ProMat 2013 Planner: What’s new and what’s next

With more than 800 exhibitors, three keynotes and an extensive educational program, ProMat 2013 looks to be the biggest edition of the show yet.

By · November 1, 2012

With about two months to go before ProMat 2013 opens, preparations for North America’s largest materials handling show are heating up.

Nearly 30,000 visitors are expected to attend ProMat 2013, which will be held January 21 to January 24 in Chicago’s McCormick Place. Sponsored by the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA), more than 800 companies will showcase what’s new and what’s next in materials handling and logistics equipment and systems solutions. The show will also include three keynotes as well as an extensive educational program.

“Companies are spending money on material handling solutions that improve productivity,”  said George Prest, CEO of MHIA. “In 2011, attendees came to the show to solidify their purchasing plans. This year, attendees will be coming with projects in hand and wallets open; they’re looking for the latest in innovations that can help them attain their goals.”

Exhibits from industry, commerce and government will be showcased throughout the 300,000-square-foot show floor.

“The 2009 installment of ProMat was the largest show we’ve ever hosted, and we’re projecting that 2013 will top that show both in terms of exhibit square footage and attendance,” said Prest.
In addition to ProMat, registered attendees will also get free entry into Automate 2013, held in McCormick Place North. Like ProMat, Automate (formerly the International Robots, Vision & Motion Control Show) is held just once every two years. The event is sponsored by the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) and its trade associations, which include the Robotic Industries Association (RIA); AIA, the global association for vision and imaging; and the Motion Control Association (MCA). Automate will showcase the full spectrum of automation technologies and solutions.

“It’s a natural fit for the associations,” Prest said. “In our industry, automation represents a large area of growth, and it’s at the top of everybody’s agenda right now as companies continue to seek to improve efficiencies.”

To make it easier for attendees to find the solutions they are looking for, the ProMat 2013 show floor is divided into four solution-specific sections:
• Manufacturing & Assembly Solutions Center: Featuring automated assembly support, intelligent devices, robotics, ergonomic and safety equipment, work stations, light-rail and other assembly assist equipment and systems for the manufacturing environment.
• Fulfillment & Delivery Solutions Center: Showcasing solutions for traditional or e-commerce order fulfillment, order picking and packaging, third-party logistics, warehousing, distribution or transportation.
• Information Technology (IT) Solutions Center: Highlighting supply chain software solutions, RFID, auto ID and data collection, transportation management systems, manufacturing execution systems, logistics execution systems, enterprise resource planning and order management systems.
• The Knowledge Center (Including the educational conference): Offering resources to educate and build awareness of what the material handling and logistics industry has to offer the supply chain as a whole.

ProMat will feature three keynote presentations, each offering insights from experts into future developments in robotics, business and the supply chain.

On Monday, Henrik I. Christensen, KUKA chair of robotics and director of robotics at Georgia Tech, will deliver the first keynote. In a presentation entitled “The Impact of Robotics on Economic Growth,” Christensen will detail how advances in robotics are revolutionizing manufacturing and distribution operations, as well as share insights into how these developments will propel future economic growth.

“We’ve seen tremendous progress in robotics and automation in materials handling over the last few years,” explained Christensen. “There has been a lot of development in automation that does the handling tasks that don’t require a lot of intelligence and are physically challenging. Additionally, the use of robotic technology decreases the amount of space that you need—and real estate is getting increasingly expensive.”

On Tuesday, Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, will deliver the second keynote presentation. Forbes will make recommendations for “Navigating the New Political Climate for Business Growth and Success.”

With the presidential inauguration having just taken place, one-time presidential candidate Forbes will assess the impact of the elected president and his administration on the future of the economy and business growth. Having served two administrations, Forbes’ keen ability to provide economic and political insights on the most debated issues of the day is trusted by business leaders here and abroad.

On Wednesday, the final keynote presentation will feature a discussion of “The Future of Material Handling, Logistics and Supply Chain.” Setting the stage for the discussion will be remarks from futurist Edie Weiner, president of consulting group Weiner, Edrich, Brown.

