An early-spring snowstorm did not stop attendees and exhibitors from trekking to Chicago’s McCormick Place to see and showcase the latest supply chain solutions at ProMat, which took place March 23-26. The four-day event featured more than 100 educational sessions about leading supply chain topics, and more than 800 exhibitors highlighted their latest solutions in material 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, and supply chain management solutions.

The following are highlights from some of the beverage-related companies that exhibited at ProMat 2015.

AmbaFlex Inc., Arlington, Texas, showcased its SpiralVeyor conveyors for handling totes and individual packages.

Baldor Electric Co., Fort Smith, Ark., featured its portfolio of unit-handling, brake, InverterDuty and Vector Duty motors; speed reducers, shaft mount reducers; ball bearings; AC MicroDrives; motion controls; mechanical drive components; synchronous belt drive systems; and towable generators and light towers.

Indianapolis-based Bastian Solutions announced during the show that it acquired La Salle, Ill.-based software company Forte Engineering Inc. It also debuted a goods-to-robot e-fulfillment system featuring a Fanuc M-20iA six-axis robot, custom-designed end-of-arm tool and a 3-D area sensor. In addition, the company demonstrated its smart glasses, which assist with mobile, hands-free picking and are designed as a version of Google Glass for the industrial, enterprise environment, the company says.

Lexington, Ky.-based Clark Material Handling Co. promoted its support of National Forklift Safety Day on June 9 and featured its new NPX and SSX forklifts. NPX forklifts include rear posts to support the overhead guard and prevent objects from entering the operator compartment and a cabin designed for operator ergonomics, the company says. The SSX forklifts include 24-volt AC inverter travel control with a matching motor drive as well as ergonomic control handles for the operators, it says.

Columbia Machine Inc., Vancouver, Wash., demonstrated its Columbia LTS C, which is designed for transferring products on wooden pallets to plastic pallets as they enter the facility and then back to the wooden pallets as they exit the facility to promote hygiene. It also can be used to transfer products from European pallets, which can have compatibility issues with American systems, to American pallets, it says. It also highlighted its portfolio of palletizers.

Greensboro, N.C.-based CombiLift USA entertained ProMat attendees with a choreographed forklift dance to Irish music and announced its $50 million investment in a new manufacturing facility in Ireland, which will add 200 jobs throughout the next five years, the company says.

Dematic, Grand Rapids, Mich., introduced a new suite of solutions for storage, receiving, buffer staging, order fulfillment, packing and palletizing, each managed and controlled by Dematic iQ performance-optimizing software. For storage, receiving and buffer-staging applications, Dematic introduced a Very Narrow Aisle Automatic Guided Vehicle (AGV) System for automated pallet storage, a new automated Satellite Shuttle for deep-lane pallet storage in a rack structure, and the Multishuttle Flex for automated buffer staging and sequencing of cartons and totes in various sizes. For order fulfillment, packing and palletizing, the company highlighted its RapidPut light- or voice-directed put/pack solution for order consolidation and order packing, its MobilePick AGV solution for transporting totes and cartons to and from picking zones, and its RapidPick XT robotic picking solution for transferring items from donor totes to order totes. The company also announced that it plans to launch its Automated Mixed Case Palletizing (AMCAP) automated solution later this year. The high-performance case-palletizing system is designed to accommodate the growing need to assemble pallets for easy shelf restocking at the retail store, the company says.

Egemin Automation Inc., Holland, Mich., unveiled its E’gv Compact small vehicle designed to handle standard-sized loads at higher capacities than other automatic guided carts on the market, the company says. The E’gv Compact is first being released as a tugger vehicle capable of towing as much as 10,000 pounds. The base vehicle also can be fitted with counterbalance, straddle, fork-over or pop-up forks or used as a unit-load vehicle utilizing a single or dual roller deck.

