Future of Industrial Technologies on Display at NITCO Innovate 2018
As robotic forklifts zipped safely and silently across center stage, hundreds of attendees gathered at the Gillette Stadium complex on Oct. 11 for NITCO Innovate 2018 — an annual trade show and networking event showcasing new technologies and industry innovations in robotics, energy, engineered systems, safety and automation.
From forklifts to pickers to cleaners, there was a prominent theme throughout Innovate 2018 — advanced technologies and automation. Exploring booths and exhibits staffed by 12 leading material handling industry vendors, attendees also mingled with multiple autonomous vehicles running the sophisticated technology that enables them to operate flawlessly without human intervention.
The Future is The Present
Companies from across the country ventured to Foxboro, Mass., with their forklifts, robots and other innovations. Here is a full recap of the technologies on display at Innovate 2018.
The featured sponsor of Innovate 2018, EnerSys provides innovative battery solutions for a variety of industries. With the move to electric power, companies are transitioning away from lead acid batteries and adopting lithium ion, as it has become more affordable and safer.
Steel King, a Wisconsin-based material handling company, displayed their Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS). This ASRS reduces handling costs, increases flexibility and is a more efficient use of warehouse space. Steel King currently works with NITCO to plan custom storage rack systems that fit a business’ objectives.
On display at the Task booth was their latest battery-powered forklift, BOA. The BOA Legless Stacker is equipped with a built-in, single-phase charger and can operate for a full shift on a single charge.
The Trailer Auxiliary Power System (TAPS) is a power system ideal for electric pallet jacks, intended to provide reliable power at the back of a commercial trailer. As the industry looks to maximize efficiency, the TAPS system allows companies to use their workforce more efficiently, giving them power when and where they need it.
A subsidiary of forklift industry leader Hyster-Yale, Nuvera has developed a hydrogen fuel cell power supply and station, ideal for forklifts and other equipment. Hydrogen can be installed on existing electric forklifts, a perfect solution as the industry continues to trend toward ever-more efficient sources of electric power.
The company’s collaborative robots (cobotics, for those in the robotics industry) are a series of robotic “arms” that can be added to any existing production environment. Pricing has now made this robotic technology available to small and medium-size companies, and works flawlessly with your human workforce to maximize their time and improve processes.
Another robotics company, Locus was on hand to showcase their ecommerce order fulfillment solution. Their innovative autonomous mobile robots make it easy to optimize your warehouse operation, respond to ecommerce volume growth and empower your current workforce.
On display at Schaefer was their latest conveyor replacement system. Known as Weasel, this fleet can be controlled by an app that makes it easy to change the path depending on needs of warehouse. It navigates by following a black strip that’s adhesive to the floor that can be easily modified as needed.
A fan favorite at Innovate 2018, Balyo set up two autonomous forklifts in the middle of the expo space that ran a continuous a loop while picking up and moving crates. They also collaborate with Hyster-Yale on a fleet of robotic lift trucks.
Another automated solution, Avidbots manufactures an automated floor cleaner that allows companies to better utilize their staff in more value-added areas. The IoT platform that allows for improved quality of cleaning can be equipped with cameras, offers an extra layer of security and provides operations teams with data on the robot’s performance.
PeakLogix, a NITCO partner, develops high-end solutions for automated distribution centers. Their customized systems utilize their dozens of warehouse solutions and innovations to improve efficiency and operations. Their systems can be installed in existing warehouses, allowing companies to redeploy labor to more valuable areas.
Why Come to Innovate?
“Innovate offers an opportunity for us to meet face to face with customers and discuss how they can build custom solutions that fit within a full warehousing solution,” said Raymond Weber, Eastern Regional Sales Manager at Steel King. “Technology is ever-changing and Innovate offers attendees the opportunity to see the latest technology in warehousing solutions.”
“NITCO is pushing innovation,” said Julius Johnson, Business Development at Locus.
“You can see in-person how flexible these solutions are, and how they can fit within your company,” said Brian Kobus, Robotic Application Engineer at Universal Robots.
“No other material handling equipment company puts on a show like this, bringing all the manufacturers under one roof where attendees can see the full suite of warehouse solutions,” said the rep from EnerSys.
“In today’s world, technology is advancing so quickly that you need to see it in person,” said Jason Dodge, Regional Sales Manager – East Coast, Balyo. “We work with NITCO to help companies determine if this is the right solution for them, and ensure they get the full use from our products.”
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