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NITCO Event Spotlights Forklifts, Materials Handling Industry

NITCO team spirit was proudly on display at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 13, as New England’s materials handling industry leader hosted its biggest annual event — Innovate 2016 — on the home turf of the four-time Super Bowl champion Patriots.

At Innovate 2016, the game plan called for NITCO and industry partners to showcase new innovations involving robotics, materials handling automation, hydrogen fuel technology, advanced storage and handling systems, and much more.

NITCO also invited influential keynote speakers to share insights about the economy and how automation is changing the logistics industry, and the experience proved to be win-win for the hundreds of exhibitors and guests who attended.

Forklifts and Football: A Winning Combination

Of course, part of the fun involved touring the stadium and sharing a photo op with the Patriots cheerleaders. Visitors on at least one early afternoon tour of the locker room area even needed to step aside to make way for a posse of offensive linemen including Marcus Cannon, Shaq Mason and others.

But the main event focused on materials handling industry insight and innovation. Visitors to the Cross Insurance Pavilion & Business Center were treated to a first-hand look at an amazing array of machines and warehouse solutions — versatile forklifts with even more power and ability than Rob Gronkowski and cutting-edge technology as ingenious as coach Bill Belichick.

Here are just a few of the day’s many highlights:

  • Fascinating demonstrations of a next-generation robotic AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) made by Balyo, that was programmed to continually find, lift and move a pallet load from Point A to Point B.
  • A virtual reality exhibit in which visitors could slip on a futuristic headset to live the experience of operating a forklift and moving heavy loads.
  • An up-close look at the Landoll PT40 Precision Telehandler, capable of lifting 20 tons to a height of 20 feet while being controlled via wireless transmitter, allowing a single operator to observe the entire work environment. (This video shows the mighty PT40 effortlessly hoisting a smaller forklift.)
  • The opportunity to see a robot created by students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, home to one of the nation’s leading robotics programs where ongoing advancements in human-robot interaction, artificial intelligence, control systems, sensors, manipulation and navigation are of particular interest to the materials handling industry.
  • An exhibit by hydrogen fuel cell innovator Nuvera, whose systems now power a growing number of fleets as the company paves the way toward the future with this clean, sustainable fuel source.
  • Opportunities to kick the tires on an incredible array of leading-edge products and equipment including:
    • Ravo 5i series Street Sweeper
    • SSI Schaefer Orbiter, Mobile Rack and Weasel AGV
    • The TAPS (Trailer Auxiliary Power System)
    • Combi CB multi-directional forklift
    • TICO Terminal Tractors
    • Yale Remote Pick Assist
    • Hyster H60XT & J50N
    • Task Sidewinder
    • Gem Polaris E4
    • JLG Eco-lift

The list of premier partners teaming with NITCO for the event included but not limited to Yale, Hyster, Nuvera, SSI Schaefer, Orion, Wells Fargo, EnerSys, Steel King, Task Forklifts USA, Starrco, Balyo, Advance, Cubic Designs, Combilift, JLG and WPI.

This year’s keynote speakers were Mark Dickinson of SSI Schaefer Systems, one of the world’s leading materials handling companies, who talked about a massive project that leveraged data, automation and space efficiency techniques to transform warehouse operations for a major client-partner; and Sarah Watt House, an economist and vice president with Wells Fargo Securities who specializes in the U.S. macroeconomy, including the labor market, manufacturing sector and economic trends.

Understanding that all this emphasis on heavy lifting can make people hungry, NITCO invited visitors to take part in a bountiful buffet lunch. All in all, the championship gridiron venue proved to be an ideal backdrop for the event, since NITCO and all those in attendance are each motivated by their own mission of excellence.

At NITCO, we’ve been working hard to help customers and partners throughout New England find the best equipment and storage solutions for their needs since 1969. Please don’t hesitate to contact us — we’re always here to help.

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