Development & Manufacturing of an Oven Rack Mover for the Aerospace Industry

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Ward Systems was approached by a customer in the aerospace industry to build an automated system that would efficiently transport 40,000 lb. fixtures with aircraft composite structures between shop floor workstations and then into the Autoclave. Working closely with the customer specifications and factory floor layout, our engineering team designed a low profile vehicle. The vehicle features dimensions of 10' x 10' x 1' high (yes 12 inches from the floor), it has the ability to automatically drive under the 14" high aircraft fixture. With a built in screw jack system, it picks up the 40,000 lb fixture and transports it to and from the Autoclave.  

To manufacture this custom AGV, we machined the component parts, fabricated the custom weldments, and sourced, purchased, and assembled the drive and control components. At the customer site, we laid out and installed the guidance tape and RFID tags that would direct the vehicles, and designed and installed the E-Stop mechanisms for the customer's fixtures. We fully commissioned the system, trained staff, and provided full operating, diagnostic, and maintenance documentation.

This AGV not only manages remarkably heavy payloads, it positions them with ±½" accuracy. It can move in any of four directions, rotate on its center, and handles an average of 15 moves per shift. The fully automated control system dispatches the vehicles and manages the traffic flow when more than one is in use. Built to meet ANSI safety specifications, it is equipped with Laser scanning devices for 360° safety.  It uses 4 cameras for guidance in any of the 4 directions.

For more information on this complex project, or how our automated transport systems can add efficiency to your plant operations, contact us today.

Highlights of this Automated Guided Vehicle System

Product Description
  • The oven rack mover is used for an aircraft composite structures manufacturing application. This system transports aircraft component/tooling fixtures from the shop floor workstations to their assigned ovens.
Capabilities Applied/Processes
  • Primary:
    • Engineering & Design
      • Mechanically and electrically design a low profile vehicle that can drive under and pick up a 14 inch high fixture that weighs 40,000lbs.
    • Manufacturing
      • Source, purchase and assemble drive and control components, custom weldments and machined parts for a custom AGV.
  • Secondary:
    • Installation
      • Lay-out and installation of guidance tape and RFID tags to guide the vehicles on the factory floor.
      • Design and install E-Stop mechanisms for the customer's fixtures.
    • Integration
    • Testing
    • Documentation
      • Spare Parts List
      • OH Manual
      • Parts Manual
      • Electrical Schematics
      • Error Recovery Manual
      • Diagnostic Manual
      • Maintenance Schedule
      • Controller Manuals
      • AGV Operating Manual
      • Charger Operating Manual
Overall System Dimensions
  • Vehicle Footprint: 10ft x 10ft
  • Max Vehicle Height: 12in
  • Vehicle Weight: 6,000lbs
  • Payload Capacity: 40,000lbs
  • Max Transport Speed Unloaded: 120 fpm
  • Max Transport Speed Loaded: 90 fpm
Tightest Tolerances
  • Vehicle Positional Accuracy: ± ½"
Material Used
  • Welded steel structure.
Material Finish
  • Powder coated, Anodized
  • Can move in any of four directions
  • Can rotate on center
  • Can handle an average of 15 180ft. moves every shift
  • Dispatch Controller
    • Automatically dispatches a vehicle to pick up a fixture and move it to the next process.
    • Manage traffic flow for multiple moving vehicles.
    • Monitors Charge State and schedules Charge Sessions as Necessary to Maintain Batteries in a Usable Charge State
  • Built In Collision Sensors
    • Per ANSI Specification for Safety
    • Possess Enough Range to Cover Safety for the Overhanging Aircraft Fixtures
  • Control/Override Access Panel
  • (4) Detachable Corner Bogies
    • Sliprings connection for main power and communications.
    • 24VDC Power
    • Corner bogie can be Swapped out w/ Replacement in Less Than 15 Minutes
  • AGV Main Controller
    • Contains Software to Control the Direct Operation of the Vehicle, monitor cameras for guidance and safety scanners for collision avoidance.
  • RFID Tags at Workstations and Path Intersections to Identify Them
  • Onboard Vehicle Controls
    • LCD Panel Provides Operator Interface
  • Laser Scanner Zone Safety
    • 360 Degree Coverage Around Vehicle
In process testing/inspection performed
  • Functional testing
Industry for Use
  • Aerospace
  • 3 Vehicles - 1 main line controller
Delivery/Turnaround Time
  • 8 months to delivery
Delivery Location
  • Seattle, Washington
Standards Met
  • Customer Specifications
Product Name
  • Oven Rack Mover

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