Modex exhibitor insights

Allan Leibowitz -
News Story
- 7 Apr 2022 ( #1071 ) - Atlanta, GA, United States
6 min read
Record attendance at MODEX 2022
Record attendance at MODEX 2022

Organisers are classifying it as the largest MODEX event to date, with more than 37,000 visitors attending this year’s gathering at Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center. 

Visitor attendance was up 20% on the last pre-pandemic show, MODEX 2018. 

“MODEX 2022 was a huge success and a dramatic return to in-person events for the supply chain industry,” says John Paxton, CEO, MHI. “After two years, exhibitors and attendees were excited to be there and energised by the opportunity to connect and get back to the business of discovering the latest supply chain technology and innovation in person.”

The dominant trend at MODEX surrounded digital supply chain solutions including automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, augmented reality, the Internet of Things and data analytics. 

“We’re seeing a revolutionary acceleration in the adoption of these technologies in manufacturing and supply chain operations,” says Paxton. “The solutions on display this year reflected this trend.” 

During the event, Paxton and Deloitte’s Thomas Boykin released the findings of the 2022 MHI Annual Industry Report, detailing the revolutionary adoption of supply chain technology that is predicted to make operations more responsive and agile amid ongoing disruptions. 

During this event, MHI also announced the winners of the 2022 MHI Innovation Awards: 

Best New Product: Phantom Auto

Best IT Innovation: Veryable, Inc.

Best Innovation of an Existing Product: Ancra Systems BV

Exhibitor analysis

Schneider Electric's Ryan Gavin
Schneider Electric's Ryan Gavin

As mentioned by Paxton, automation was a hot topic on the floor of MODEX 2022.

Brian Reinhart, vice president of sales and marketing at Hai Robotics US, sees labour as a key industry challenge. “But in addition, space utilisation, order accuracy, order speed (cut-off time improvement), ergonomics, and an ever-evolving consumer base that changes the demands every couple years are all major challenges facing our market,” he says.

He says Hai’s technology combines the best in industry space utilisation, order fulfillment speed and flexibility, providing end-users with the ability to supplement their labour issues and get orders out the door more accurately and faster than ever before.

Lior Elazary, CEO and co-founder of inVia Robotics, also stresses the benefits of automation to overcome the challenges associated with the e-commerce boom and a worsening labour shortage.

The main challenges, he says are warehouses struggling to keep up, workers tired of performing rote tasks that require constant work without breaks and often walking long distances through warehouse aisles, and the labour-intensity of traditional store fulfillment.

Lior Elazary
Lior Elazary

Labour challenges are also a key issue identified by Matthew Rendall, CEO and co-founder of OTTO Motors. “There’s an unprecedented shortage of labour across every industry that we serve. In order for our customers to keep the doors open, they are looking for ways to automate their way out of this challenge. Businesses are seeking out AMRs and autonomous forklifts, so our challenge is not to convince them of the need, but that our options are better than our competitors,” he explains.

Ryan Gavin, retail & logistics segment leader and global account manager at Schneider Electric, also stressed the shortage of skilled labour, alongside “procurement and supply chain challenges that we're experiencing for raw materials and components”.

“Advanced automation and digitalised materials handling systems are no longer a nice-to-have; they are a pre-requisite for remaining competitive,” he says. “The answer to building state-of-the-art control systems that support a step-change in logistics operations productivity and efficiency lies in three key capabilities provided by IEC 61499, an exciting modern evolution of existing automation standards.”

Locix CEO Vik Pavate identifies data as the key to increased efficiency and cost control, but notes that “existing warehouse applications collect data at the start and the end of a task, but what happens in between is undetermined – meaning this critical piece of real-time data is missing”. He recommends implementing warehouse intelligence solutions which offer real-time visibility into operations from start to finish, collect and analyse data, and drive actionable insights from various software silos into a single interface. 

