Space Planning is probably the most important aspect of planning an AGV system within a hospital. Deciding on the site and layout of the originating departments and also the location of the various delivery hubs is the starting point for any design process. Because a Hospital is run by People, the priority in the design process is ascertaining how an Automated Guided Vehicle can integrate with the manual processes and external systems. Talk to our specialists who can assist in the design process and provide invaluable guidance.
Doors, Lifts, Access Control Systems, Fire Alarm Systems, Buffer Conveyors, Cart Washers, are all examples of external systems with which the AGV installation might have to integrate with. The backbone of an AGV installation is an Ethernet Network. Some devices have direct data connections, e.g. a Lift Controller may be connected using OPC. Alternatively local PLC controllers interface the data with digital I/O contacts to send/receive status information to external devices. For example, Door Contacts are usually interfaced in this manner.
Fundamental to the performance of an AGV system is the capacity of the transport routes. This will be determined in part by the capacity and throughput of any lifts with which the AGVs interact, and the width of the corridors and streets which the AGVs may traverse. Minimum dimensions and clearances for “Driverless Trucks” are specified in BS-EN 1525:1998 which may influence the building design.
Within a hospital it is important at an early stage in the design process to determine how deliveries and returns are to managed within the receiving departments. Questions that might be asked are e.g. “ Do we need segregation between “clean” and “dirty” payloads?”, and “are we going to deliver directly to the point-of-use, or to a central delivery hub?”. Having a clear understanding of the workflow between automated guided vehicles and manual process is of paramount importance. Quirepace’s specialists can help guide you through these decisions.
It is inevitable in a Hospital situation that Fire Protocols and “Cause & Effect” policies are extensive. An AGV system operating in a Hospital becomes part of these policies and the reaction of the AGV system to a fire situation must be determined. Escape Routes, Emergency Lifts, Fire Door actuations are all considerations connected with a Hospital AGV system. Contact Quirepace’s specialists to discuss the implications and solutions in detail.