ProMat 2011 throws open its doors to 30,000 attendees, plus offers access to Automate
March 21, 2011 - MMH Editorial
At 10 a.m. this morning, McCormick Place South welcomes nearly 30,000 visitors to 2011’s edition of ProMat—the materials handling industry’s premier trade show and educational conference, sponsored by the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA).
Attendees will find more than 700 exhibits, two keynotes, two educational tracks and 80 educational sessions spread over four days. To further make the event a one-stop destination, registered attendees not only gain full access to ProMat, but also free entry into Automate 2011, held across the Grand Concourse 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 showcases 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, says 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 says.
While Nofsinger concedes that ProMat 2011 is slightly smaller than 2009’s installment, with roughly 8% fewer exhibits, he attributes the numbers to the global economic recession, as well as to consolidation within the industry worldwide.
“ProMat 2009 was the largest expo we’ve ever hosted,” he explains. “But exhibitors still recognize the importance of getting in front of their customers, so they’re here, but in smaller booths than previous years. Plus, with 300 exhibits across the hall at Automate, there are 1,000 companies that visitors can meet, all under one roof.”
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 says. 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,” 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. Leading manufacturers will display a multitude of technologies, including:
• Materials handling equipment and systems
• Packaging, containers and shipping equipment
• Inventory management and controlling technologies
• Dock and warehouse equipment and supplies
• Automatic identification equipment and systems
To make it easier for attendees to find the solutions they need, the show floor is divided into four solution-specific sections:
• Manufacturing & Assembly Solutions Center: Features component parts, attachments, equipment and systems for more efficient manufacturing, distribution, and assembly operations.
• Fulfillment & Delivery Solutions Center: Showcases order fulfillment, order assembly, third-party logistics, warehousing, distribution and transportation activities.
• Information Technology (IT) Solutions Center: Offers software solutions or consulting services that support manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and logistics operations.
• The Knowledge Center: Comprised of eight theaters in the back right of the exhibit hall, this area will host eighty 45-minute free educational sessions about the productivity solutions the materials handling and logistics industry has to offer. Sessions are first-come, first-served and run through Wednesday.
With two shows being hosted in one location, it only makes sense to have not one, but two keynote addresses. The first runs this morning from 8:45 to 9:45 a.m. in Room S102 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.
Tomorrow morning, 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. From 8:45 to 9:45 a.m. in Room S102, 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 the automotive and aerospace industries.
For attendees who want to learn more about two other hot button issues affecting the supply chain of both today and tomorrow, two free educational tracks are offered.
On Tuesday, from 1 to 4:15 p.m., a series of presentations and panel discussions will examine “The People Side of the Supply Chain” in room S401 on the fourth level of McCormick Place South. This track takes 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 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.” Also held in room S401 on the fourth level of McCormick Place South, this speaker series examines 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.
Grab your badge, stroll the aisles, and see the latest technologies and solutions for logistics and materials handling at ProMat 2011.
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.