Industrial trucks to face new competition from AGVs
Despite relatively good performance in 2015 with a market value totalling $27.4 billion, industrial trucks and lifts are facing new competition from automatic guided vehicles (AGVs). According to the latest IHS Markit Materials Handling Automation Opportunities Report, the compound-average annual growth rate (CAGR) of AGV revenues is forecast to be over nine percent from 2015 to 2020, much higher than that for industrial trucks and lifts over the same time period.
Currently, AGVs are used mostly in automotive production as they can be programmed for custom tasks. For example, AGVs are commonly used to haul custom parts for automobiles. While this would have been a logistics nightmare in the past, it is now feasible with AGVs and modern software management systems.
The current outlook is that sales revenues from AGVs will not overtake those of conventional industrial trucks; there will be a minor disruption to truck sales in some regions: many end-users are choosing AGVs as replacements rather than buying new fleets of industrial trucks. They are also investing heavily in the management software that controls entire fleets of AGVs that work alongside legacy production lines and other material handling machinery such as automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS). The main reason for the shift to AGVs is that they have been shown to be more cost-effective in the long term, providing a better return on investment for end-users. Other benefits of AGVs include higher output and smaller error rates than with human-operated industrial trucks. The increasing emphasis on smart manufacturing will also help to stimulate growth in the market.
目前看来，AGV的销售收入不会超过传统工业搬运车的销售收入，在某些地区将会对搬运车销售造成轻微干扰：不少最终用户选择AGV作为替代品，而不是购买新的工业搬运车队。他们还大量投资于管理整个AGV车队的管理软件，与传统生产线以及诸如自动存储和检索系统（AS / RS）等其他材料处理机械一起工作。转向AGV的主要原因是长期看来它们更具成本效益，可以为最终用户提供更好的投资回报。AGV的其他优点包括比人工操作工业搬运车更高的产量和更小的错误率。越来越强调智能制造也将有助于刺激市场的增长。
Despite the stronger market growth of AGVs, industrial trucks and lifts will continue to be the biggest product category for material handling equipment. Sales of industrial trucks will be driven by companies that are reshoring in developed areas such as Mexico that use many industrial trucks in warehouses. Furthermore, the development of alternative fuel sources, like electric traction and hydrogen fuel cells, have reduced the carbon footprint of industrial trucks, making them a greener solution.