Automation was a key focus of the recent LogiMAT show in Stuttgart. The latest developments were evident not only in hardware and software, but increasingly in attachments which are often used with autonomous vehicles or in smart applications.
Cascade’s theme for LogiMAT 2022 was the Forks+ program, showing the possibilities of using the capabilities of standard forks combined with other options such as sensors.
The intelligent forks are equipped with a range of sensors which provide vital information about the load and the environment to the driver, according to Hansjörg Freund, regional sales manager.
The company also showed its Cascade Weigh Forks and its telescopic forks, all of which increase productivity and accuracy.
For the growing AGV market, Cascade demonstrated its electric mast and electric sideloader attachments designed to be integrated into the electric vehicles.
“The AGV market is a growth market for us, and our special solutions allow for cost savings (by avoiding the use of hydraulic systems) and reduce the risk of leakages,” he says. “Over the years, we have worked with the major forklift companies who are introducing AGVs, but this market is expanding more and more.”
Cascade also used LogiMAT to launch its Forks+ In Motion program, a market outreach using vans fitted with some of the advanced attachments. Potential customers can request a site visit and are able to see the forks in action without having to fit them to forklifts in their fleets.
German manufacturer Vetter used the show to highlight is SmartFork high-tech fork solutions.
General manager Arnold Vetter says it’s all about integrating sensors and cameras into forks to increase safety and efficiency.
He credits Vetter’s customers for the company’s ongoing product development, saying their ideas have helped create many of the current solutions.
The company’s standard products are well known and don’t need to be on show, he says, and instead Vetter chooses to display its new technology which attracts new customers and renewed interest from existing users.
Businesses like Vetter are doubly affected by the current market stresses – since the company is a large user of both steel and electronic components. “Our main target is really to keep things running,” says Vetter. “We’re facing both shortage of supply and tremendous price increases,” he adds.
“The good thing is that we have strong relationships with suppliers which ensure that we are able to get materials – albeit delayed.”
Similarly, strong relationships with customers, including long-term client Linde, ensure that Vetter is able to pass on some of the rising costs in its pricing arrangements.
Kaup demonstrated its Smart Load Control (SLC) system, a clamp attachment that precisely controls the clamping force.
The company had wanted to show the attachment two years ago, but the public launch was delayed by COVID-19 and LogiMAT was the first opportunity for many visitors to see the system, even though there are already 250 units at work in various sites.
“The attachment works autonomously without the forklift truck and senses the minimum clamping force required – independently of the load pattern or weight,” marketing manager Gerald Schmidt explains.
“The SLC allows the driver to focus on his truck while the clamp takes care of the cargo,” he says, adding that one show visitor from the UK is now in the process of ordering 160 units.
Kaup CEO Holger Kaup notes that this product is one of those affected by price rises (steel has increased in price four-fold since last year) and component shortages, and he doesn’t expect any relief from the supply chain challenges this year.
Another challenge is that most forklift manufacturers are quoting delivery times of a year, so Kaup says it doesn’t make sense to produce products “which will not be delivered until next year”.
Bolzoni attended LogiMAT to show its investment in “intelligent” devices to support safety, speed and productivity. On display was the Easy-Move home appliances clamp and the Easy-Force carton clamp connected to a smart touchscreen device installed in the forklift cabin. The company's Easy-Forks range, including vision systems with tip and side camera on standard fork, laser pointer to support pallet handling also attracted interest.
Carlo Fallarini, global marketing director, notes that "a lot of new technology is entering in the forklift attachments world and the most important manufacturers are all working in this direction, implementing new technology in this part of the materials handling industry".
- Next week: How manufacturers are responding to supply chain challenges. And see our LogiMAT gallery here.