ProMat 2017 is said to be the industry's only event that showcases the latest manufacturing, distribution and supply chain equipment and systems under one roof.
Hosted by MHI, Charlotte, N.C., this year’s show took place April 3-6 at Chicago's McCormick Place, and featured more than 950 exhibitors, four keynote sessions, 100 show floor seminars and thousands of supply chain solutions.
Here is a rundown of some of the latest innovations introduced and showcased at ProMat 2017.
GOODS-TO-PERSON HANDLING SOLUTIONS
Kardex Remstar, Westbrook, Maine, rolled out the red carpet for the launch of its newest product line—the Vertical Buffer Module product family.
New to the lineup is the LR 35 storage and retrieval unit, which is a goods-to-person bin handling solution ideal for companies involved in handling single-part or small-volume orders. The unit consists of a shelf system with automatic bin handling, picking stations and its own logistics software. The LR 35 also improves order picking performance, energy efficiency and the amount of floor space required for storage of goods.
The Shuttle XP Vertical Lift Module integrated with pick-to-light technology and Power Pick Global inventory management software utilizes the vertical space from floor to ceiling to eliminate wasted space.
Kardex Remstar, LLC
DRIVE-THROUGH DOCK APPLICATIONS
Rite-Hite, Milwaukee, Wis., showcased its “drive-through” dock application, where when the trailer is secured to the dock, the dock door opens, the trailer’s security seal breaks and the doors open into the building. This limits opportunities for tampering and exposure to outside elements and contaminants. The RHV-4100 Vertical-Storing Hydraulic Dock Leveler features a constant-radius rear hinge to create a smooth transition between the leveler and the warehouse floor to minimize the effects of whole body vibration (or “dock shock”), while a 2-point crown control on the front lip hinge distributes the load evenly. For added safety, the RHV is a power-up/power-down unit that requires constant pressure on the controls to keep the operator in control of leveler movement. Removing pressure from the “raise” or “lower” buttons immediately stops movement of the leveler. The lip can also be extended or retracted at any time during the leveler cycle. Because the RHV stores vertically, it allows for easy, routine pit cleaning or full washdown. Additionally, in its stored position, it acts as a visual/physical barrier, helping prevent potentially dangerous loading dock accidents and door damage.
Meanwhile, Rite-Hite’s Eclipse NH provides a tight, consistent seal all the way up trailer sides, across the top and at the corners, minimizing gaps that can allow contaminants to enter and energy to escape. It features an exclusive double-seal technology along the sides of the trailer, which produces a tighter, more consistent seal along trailer sides. Side curtains are built with high-strength, friction-resistant Durathon fabric. Along the top of the trailer, an exclusive weighted head curtain applies over 100 pounds of pressure across the full width of the trailer top to keep the curtain in constant contact with the trailer during loading and unloading. At the top corners, the Eclipse’s side curtains and weighted header work together to seal gaps, while innovative fabric corner pockets connect sides to top.
Rite-Hite’s exclusive PitMaster under-leveler sealing system provides a barrier against environmental infiltration on the exterior of the dock. Meanwhile, lip corner seals, filler pads and other components block gaps on the inside of the dock.
Lastly, Rite-Hite’s exclusive Dok-Lok SHR 5000 uses a patented “shadow hook” to secure intermodal container chassis and trailers with rear-impact guard obstructions, as well as traditional trailers. The Dok-Lok SHR-5000 is a physical theft deterrent and can directly interface with security systems to help prevent trailer theft.
SLIDING SHOE SORTER
The IntelliSort HDS sliding shoe sorter from Intelligrated, Mason, Ohio, is an ideal solution for high-throughput e-commerce operations, offering fast, precise diverts of a variety of product and packaging types. Its innovative dual-sided design accommodates a high density of chutes in minimal floor space, making the sorter fit for zone-skipping applications that pre-sort orders according to destination region before releasing them to last-mile parcel carriers. The patented soft touch divert technology provides gentle product control and reduced item impact speed without compromising throughput or divert accuracy.
Intelligrated also showcased its software configurable put wall, integrated with xD and xL light fulfillment technologies. This patent-pending put wall features dividers that can be easily reconfigured to align slot sizes based on seasonal product changes and/or changing order profiles. As slot size is adjusted, the integrated xD and xL light devices change accordingly, using pre-programmed or user-defined software templates for space-constrained operations.
WAREHOUSE OPTIMIZATION SOLUTIONS
Pcdata, East Granby, Conn., showcased a team of warehouse optimization solutions.
For instance, Put to Light is designed to improve order filling accuracy and shipping productivity in fast-paced fresh food processing industries. Put to Light replaces traditional paper-based shipping systems to capture customer and order data necessary for loading and shipment of products and orders to customers.
