Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!



Modex: Back from the new show

By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
February 15, 2012

Last week, the Modern team was in Atlanta at Modex, the new material handling and supply chain show. Going into the show, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, a sentiment that was expressed by a number of exhibitors I spoke to prior to the start of the event.

I’m happy to report that it appeared well-attended, the energy level was great and no one I spoke to wished we were in Detroit or Cleveland in February, rather than Atlanta, where the weather was gorgeous. More importantly, most of the vendors I spoke to said that attendees had projects in mind. I left with a couple of key takeaways, based on the press conferences I attended and the booths I was able to visit.

Robotic material handling is getting interesting:
Robots have been on the factory floor for decades but are just now making inroads into warehousing and distribution applications – mostly around palletizing. For instance, I saw some really exciting solutions for robotic palletizing at Kuka Systems, including a solution to pick layers of mixed products of varying sizes. Kuka was also highlighting a mobile robot to transport pallets or conveyor from station to station in a facility. Meanwhile, Intelligrated was showing a solution for depalletizing. That moves robots from the end of the manufacturing or order fulfillment line into other operations in the warehouse or DC.

It’s all about software: Not so long ago, the conversations with equipment providers focused on their machines while conversations with the WMS companies focused on software. Today, it’s software that is making possible some of the most innovative handling solutions, like the shuttle solutions for goods-to-person picking touted by Dematic, Knapp, TGW and SSI Schaefer

Don’t ignore the low-hanging fruit: Like most people, I’m a sucker for the Gee Whiz factor – the new equipment that I’ve never seen before. At the Interroll booth, I learned about a major cosmetics manufacturer that was generating tremendous savings by converting a decades old conveyor system to motor driven rollers. It was a reminder that there’s a lot to be said for picking the low-hanging fruit first.

The above is by no means an exhaustive list. There were so many booths I didn’t have time to visit. But it was a reminder that innovation is alive and well in our industry. 

 

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.


Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Early indications suggest 2014 on track to avoid second-half softening.

Report highlights executives' focus on direct store delivery processes.

Supply chain visibility is the Holy Grail for warehouses and distribution centers where the fast and efficient movement of goods is the solution to satisfying customer demand. This is especially true for the 68% of companies which are not satisfied with material movement efficiency from source to destination. These companies are seeking new ways to get the right goods to the right place at the right time. They are finding that change, complexity, compliance, competition, and connectivity are leading to further confusion.

Instead of ignoring a forklift fleet and its associated costs, asking the right questions can lead to substantial savings.

This white paper outlines five ways to increase profits with automation. By implementing automated storage and retrieval equipment-such as horizontal carousels, vertical carousels and vertical lift modules, multiple areas of a manufacturing or distribution facility will benefit from savings in inventory accessibility, floor space, time, improved ergonomics and better accuracy.

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. Contact Bob Trebilcock.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA