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ProMat dubbed ‘best ever’


Thursday, 18 Apr 2019 ( #919 ) - Chicago, IL, United States
News Story
Another successful ProMat has come to an end
ProMat 2019, held last week in Chicago, Illinois, is being hailed as another success, with an estimated 45,000 people attending and a record number of exhibitors (close to 1,000) spanning 420,000 sqft. (39,000 sqm).

The event included more than 130 education sessions and attracted visitors from over 115 countries.

AGV maker AutoGuide Mobile Robots launched the latest product configuration in the Max N10 Modular Mobile Robot line, the Max N10 Pallet Stacker. Designed for customers that currently use its tugger and conveyor deck configurations in both industrial manufacturing and distribution centres, this new  pallet stacker features autonomous pallet finding and infrastructure-free navigation.
The Max N10 Pallet Stacker is an automated counterbalance lift truck that can automatically pick and place pallets or racks from floor level, trailer decks, conveyors, or racks up to 5 ft. (1.5 m) high. Standard payload capacity is 1,770 lb. (800 kg), with a high capacity version for up to 2,650 lb. (1,200 kg).

Bolzoni Auramo used ProMat to show off its new swing frame paper roll clamp, a 360-degree single-stage rotation unit equipped with a heavy-duty clamp body and arm design. It appeared alongside the LS-V series carton clamp designed for safe and damage-free palletless handling of white goods and high-volume carton boxes. For the beverage industry, there was a new multi pallet handler in the 12PH series.

EnerSys launched a lithium-ion solution
EnerSys launched its lithium-ion solution, NexSys iON, together with its NexSys PURE batteries, designed with advanced Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology. Both technologies provide sustainable, trouble-free power and integrate sophisticated data systems to assess operations and alleviate concerns of operational costs, downtime and maintenance.
Harold Vanasse, EnerSys senior director of marketing, motive power Americas, noted the growth of ProMat from the last show. "Throughout the four-day event, those who visited EnerSys expressed a high level of interest in the innovative power solutions and systems on display and were eager to learn how the solutions delivered high reliability, low upkeep, high productivity and low risk for industrial vehicles of all types – no matter the size of the operation. Visitors to the EnerSys booth were also intrigued with the wireless charging demonstration," he says.
Vanasse adds that the educational seminars presented by EnerSys chief technical officer and senior vice president Joern Tinnemeyer were extremely well attended by engaged audiences.

Logistics robotics producer Geek+ showcased new products including the C200 Bin-Carrying Robot Shuttle System, an autonomous forklift, and the OpenBox System.  
Geek+ showcased new products
According to a company spokesman, visitors were most curious about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the way Geek+ applies big data, artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies to serve multiple functions and deliver higher throughput with cost-effective and work-productive performance.
Geek+ received favourable feedback during the exhibition, especially from overseas visitors.

Hyster showcased its robotic counterbalance stacker at the Balyo booth. The counterbalance stacker model is capable of both point-to-point horizontal transportation, but also vertical movement, allowing it to autonomously retrieve or deposit pallets from elevated spaces. This opens a variety of tasks for automation, including transferring pallets from floor-level staging areas to conveyor lines, loading and unloading in cross-docking applications, and stacking pallet loads onto elevated storage.
According to a Hyster spokesperson, the themes the company predominantly saw at ProMat this year focused on power-agnostic solutions, telematics, broader motive power trends and electrification. "The ability to provide motive power insights that directly tie into ROI was a topic of great interest. There was an uptick in conversations about hydrogen fuel cells, lithium-ion batteries and advanced lead-acid options as power sources. In fact, the company launched a Power Match initiative at the show designed to help customers select a motive power solution informed by their unique operational need, goals and return on investment (ROI)," Forkliftaction News was told.

Aiming to further improve customers’ efficiency and bottom lines, JLT Mobile Computers presented its latest end-to-end IT solutions for the manufacturing and supply chain industry at ProMAT 2019. Highlights at this year’s event included a brand new, productivity-boosting terminal emulation solution specifically designed for wireless environments. An expanded range of Android and Windows tablets, handhelds and vehicle-mount computers was also on show.
Matt Meersman, VP sales, says this year’s event was another success, with strong footfall at the booth from day one. "ProMAT is a key event on our US trade show calendar and an ideal platform to connect with both existing customers and new prospects. We also see it as a great place to learn about new market developments and stay tuned to evolving customer challenges.
"This year, we saw a lot of interest in our added service offering as customers are looking for ways to increase their efficiency," he notes.