PickCart is an innovative multi-order picking solution that maximizes efficiency during the picking process. PickCart is equipped with the latest route optimization software, and optimizes the route for the orders to be picked, minimizing travel time.
A Put wall utilizes light-directed displays for high-speed, automated batch sortation, making it ideal for e-commerce order fulfillment. Constructed as a series of shelves that have been divided vertically into multiple openings, each space represents a unique customer order. The Put Wall boasts openings front and back, and is equipped with a light-directed display on both sides.
MOBILE RACKING, HIGH DENSITY SHUTTLE
Storax, Charleston, S.C., featured Poweracks, a mobile racking system, and Ranger, an automated, high density pallet shuttle.
Poweracks maximizes space utilization through use of a moving aisle, which provides direct access to every pallet location and greatly reduces the number of static access aisles required. Wasted aisle space is converted to usage inventory space, thus increasing storage density by as much as 100% while providing the lowest cost per pallet.
Ranger automatically circulates pallets on a shuttle system by handheld remote control or WiFi PDA. Utilizing advanced photocell technology, the Ranger intelligently detects and positions itself underneath a pallet to lift and move pallets within a deep lane tunnel rack system, leaving operators free to execute other tasks.
FAULT RECOVERY VISUALIZATION TOOL
Westfalia Technologies, Inc., York, Pa., showcased its latest warehouse automation technology.
Firefly, which is part of its Savanna.NET WES application suite, provides a three-dimensional (3D), augmented view of the warehouse, inventory and automated systems to help facilities run more efficiently and recover from automation faults more quickly.
Utilizing an interactive, drag-and-drop user interface, Firefly translates user screen interactions with back-end commands to simplify the fault recovery process. In addition, Firefly runs on virtually any device, which gives companies the ability to view and manage their inventories from anywhere in the world.
Westfalia Technologies, Inc.
THE FUTURE OF INTRALOGISTICS
Swisslog, Newport News, Va., demonstrated a variety of robotic, data-driven and flexible automated solutions.
Swisslog’s new automated item pick (AIP) is a robotics application for picking single items, making it possible to pick both identical and different products from storage. The new AIP uses a 2D/3D vision system that detects the dimensions of the various objects and directs the gripper technology accordingly. AIP is designed to work hand-in-hand with humans as well as independently.
Other technologies include the CycloneCarrier and PowerStore shuttle systems, and goods-to-person systems AutoStore and CarryPick, which carry over from Swisslog’s strategic partnership with Intelligrated, Mason, Ohio.
For the first time, Swisslog demonstrated its SynQ software platform, a flexible and adaptable cloud-enabled software that connects and synchronizes automation equipment, robotics, people and processes.
Swisslog North America
WIRELESS FLEET MANAGEMENT
AMETEK Prestolite Power, Troy, Ohio, introduced its enhanced Wireless Battery Identification Device (WBID), which allows operators to monitor battery and charger usage for an entire fleet through continuous data collection. Data is transmitted wirelessly with ZigBee radio or over DC cables to a single data point, where the data is available to download from multiple units simultaneously.
Meanwhile, DataLink3 software enables users to review data and customize reports in either a graph or spreadsheet format with the option to toggle between both views. DataLink3 also offers the view of an event or graphic-based report from a 30-day summary overview of your fleet, and its 5-minute samplings provide a more detailed view to help identify a problem. The connectivity range is up to 500 feet while mounted in the truck with the capacity to gather data for multiple devices instantly.
AMETEK Prestolite Power
IMPROVING DOCK SAFETY
Blue Giant Equipment Corp., Canada, introduced the mechanical hold-down kit, designed to enhance unit performance by improving safety, reducing operator strain and providing a secure hold at any point in the dock leveler working range. The easy-pull feature enables an upgraded dock leveler to be deployed and retracted with up to 25% less operator effort. Cadmium-plated ratchet bar and pawl teeth offer consistent and reliable operation. The secure and instant hold prevents pop-ups and ensures compatibility with air-ride suspension systems. And, an automatic float compensation and pressure relief system prevents tension overload, allowing the dock leveler to seamlessly adjust to changes in trailer bed height without interrupting operation
Blue Giant also released a host of trailer bumpers, available in different shapes, sizes, and configurations. Choose from Sentinel Series steel-faced, laminated or molded bumpers, as well as bumper build-outs, mounting plates and risers. Each model is available in different shapes, sizes, and configurations to suit your application requirements.
Blue Giant Equipment Corp.
VERTICAL TRANSPORT, SORTING LIFT
Qimarox, The Netherlands, displayed the Prorunner mk5 vertical transport and sorting lift, designed to transport a capacity of 2,000 products per hour. The Prorunner mk5 can feed products in and out in three directions, without the need for additional equipment.
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