“I will set the backdrop for which the future of materials handling, logistics and supply chain will unfold,” explained Weiner. “I’ll talk about why our thinking is stuck in yesterday, and why we have to break away from that and see the world for where it’s really going, not from where we think it is. Because the way we see the future is really colored by everything that we’ve ever learned, so it’s important to start fresh and new.”

After her presentation, Weiner will moderate a panel of materials handling and supply chain experts as they discuss how important issues, key trends and shifts in best practices will make the supply chain work in the future. The panel includes George Prest, CEO of MHIA; Rick Blasgen, president and CEO of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP); Michael J. Mikitka, CEO of the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC); and Liz Richards, executive vice president of the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA).

Educational tracks
Three separate educational tracks will be offered during the show—each having an expanded view into a specific topic related to materials handling and supply chains. The tracks are progammed by:
The Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility (AIM),
• EASE Council (Ergonomic Assist Systems and Equipment), and
• Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP).

AIM will present a series of three speakers discussing the use of their members’ technologies. These sessions are free to registered ProMat attendees without advanced registration.

“For an educational partner, ProMat provides a terrific opportunity for us to share some just-in-time information about topics that our members know a lot about,” said Linda Young, AIM’s director of business development. “Participants will take away some innovative ideas about how companies are using automatic ID and mobility technologies, perhaps in ways that they hadn’t thought of before. The presenters will share sample case studies that have potential for use in other applications in different industries.”

Jonathan Ludlow, author and project manager at Microscan, will discuss “Unit Level and Product Traceability Using Data Matrix Codes: Benefits, Applications and Trends.” Ludlow will explain the benefits of providing unique identity to individual components in a manufacturing process, as well as practical methods of direct part marking.

Patrick Noone, vice president of sales and marketing at Woelco Labeling Solutions, will present “Improving ROI with Automated Identification Technology.” He will review the emerging technologies that can be combined to facilitate automation in product identification, as well as verification, to yield improvements in production, quality and traceability.

Finally, Jason Bridwell, vice president of sales at Portsmith Technologies, will conclude the AIM sessions with “Mobile Computing for the Advanced Supply Chain.” Bridwell will detail how enterprise mobile computing solutions are impacting some of the largest global supply chain operations, and share how real-time information and immediate communication can boost productivity and effectiveness.

On Wednesday, the EASE Council will host “Manual Material Handling Workshop: Engineered Solutions for Manual Handling Jobs,” with sponsor support from the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). This workshop will provide an opportunity to hear from retailers, wholesalers and warehouse safety and loss prevention representatives as they participate in open panel discussions about the ergonomic challenges associated with manual materials handling jobs.

“This session features a panel of internationally recognized experts who design materials handling devices, along with leading ergonomic health and safety experts,” explained Ray Niemeyer, educational services director and EASE Council managing executive of MHIA. “They will be exchanging ideas to help find materials handling technology solutions that can reduce workers compensation claims and improve employee performance.”

Participants must register in advance for the session, which includes a separate fee outside of ProMat registration. ProMat attendees wishing to participate can contact Ray Niemeyer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) prior to Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, a special educational track session presented by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) will be offered immediately after the keynote panel. This panel discussion will further elaborate on the insights shared during the keynote.

Entitled “When the Rubber Meets the Road…Implementing Future Vision,” the panel includes Jeff Starecheski, vice president of logistics for Sears Logistics Services, and John Caltagirone, supply chain management strategy educator at Chicago’s Loyola University. Moderated by Rich Sherman, director of strategic development for CSCMP, the panelists will offer their views on how logistics and supply chain management are evolving to meet future business challenges. They will examine significant trends and practices that will most impact operations in achieving and sustaining peak performance.

ProMat 2013 is scheduled to be held January 21-24, 2013 in Chicago’s McCormick Place South. The tradeshow will showcase the latest manufacturing, distribution and supply chain solutions in the material handling and logistics industry. Modern’s complete ProMat 2013 coverage.

About the Author

Noel P. Bodenburg
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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Article Topics

MHI · November 2012 · ProMat · Special Report · · All Topics
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