Carmel, Ind.-based EnVista discussed with attendees about its supply chain consulting and IT services and hosted two educational sessions at the show to share its expert insights and supply chain best practices. It also released the latest version of its proprietary software, Model DC, which can help facility design engineers analyze a client’s distribution center (DC) and define opportunities for improvement within the facility, the company says. The latest version of Model DC allows enVista associates to more efficiently model DCs and better understand order profiles, the velocity of product movement, and on-hand inventory, enabling enVista’s team to define optimal picking and storage equipment, it says. Model DC features 75 different charts and graphs that can be used in the modeling process, it adds.

Morristown, N.J.-based Honeywell debuted its new VM3 vehicle mount, which includes a 12-inch display that delivers instructions to forklift operators. The screens automatically shut off while the forklift is moving and can instead offer vocal instructions so that the operator can keep his or her eyes on the direction of travel. The screens also have a battery backup system, which allows them to be swapped with that of another forklift, in case a forklift breaks down, to restart a session in the same place. It also highlighted its Vehicle Performance Solution, which includes a power unit, badge reader and a two-way camera for ensuring that the operator has permission to use the vehicle, guiding the operator through safety checks, tracking vehicle activity, registering and recording accidents, and delivering actionable data about driver behavior and performance.  

Hyster Co., Greenville, N.C., highlighted its range of engines featuring its Hyster Variable Power Technology, which provides adjustable performance modes that allow customers to maximize productivity or fuel economy to fit their specific requirements, the company says.

I.D. Systems Inc., Woodcliff Lake, N.J., announced its new partnership with Toyota Material Handling USA Inc., Columbus, Ind., to develop and deploy a new wireless industrial vehicle management system.The new system will be marketed through the Toyota Industrial Equipment umbrella in North America under the T-Matics brand.

Intelligrated, Mason, Ohio, showcased its latest conveyor, sortation and automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) for driving omnichannel and e-commerce fulfillment. At its booth, the company demonstrated its conveyor systems, which feature its patented ZoneFlex technology for Accuglide and IntelliQ accumulation conveyor technology. In addition, its IntelliSort sortation solutions, which feature cross-belt sorters for high-capacity applications with high-friction, fragile items, offer Dynamic Discharge Compensation for improved sortation accuracy, the company says. Its one-level shuttle AS/RS system can be used to reduce storage labor requirements and assist with product sequencing and buffering, order consolidation and route-based sequencing, it adds.

New Orleans-based IntraLox LLC USA highlighted its portfolio of sorters for handling soft-beverage, shrink-wrapped and pentaloid-based containers. The sorters can assist with sorting, diverting, conveying and turning packages, the company says.  

ITW Warehouse Automation, Arden, N.C., focused on its StoreFast cart-based AS/RS. The deep-lane system allows beverage companies to maximize their storage density with minimal facility modification, the company says. In addition, its modular system allows for expansion as capacity requirements and SKUs increase, the company says.

At ProMat, Lift’n Buddy, Fargo, N.D., celebrated its second anniversary and featured its 5-Gallon Pail-Lifter, which can lift and securely support 5-gallon pails that weigh as much as 200 pounds. 

MacroAir Technologies Inc., San Bernardino, Calif., demonstrated its industrial fans that run on magnet motors, which eliminates the fan’s gearbox and maintenance associated with this piece of the equipment. It also discussed its fans’ energy efficiency properties, noting that its 1.05 horsepower-rated motor delivers 0.99 horsepower energy output.

Matthews Marking Systems, a brand of Pittsburgh-based Matthews Automation Solutions, showcased its Viajet L-Series thermal inkjet printer, which offers an alternative to thermal transfer and adhesive labels for packaging and industrial applications marking onto paper, chipboard, corrugated material and plastics. Leveraging the same cartridge technology found in desktop printers, the L-Series provides high print resolution at nearly twice the speed of previous thermal inkjet systems, the company says. In addition, the Viajet L-Series is operated by Matthews’ Mperia print platform that allows for complete management of enterprise marketing and coding operations, it notes.

Plymouth, Minn.-based Nilfisk highlighted its floor-to-ceiling industrial cleaning solutions.

