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Siemens teams up with UK firms to offer bespoke AGVs

25 February, 2022

Siemens has joined forces with two UK engineering companies, Parmley Graham and AR Controls, to produce bespoke AGVs (automated guided vehicles) for a variety of industries. The alliance hopes to tap into the rapidly expanding global AGV market, which is expected to almost double in size to $3.72bn by 2028.

The new venture builds on an earlier joint project, under which the partners supplied hundreds of AGVs to a car plant in the North of England.

Siemens is providing the AGVs in a kit form, including a standardised system platform, and a safety-related servodrive system for extra-low voltage (24-48V DC) applications. Sunderland-based AR Controls will design and build the vehicles, while Gateshead-based Parmley Graham is providing the hardware specifications, organising kit-based bills of material, and sourcing third-party products for the AGVs.

The collaboration comes at a time when the demand for AGVs is rising rapidly. The Covid pandemic put many industries into disarray, especially the logistics industry which struggled to deliver items during lockdowns and border closings. Manufacturers have had to rethink the processes they use in their warehouses, how they move goods in their factories, and how they deal with labour shortages as a result of both the pandemic and Brexit.

The partners say that AGVs bring a wealth of benefits including improved warehousing efficiency, streamlined logistics management, lower labour costs, faster delivery, and a reduced risk of workplace injuries. They can also be integrated with other technologies to implement smart factories.

“The UK supply chain market is growing exponentially, and most manufacturers are now investing in technologies to boost their own logistics,” says Brian Holliday, MD of Siemens Digital Industries. “AGVs are a crucial part of this investment.

“Partners like Parmley Graham that have a legacy in automation were well equipped with the right technologies and experience to deliver AGVs to the automotive manufacturer,” he continues. “It is also a testimony that, given an opportunity, innovation can help generate new income streams for businesses in these testing times.”

The jointly produced AGVs will target manufacturing applications in a wide range of industries

Parmley Graham MD Nick Wilson adds that the new venture “will be able to deliver bespoke solutions for AGVs to a range of customers in the pharmaceutical, food and drink and logistic industries”

AR Controls already supplies technologies such as position control, visual inspection, machine safety, audio-indent, robotics, sensors, drives and PLCs to automotive customers. “Partnering with Siemens and Parmley Graham to produce AGVs is a very exciting project for us,” says founder and MD, Andy Ramsey. “We look forward to a fruitful outcome of this alliance.”

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