KION North America used the show to debut eight new Linde brand warehouse vehicles and demonstrate a Linde Very Narrow Aisle Vehicle powered by Dematic. "Not only did we introduce a new line, the latest generation warehouse products, but we have also shown the first practical examples of how Dematic and Linde can offer unique customer solutions," says Vincent Halma, CEO of KION North America.
KION also demonstrated the first interface of Linde’s hardware with the sophisticated software world of Dematic, merging customer data and hardware all in one platform.
Halma says KION had quite a prominent location - close to the entrance of the hall - leading to a constant flow of visitors. This location and continuous flow of visitors also led to new and interesting leads. "We had tremendous responses for our new solutions and products," he adds.

LiuGong showed four machines
LiuGong showed four machines: the 2025G and 2030G dual-fuel IC pneumatic tyre forklifts, and the new cushion tyre models -  the 2025G-C propane unit and 2025A-SC electric cushion model. These models were specifically designed to meet the expectations of the American market, according to Ken Biediger, president of the Chinese manufacturer’s North American forklift division.
" This year’s ProMat show was one of the best in memory given the amount of traffic and quality of leads, especially during the first two days.  We were very pleased with the results and we expect to sign up several new dealers," he says, adding that LiuGong was able to differentiate its brand as a premium product line compared to other Chinese brands.
The ongoing trade tariffs between the USA and China was a popular topic of discussion at the stand, he says. "We are hopeful that recent progress in negotiations will soon eliminate the tariff on forklifts imported into America.  In spite of the tariffs, LiuGong has been able to maintain its value proposition in the market compared to the leading brands."

MHI announced the winners of the 2019 MHI Innovation Awards during ProMat.
The 2019 MHI Innovation Award winners are:
· Best New Product: Pick2Pack by CMC srl
· Best Innovation of an Existing Product: RightPick: The Piece Picking Solution by RightHand Robotics Inc.
· Best IT Innovation: redPILOT by KNAPP Inc.
The MHI Innovation Award serves to educate and provide valuable insights on the latest manufacturing and supply chain products and services to ProMat attendees.  ProMat 2019 exhibitors were called to submit a new product, product line, technology or service, or new application of existing products or technology that create quantifiable and sustainable results in terms of ROI, cost savings, customer satisfaction, etc.  

Plug Power’s ProMat booth showcased a variety of logistics solutions, including GenDrive fuel cell systems, GenFuel hydrogen fueling station infrastructure, and the ProGen fuel cell engine.
Jose Luis Crespo, Plug Power VP – sales, says the booth was full of visitors that included current customers and partners as well as prospective customers looking for productivity solutions for their own facilities. "We had plenty of interaction with people with questions about our customer press announcement regarding Chicago-based Lipari Foods’ use of fuel cells and hydrogen in their facility. All in all, a very good week!"
Crespo says attendees were interested in how fuel cells and hydrogen fuel compare to batteries in their materials handling facilities. "ProMat attendees this year were looking for education regarding alternatives for battery technology - including lead-acid, fast charge and li-ion solutions. Plug Power was excited to be able to show our proven solutions that impact a great portion of the logistics chain, including last mile delivery vans and airport baggage transport," he says. "Hydrogen and fuel cells will only continue to grow in capability and scope."

Safety solutions provider Rite-Hite had a variety of solutions on display, including Dok-Commander which is touted as the brain of its loading dock systems. The Rite-Vu Hazard Communication System showed the use of motion-sensing technology to trigger audible and visual alarms to alert workers of moving equipment, both inside and outside the dock opening. In-plant safety equipment, including the GateKeeper mezzanine safety gate and the Safe-T-Signal warning system, were also on show.