For Mark Wheeler, director of supply chain solutions at Zebra Technologies, one of the main challenges is learning how and when to leverage autonomous mobile materials handling solutions.

“It takes between four and five weeks on average to bring a new employee fully up to speed. And this time is getting longer not shorter,” he says.

“Zebra, through its acquisition of Fetch Robotics, offers a broad portfolio of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) which can safely and quickly navigate through the facility to move materials and operate across three shifts. 

“Customers are learning about the capabilities of these solutions and where they can make an impact from receiving through shipping in a variety of use cases.”

Improving traditional equipment

Arnold Vetter
Arnold Vetter

Carlos Beltran, director of product management at Plug Power, identifies the same issues. “Labour shortages, warehouse space constraints and operational predictability are challenges that impact your costs and reduce your productivity,” he says. 

“Plug Power helps materials handling organisations solve their biggest challenges: by doing more with less by increasing productivity, facing inflation by reducing operational costs, and helping to meet their sustainability goals with ease,” he says, explaining the benefits of hydrogen fuel cells. “Plug Power has committed to producing 500 T per day of green hydrogen by 2025.”

Vetter CEO Arnold Vetter added a broader perspective: “Like our entire industry, we are facing multiple challenges resulting from the Russian invasion (of) Ukraine, the ongoing trade-conflicts, and COVID, which has not been overcome yet! Fragile supply chains, material shortages and especially exploding costs for almost (all materials), services, transports, energy and so on is a really dangerous cocktail of challenges!”

But there are plenty of opportunities, he says: “As logistics is still a key driver and an integral part of our economies, we see further growth in the sector for the future. And we (make) one of the most important tools for that: the fork! The invention of the SmartFork paved the way for new applications: with the integration of cameras, sensors and additional features into the fork, we have made it a versatile and essential helper to increase safety, efficiency and ergonomics in forklift operations as well as for AGVs.”

Todd Sechrist, CEO and president of Sunlight Batteries USA, stresses that the past two years have been a turbulent time for many industries. “For the materials handling market, the biggest challenge now is the disruption to global supply chains. The sector was already facing issues due to labour shortages, Brexit trade barriers and the Covid-19 pandemic, and this has now been compounded by the Russia-Ukraine war.  

“Logistics challenges have brought into sharp focus the need for long-term localisation of supply chains. Reverting to vertical integration is increasingly discussed to mitigate these challenges,” he says.

Sunlight’s response to the market changes is heavy investment in automation, technology and operational excellence, with a particular focus on Industry 4.0 principles and tools. “Moreover, we are implementing a USD110 million R&D investment focusing on innovative lithium technologies … to develop innovative and high-end products which are capable of meeting heightened industry demands and are compatible with Industry 4.0 technology.”

