Modex: Back from the new show

By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
February 15, 2012 - MMH Editorial

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

For companies large and small, an often overlooked key to handling sales growth in their DC is having the right picking strategies and technologies. Your current facility can do more than you think -- you just need to take a hard look at your current equipment and processes to maximize productivity with improved strategies or advanced technologies.

Dassault Systèmes, the 3DEXPERIENCE Company, a world leader in 3D design software, 3D Digital Mock Up and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, today announced the signing of a definitive share purchase agreement for Dassault Systèmes to acquire Quintiq, a leading provider of on-premise and on-cloud supply chain and Operations Planning & Optimization software, for approximately €250 million

During this complimentary webcast you'll learn the 6 reasons your operation could benefit from voice and multi-modal solutions and exactly how The Container Store did it. They were able to improve efficiency, safety and accuracy, without a complete WMS overhaul and their employees find it faster and easier to use.

Study suggests solutions for filling the talent gap, including the development of robust ties with the education system.

Global business optimism reaches highest level in survey history.

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.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


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