VALENCIA, Spain - A project that automatically moves automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to clear a path for the emergency services has scooped a President’s Health and Safety Award.
In the event of an emergency at Ford Almussafes, Project Moses uses radio waves to activate and reposition AGVs, ensuring emergency vehicle 'red' routes are clear for ambulances and fire engines.
The ingenious system - named after the Biblical story of Moses parting the Red Sea - allows the emergency response driver to press a button as he or she enters the facility.
This command sends all AGVs in red corridors to their nearest stop and safely out of the way, and prevents those not in red corridors from accessing restricted routes.
Therefore, emergency responders can reach an incident as quickly as possible without being hindered by AGVs, which are increasingly used around the plant to transport materials and tools.
"Reaction time to an emergency is vital," the project's leaders explained. "With a heart attack or a fire, every minute is critical.
"After studying the existing legislation and regulations, we noted that there is no legal procedure that takes into account the interaction between AGVs and emergency vehicles.
"From there came a very simple idea: AGVs should be set aside when an emergency vehicle enters the plant."
Once the ambulance or fire engine leaves the plant, the selector is reactivated and all AGVs go about their normal duties.
The team is currently working on phase two of the project, which will see buttons installed at the medical centre and fire station, increasing reaction time and ensuring all AGVs are safely stowed as soon as possible.
"This award reflects our constant concern for the safety of people working in the factory, while at the same time, the spirit of innovation that we contribute," commented project team member Helios Álvarez, Body & Stamping area manager.