Seegrid’s Jeff Christensen shares tips on automation
AGV maker Seegrid showcased the new Raymond Courier 3030 Automated Stacker that was launched as part of its strategic partnership with Raymond. The 3030 Stacker combines Seegrid’s expertise in automation with Raymond’s end-to-end warehouse solutions and forklift proficiency, according to a spokeswoman.  
Seegrid vision-guided vehicles also boasted their growth, noting that nearly 2 million infrastructure-free production miles had been clocked – more than any other infrastructure-free AGV company. "We are extremely proud of our odometer, and even more so given every mile is accident-free," she adds.
For Seegrid, the energy and excitement at ProMat was palpable. "Attendees were on a quest for knowledge and welcomed the many opportunities for education from a host of industry experts. On Tuesday, Jeff Christensen, Seegrid’s VP of product, shared tips on building a business case for automation to more than 100 attendees and answered dozens of attendee questions, citing examples and key learnings from Seegrid’s nearly 100 customers," the spokeswoman explains.

Toyota returned to ProMat
Toyota Material Handling returned to ProMat with a focus on its Toyota Advanced Logistics Solutions (TALS) business which includes integrators Bastian Solutions and Vanderlande.
TMH also showed off the MyToyota Store, an e-commerce portal with more than 600,000 parts for forklifts and other materials handling equipment.

Tyre maker Trelleborg showed off three new tyre compounds at ProMat.
The three new compounds being introduced by Trelleborg are all designed to provide users with increased productivity, safety, sustainability and value. ProTEX is an electrically conducting, non-marking compound; ProHD is a heavy-duty compound for increasing load capacity; and Heat Shield is a flame-retardant super premium compound.

UniCarriers’ booth had a BXC 4-wheel electric truck and a Nomad compact pneumatic truck together with a custom-painted chassis that "highlighted the quality of the UniCarriers Production Way, as well as the UniCarriers engine and transmission, all built in our Marengo, Illinois factory," according to Brian Markison, senior director of sales and marketing. "Guests of the show really seemed to be intrigued with the chassis and the UniCarriers Production Way video as they passed by or stopped at our booth."
He says the show floor was completely full of booths with overflow into the Automate hall. "This year, there were outstanding booths showcasing a great variety of products and services. Another upgrade from previous ProMat shows is the creativity and professionalism vendors are incorporating into their booths. From the many product demonstrations to the grand scale of the participating companies, this was surely the best ProMat yet."
Markison says automation was a common topic for discussion at the booth, giving the team an opportunity to discuss the recent partnership with Rocla, an AGV manufacturing company from Finland, whose entire line of AGV solutions are now sold and serviced by UniCarriers Americas.

Yale Materials Handling Corporation displayed an extensive range of solutions at ProMat, including its new MPE060-080VH end rider pallet truck. Yale also debuted what it says is the first dual-mode pantograph robotic lift truck capable of autonomously depositing and retrieving loads from locations as high as 30 ft. (9 m) and reaching into double-deep storage. This is the first product in collaboration with JBT and uses a combination of sensors and 3D cameras for maximum precision and effectiveness at higher-level storage locations, capable of exceeding the productivity of operator-driven trucks.
Forkliftaction's Jolie Booth and Jamie Shelton
The company also showed its Yale Vision telematics solutions as well as its current offering of training simulators.
"It should come as no surprise that labour continued to be a common theme and driving factor for attendees exploring new solutions," a spokesman says. "The labour situation pressures attendees to re-examine their strategic workforce planning, with interest in technologies like robotics and connected IoT solutions to make the most effective use of labour resources that are available."

The new MC9300 mobile computer, ATR7000 RTLS reader and TC8300 touch computer were the main focus of the Zebra Technologies booth at ProMat 2019.
Amanda Honig, senior manager, North America manufacturing and transportation & logistics vertical marketing, says ProMat was very well-attended and Zebra’s exhibit was busy throughout the show. "We hosted many customers, partners, journalists and industry analysts offering background on our latest solutions and manufacturing and supply chain trends. One of the main topics driving ‘buzz’ at the show was e-commerce and its implications on supply chain operations and fulfilment."
There were a lot of conversations about Windows to Android mobile computing operating system (OS) migration as the sunset date for Microsoft support nears, he says. "E-commerce was another hot topic among visitors to Zebra’s ProMat booth. They were interested in learning more about how Zebra’s solutions are enabling companies to become better equipped to handle new demands related to e-commerce, such as faster shipping and asset tracking."
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