requirement for autonomous and collision-free travel. This crucially involves quick disconnection times, because in an emergency a quick shutdown is required.
  • Furthermore, the open main contact provides the necessary galvanic isolation.
Why was the C100 contactor chosen?

In conjunction with safety applications, the status of the contactors must also be correctly reported back in the event of a fault. For this reason, the C100 contactor was equipped with an auxiliary switch including a mirror contact function and conforms to the requirements of DIN EN 60947-4-1, Annex F.
Due to the highly integrated design of the AGVSs, there is very little space left for installed components. With its extremely compact dimensions, it is here that the C100 shines in this power class.
The long service life of the installed main contacts produces extremely long maintenance intervals, making a positive impact on system costs and availability.