Read part 1 of our MODEX 2022 report: Automation dominates MODEX  

  • The next MHI-sponsored trade event will be ProMat 2023 on 20-23 March in Chicago’s McCormick Place. 
New tech abounds at CeMAT Australia
New tech abounds at CeMAT Australia 3 Aug 2023 - Sydney, NSW, Australia - 16 min read
Sustainability theme at TOC Europe
Sustainability theme at TOC Europe 22 Jun 2023 - Rotterdam, Netherlands - 6 min read
CeMAT heads to South East Asia
CeMAT heads to South East Asia 1 Jun 2023 - Singapore - 1 min read
Previously about:
Cirro Fulfillment adds Hai Robotics products to warehouse News Story - 23 Nov 2023 - Euskirchen, Germany - 1 min read
Movers & Shakers News Story - 2 Nov 2023 - 1 min read
New tech abounds at CeMAT Australia News Story - 3 Aug 2023 - Sydney, NSW, Australia - 16 min read
Labour challenges loom in 2024 News Story - 28 Dec 2023 - 10 min read
Mitsubishi Heavy acquires Concentric power business News Story - 13 Jul 2023 - Tokyo, Japan - 1 min read
Labour concerns rise – survey News Story - 4 May 2023 - South Jordan, UT, United States - 2 min read
Many paths to automation at LogiMAT News Story - 4 Apr 2024 - Stuttgart, Germany - 6 min read
Falcon Group named OTTO Motors Mid East rep News Story - 14 Mar 2024 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates - 1 min read
Otto updates AMR software News Story - 29 Feb 2024 - Kitchener, ON, United States - 1 min read
New products shown at MODEX News Story - 7 Apr 2016 - Atlanta, GA, United States - 6 min read
Methanol, hydrogen fuel cells gain believers News Story - 27 Jan 2011 - United States - 5 min read
MODEX exhibitors focus on labour shortage News Story - 28 Mar 2024 - Atlanta, GA, United States - 7 min read
DHL adds robots in New Zealand News Story - 7 Dec 2023 - Auckland, New Zealand - 1 min read
Sunlight expands in North Carolina News Story - 20 Oct 2022 - Greensboro, NC, United States - 1 min read
Safety front of mind at LogiMAT News Story - 28 Mar 2024 - Stuttgart, Germany - 6 min read
Logimat: Attachment and accessory enhancements News Story - 18 May 2023 - Stuttgart, Germany - 8 min read
Supply chain issues overshadow LogiMAT News Story - 30 Jun 2022 - Stuttgart, Germany - 7 min read
Do you have materials handling news? Submit your news here

PREMIUM business

ZHEJIANG MICROLIFT CO., LTD
Microlift places great value on innovation and creativity, with the unprecedented I-TOUCH Handle.

Seeking Ambitious Dealers Globally. Your chance to join a leading heavy machinery brand. Exclusive territories await!

Exclusive Territories Available. Join SOCMA's leading innovation in heavy machinery. 

Partner for success. Enjoy comprehensive support and impressive profit potential.

Contact us now - +86 153 050 495 72 - www.socma-forklift.com 

Words of support …

After advertising with Forkliftaction.com, we got many enquiries regarding interest to be our distributor. Mostly from Europe and USA but including a few in ASEAN. We feel that the advertisement was useful and good for market expansion.

Lawrence Xu, Assistant Sales Manager - Resonac Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.

Are you recruiting? Find your ideal candidate among a diverse range of materials handling professionals:

Forkliftaction's JOB MARKET

PREMIUM business

RAEDER-VOGEL
Innovative high-quality wheels and castors for the forklift industry.

Are you recruiting? Find your ideal candidate among a diverse range of materials handling professionals:

Forkliftaction's JOB MARKET

Seeking Ambitious Dealers Globally. Your chance to join a leading heavy machinery brand. Exclusive territories await!

Exclusive Territories Available. Join SOCMA's leading innovation in heavy machinery. 

Partner for success. Enjoy comprehensive support and impressive profit potential.

Contact us now - +86 153 050 495 72 - www.socma-forklift.com 

Upcoming industry events …
July 10-11, 2024 - Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
September 3-5, 2024 - SÃO PAULO, Brazil
November 26-28, 2023 - Kololi, Gambia, The
Words of support …

After advertising with Forkliftaction.com, we got many enquiries regarding interest to be our distributor. Mostly from Europe and USA but including a few in ASEAN. We feel that the advertisement was useful and good for market expansion.

Lawrence Xu, Assistant Sales Manager - Resonac Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.

Are you recruiting? Find your ideal candidate among a diverse range of materials handling professionals:

Forkliftaction's JOB MARKET

Konecranes Liftace F16-600C, 2023, 16T Heavy Forklift Truck.
Hyster H46-33 IH, 2010, Diesel Reach Stacker.
SMV 4535 TB5, 2014, Diesel Reach Stacker.
Kalmar DCG 160-12, 2021, 4 wheel counterbalanced forklift >10T.
SMV 42-1200C, 2020, 4 wheel counterbalanced forklift roro >10T.

KEEP ON MOVING!

T: +31 20 497 4101 | Web | Email | Shopfront