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ProMat 2011 ready for 30,000 attendees

Industry trade show and Educational conference will also offer access to Automate 2011.
By Noël P. Bodenburg, Executive Managing Editor
February 01, 2011

It seems as if the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA,, sponsor of ProMat 2011, had a premonition of this winter’s wrath when it moved the bi-annual industry event this year from snowy January to March in Chicago.

ProMat, the materials handling industry’s premier trade show and educational conference, will be held at McCormick Place South from March 21 to 24, and officials are getting ready to welcome nearly 30,000 visitors.

Attendees will find more than 700 exhibits, two keynotes, two educational tracks and 80 educational sessions spread over the four days. In addition, registered attendees not only gain full access to ProMat, but also free entry into Automate 2011, held across the hall in McCormick Place North.

Like ProMat, Automate (formerly the International Robots, Vision & Motion Control Show) is held just once every two years. Sponsored by the Automation Technologies Council (ATC)—and its trade associations Robotic Industries Association (RIA), Automated Imaging Association (AIA) and Motion Control Association (MCA)—Automate will showcase the latest robotic, vision, motion control and automation technologies and systems.

MHIA and ATC brought the two shows together for the first time to help visitors maximize their travel time and budget. Because of the logical fit between the industries and their technologies, and the emergence of more robotics systems into materials handling practices, now seemed like a good time to co-locate, said John Nofsinger, CEO of MHIA.

“We’ve always known that the audience for the robotics and materials handling industries are very compatible and, because there is little overlap in the memberships of our two organizations, very few exhibitors had to choose in which event to exhibit,” he added.

With two shows being hosted in one location, officials decided to have not one, but two keynote addresses. The first runs Monday morning and features Tom Ridge, the first U. S. Secretary of Homeland Security. During the presentation, “Fortune Favors the Brave: The Net Gain of Supply Chain Security in a Risk-Based World,” Ridge will examine the inextricable link between security and prosperity for the global supply chain.

On Tuesday, the second keynote presentation, “The Development of Robonaut 2: A Story of Government-Industry Collaboration and Technology Transfer for the Next Generation of Robotic Solutions,” will feature speakers from NASA and General Motors. The two organizations will share insights into how they continue to work together to accelerate the development of the next generation of robots and related technologies for use in both the automotive and aerospace industries.

Co-located events
In addition to Automate, other organizations affiliated with the materials handling and robotics industries have seized the opportunity to host events during these four days. These include the 42nd International Symposium on Robotics (fully integrated with Automate) and the 2011 Industrial Crane & Hoist Conference (co-located with ProMat).

Further, associations and affiliated groups are hosting gatherings to give show visitors the chance to meet and learn more about topics specific to their industry in private rooms at McCormick Place. These include WERC Council of Chicago, The Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA), and the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).

Beyond the 700 exhibits on the show floor, ProMat offers numerous ways for you to learn something new. Eighty free educational sessions will be located in the Knowledge Center running from 10:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and on Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Topics range from best practices reviews to maintenance to metrics.

“The on-floor seminars are presented by industry experts in materials handling and logistics solutions,” says Terri Heisey, manager of conference programs for MHIA. “It’s a great opportunity for attendees to be educated on the latest technologies from exhibitors, industry groups and research institutions.”

ProMat will also feature two half-day educational tracks that will provide in-depth coverage on supply chain career development and sustainability. 

On Tuesday, from 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., a series of presentations and panel discussions will examine “The People Side of the Supply Chain.” This track will take a close look at how companies can succeed at leading the people who keep the supply chain moving. In these sessions, details will be shared about a variety of available resources that will help keep people interested, engaged and committed to a supply chain career and to your company.

On Wednesday, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Steve Thomas of TV’s “This Old House” and “Renovation Nation” will be both speaker and host of several presentations discussing “Sustainability, the Supply Chain and Their Future Together.” This speaker series will examine what it takes to start injecting sustainable practices into the supply chain, what is working today and what a sustainable supply chain might look like in 2030.

Show Floor
With the economy slowly rebounding, exhibitors who chose to have a presence at the show will be in prime position to help a crowd of attendees that Nofsinger says has come prepared to buy.

“They’re coming to make specific, selected purchases, as opposed to just an introduction to new technologies,” he notes. Topping the must-see lists of most show visitors are solutions that enhance productivity, promote sustainability, and improve ergonomics as the workforce of the future both ages and shrinks in size.

“Companies spent the last two years postponing major expenditures as they worked to lean everything down in order to live to fight another day,” MHIA’s Nofsinger says. “Now, attendees are coming to equip and retool existing facilities to make them more productive so that as business starts to flow they can take advantage of the economic recovery.”

In addition to solidifying purchasing plans as they stroll the ProMat show aisles, attendees will discover new solutions to streamline operations and improve visibility, maximize efficiency and flexibility, cut costs and speed time to market. Exhibits from industry, commerce and government will be showcased throughout the 300,000 square foot show floor. 

ProMat 2011 will be held March 21 - 24, 2011 at McCormick Place South in Chicago. The tradeshow will showcase the latest manufacturing, distribution and supply chain solutions in the material handling and logistics industry.

Read all of Modern’s ProMat 2011 coverage

About the Author

Noël P. Bodenburg
Executive Managing Editor

Noël P. Bodenburg, executive managing editor, has been with Modern Materials Handling and Material Handling Product News since 2006. She is a graduate of Boston University. Prior to joining the Supply Chain Group magazines, Noël worked as a production and managing editor at other industry business-to-business publications.

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News · February 2011 · ProMat · All topics

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