ProMat 2015 show planner

Celebrating 30 years as an industry mainstay, ProMat 2015 is set to open with more than 800 exhibitors and a comprehensive educational program. With an additional 25,000 square feet of exhibition space, this will be the biggest ProMat ever. Here’s a guide to every inch.

By · February 1, 2015

McCormick Place South will host more than 35,000 visitors to ProMat 2015 —the materials handling industry’s premier trade show and educational conference, sponsored by MHI.

Attendees of the show, which is celebrating 30 years in the industry, will find more than 800 exhibits from industry, commerce and government showcased throughout the 325,000-square-foot show floor (an increase from the 300,000 square feet of exhibits at ProMat 2013). Also included are four keynotes and more than 100 educational sessions spread over four days.

“When MHI was founded 70 years ago, it was to promote American manufacturing,” said George Prest, CEO of MHI. “Today, we’ve evolved into the industry that makes supply chains work, and ProMat has evolved over the last 30 years as well. In fact, 2015 marks the largest ProMat ever.”

MHI’s goal was 305,000 square feet of exhibits, Prest added. “Thanks to a combination of more exhibitors and larger booth sizes, we’ve vastly exceeded that. The show is essentially sold out, and we’ve filled McCormick Place South.”

More attendees and more exhibits are to be expected as the industry continues to grow during this phase of the economic recovery cycle, added Prest. “Companies are investing in productivity, and productivity is what our industry is all about. We make the people they employ more productive.

“I also think there’s also a strong desire by companies to invest in automation, because it makes companies more competitive in the marketplace,” he said.

To that end, MHI has again partnered with the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) and its trade associations to co-locate with Automate 2015. The show houses a full spectrum of automation technologies and solutions. Registered attendees gain full access to ProMat and Automate, held across the Grand Concourse hall in McCormick Place North.

Like ProMat, Automate is held just once every two years. This is the third-consecutive time that the shows will be co-located. MHI and A3 first brought the two shows together in 2011 to help visitors maximize their travel time and budget. Feedback from attendees of both shows continues to be overwhelmingly positive, said Prest.

Prest anticipates that attendees will be trolling the exhibit aisles with purchase orders and project plans in hand. They’ll also be looking to get new ideas about how to improve their supply chain efficiencies in the near future and the long term, he said. “We’ve heard from end users that the reason they come to trade shows like ProMat is to see the equipment in action,” he said. “They can get lots of product information on the Internet and see videos, but over and over we hear that actually seeing the solutions in person truly helps them understand how the equipment can help their operations.”

Make your plan
Information about all ProMat-related events can be accessed from the official ProMat app. The app offers an interactive map, exhibitor search, educational sessions search and information about the four keynotes. Attendees can also access their personalized agenda using the mobile app. Available free at the Android and Apple app stores, downloading information can be found at

To make it easier for attendees to find the solutions they need, the ProMat 2015 show floor is divided into four solutions centers:
• Manufacturing & Assembly: Featuring automated assembly support, intelligent devices, robotics, ergonomic and safety equipment, workstations, light-rail and other assembly assist equipment and systems for the manufacturing environment.

• Fulfillment & Delivery: Showcases solutions for traditional or e-commerce order fulfillment, order picking and packaging, third-party logistics, warehousing, distribution or transportation.

• Information Technology (IT): 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: Offering resources to educate and build awareness of what the materials handling and logistics industry has to offer the supply chain as a whole.

Also celebrating a milestone in 2015 is MHI, which will host its 70th Anniversary Celebration on Wednesday, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom (Room S100) of McCormick Place South.

Tickets are $50 per guest, pre-paid at ProMat Attendee Registration on Level 3 of McCormick Place. Live music, beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres are included, as is special entertainment by comedian and impressionist Frank Caliendo. Caliendo has appeared frequently on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and has a regular spot on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown.” A portion of ticket sales will be donated to the Material Handling Education Foundation, Inc. (MHEFI).

Keynotes address trends
This year, ProMat features four keynote addresses. The first runs Monday from 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom, Room S100, and features Renee Niemi, director of Google for Work’s Android and Chrome Global Business. In “Transforming Your Manufacturing Business for the New Digital Age,” Niemi will discuss the increasing connections between everyday objects as appliances, watches, cars and equipment become part of the Internet of Things. Businesses that don’t develop innovative products quickly might miss opportunities to lead the market. Her presentation will offer suggestions about how to accelerate new product initiatives and time-to-profit using the latest digital technologies and tools. Learn how to improve collaboration, maximize lean processes, and boost operational efficiency through organization-wide access to consistent, timely and up-to-date information.

Tuesday morning, from 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom, Room S100, John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, shares “Conscious Capitalism: Blueprint for a New System for Doing Business.” Mackey—who has been named “United States Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young, “Best CEO in America” by Institutional Investor, and “World’s Best CEO” by Barron’s—is the visionary behind many of Whole Foods’ successful programs. Hear his insights about how businesses can reach their highest potential while using conscious capitalism to serve all shareholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, investors, communities and the environment.

On Wednesday morning, the day’s first keynote presentation unveils the key findings of the annual MHI Industry Report, conducted in partnership with Deloitte Consulting. The “Preview of MHI 2015 Annual Industry Report—Transforming Supply Chains” will be presented by George Prest, CEO of MHI, and Scott Sopher of Deloitte from 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom, Room S100. The extensive report is the second edition of an annual series of surveys targeting supply chain end users and MHI members. Prest and Sopher will highlight the materials handling trends and technologies expected to transform supply chains over the next three to five years.

Wednesday afternoon, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., a second keynote features Steve Wozniak (“The Woz”), co-founder of Apple Computer, and internationally recognized Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist. Wozniak will offer his views on the latest iPhones, smart watches and the state of technology and risk in America. He will also share technology predictions and investment strategies for Big Data, robotics, automation and more.

About the Author

Sara Pearson Specter
Sara Pearson Specter has written articles and supplements for Modern Materials Handling and Material Handling Product News as an Editor at Large since 2001. Specter has worked in the fields of graphic design, advertising, marketing, and public relations for nearly 20 years, with a special emphasis on helping business-to-business industrial and manufacturing companies. She owns her own marketing communications firm, Sara Specter, Marketing Mercenary LLC. Clients include companies in a diverse range of fields, including materials handing equipment, systems and packaging, professional and financial services, regional economic development and higher education. Specter graduated from Centre College in Danville, Ky. with a bachelor’s degree in French and history. She lives in Oregon’s Willamette Valley where she and her husband are in the process of establishing a vineyard and winery.

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Article Topics

Automation · Education · February 2015 · MHI · ProMat · · All Topics
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