By THE NATION
Wareemon Purapati, managing director of GenSurv Co Ltd, revealed the birthing story of the tech startup. “We are a group of Thai robotics engineers who have a passion for robotics and had participated in Robocop competitions during our student years at university. We have continued our passion for mobile robots and developed them into real industrial robotic solutions.”
The company started by creating “unmanned boats” in order to speed up hydrographic surveys and increase their precision and cost-effectiveness. They also launched ROV, an underwater survey robot.
In 2017-18, the company received funding from Thailand Research Fund (TRF) and co-invested in research and developments of an autonomous forklift for transportation of goods within warehouses – the “AGV Forklift”, which has evolved to today’s Ply AGV.
They are now ready to commercialise this latest breakthrough.
Autonomous vehicles with laser-guided navigation are now hot products for use in smart warehouses. With the worsening shortage of experienced forklift drivers with the required licences, combined with the rising volume of products that need to be moved around and managed in warehouses and on production lines, there is a need for robotics and automation. Add in the need for increased speed and efficiency and the demand for real-time delivery and detailed digital tracking information in this era of online trading and real time data connection, and AGVs have emerged as the best available solution at the warehouse and factory level.
AGVs can move products efficiently, as well as connect transport information to warehouse and production systems. Moreover, they can receive, transmit and store real-time data about the status of goods, enabling them to capture how many items have been taken out and on which date and time. Companies can know the status of
inventory in a timely fashion.
The locally developed Ply AGV autonomous forklift is guided by a laser system, which makes it superior to typical AGVs, which follow a fixed route using wire or magnetic tapes.
That laser navigation allows it to be used to move goods on the ground or on the upper shelves of warehouses or product lines like a traditional human-driven forklift, but without the human errors and resulting product damage that can slow down processing.
“We converted a normal forklift to be autonomous,” said Wareemon. “For safety, the AGVs are equipped with world-class navigation and safety sensors to enable AGVs to work with high precision. The benefits of AGVs are they can work tirelessly, reliably and safely 24 hours a day and can send information about their work and location.”
Given the shortage of experienced forklift operators and the need to increase efficiency in moving goods around warehouses and production lines, AGVs present a solution. They also reduce errors and accidents, and address the need to connect work data, transportation and real-time status in a market which requires more rapid response.
Imported models are available in Thailand only at a very high price, she noted.
Ply AGV offers a wide range of models according to the needs of customers and users. They include the AGV Counter Balance forklift for handling heavy loads, the AGV Pallet Mover forklift for moving goods at ground level and the AGV Pallet Stacker forklift system that can lift items up to shelves. They all move freely without new structures or magnetic tracks and have a built-in safety measure with sensors to stop when encountering people or barriers. This is in compliance with international standards.
Another important advantage is that users of Ply AGV will gain confidence in the installation and maintenance services offered by engineers, manufacturers and designers who have expertise in Thailand, can closely design the system to meet customers’ requirements, and will provide after-sales services in a timely manner.
GenSurv can also boast its locally designed and produced unmanned survey vessel (USV) that is quicker, more accurate and economical than those with drivers.
The USV is ideal for use in exploration work in areas that are difficult for people to access, such as exploration for marine gas pipelines or large water sources.
It is also ideal for surveying water sources that are at risk of danger, water mapping, determining the volume of dams or sources of water for water management and waterworks, as well as underwater surveys and water quality monitoring in various areas.