Orbis Corp., Oconomowoc, Wis., focused on its small-format solutions for small-scale retailers. It discussed the forecast that 60 percent of new stores opened in the next five years will be small-format retailers, which creates a need for small-scale delivery solutions. At the show, it introduced a 42-by-30-inch reusable pallet that can increase trailer load by up to 50 percent, as 45 pallets can fit in a typical truck trailer, the company says. It also featured its pally-mobile pallet, which features built-in wheels for wheeling around stores and maneuvering in tight spaces that also can be locked for security when handling on a forklift or storing in a trailer.

The Raymond Corp., Greene, N.Y., introduced end-to-end warehouse solutions to help its customers achieve greater visibility of facility and material-handling functions. Among the new products, services and solutions highlighted at its booth were the Raymond Pick2Pallet LED Light System, the Raymond Model 9800 Swing-Reach truck, and its RadioShuttle. For the Pick2Pallet system, Raymond partnered with Honeywell’s Vocollect brandto couple a voice-picking system with visual reinforcement to show the picker where to place the product. The Swing-Reach truck is engineered to triple pallet capacity by reaching 40 to 50 feet in very-narrow-aisle storage facilities. Raymond’s RadioShuttle load-carrier system offers ultra-high storage density with individual storage rack access and gentle pallet handling, the company says. It also released updates to its iWarehouse Gateway, iTrack and iBattery systems. 

Rehrig Pacific Co., Los Angeles, modeled its DSD-GS direct-store-delivery kits, which include a power lift, hydraulic lift, custom pallet and Pallet Wrapz reusable pallet wrap that can be used in place of stretch-wrap film. The items in the kit can be customized for additional branding opportunities, the company notes.  

Milwaukee, Wis.-based Rite-Hite featured its SHR-5000 Dok-Lok Vehicle Restraint Hook and discussed its rebranding to market its company solutions under four main divisions: loading dock safety, security and productivity; environmental separation and control; in-plant safety; and energy savings.

Ryson International Inc., Yorktown, Va., demonstrated its new diverting capabilities for moving products out of its spiral conveyors.

SEW-EuroDrive USA, Lyman, S.C., demonstrated its Movigear mechatronic drive system, which uses 80 watts of energy, offering up to 70 percent energy savings, the company says. It also can perform at speeds between 1 and 2,000 rotations a minute, adjusting speed for the necessary amount of throughput, it says. Movigear drives are available in painted, unpainted and HP200 for washdown environments versions.

Washington, D.C.-based Siemens Corp. focused on showing current and potential customers how to use Siemens products to automate their warehouse systems. Among its portfolio of products, the company highlighted its SimoGear geared motors for optimized conveyor performance; Sinamics variable frequency drives; Scalance wireless technology optimized for warehouses; and its Optimized Packaging Line, which is a service Siemens designed for its food and beverage customers. The Optimized Packaging Line aims to maximize productivity and minimize downtime through enhanced diagnostics that help repair the system and minimize the number of spare parts needed to fix a machine, the company says.

System Logistics Corp., Grand Rapids, Mich., highlighted its new Automatic Pick to Pallet System, which is designed to deliver pallets on demand to robots that use vision systems to identify products to fulfill an order. The system also can automatically change its end-of-arm tooling to accommodate different packages, the company says.

Minneapolis-based Tennant featured its portfolio of industrial cleaning machines, including sweepers and scrubbers, with original equipment manufacturer parts. It also discussed its ec-H2O technology, which uses electricity to convert water into detergent, saving operators money on cleaners, it says.

Westfalia Technologies Inc., York, Pa.,discussed the benefits of its warehouse execution system and noted that companies can purchase the software without purchasing an AS/RS.

Wulftec International Inc., Ayer’s Cliff, Quebec, showcased a conveyorized pallet stretch wrapper and automatic strapping system, which feature all-steel structural designs, AC variable frequency drives and motors, and quick disconnect for easy installation, it says.

Yale Materials Handling Corp., a subsidiary of Cleveland-based Hyster-Yale Materials Handling Inc., featured its MPB045VG walkie pallet truck with the first commercially available Underwriters Laboratories-recognized lithium-ion battery pack, which is designed to last up to five times longer than traditional lead acid batteries. This, in turn, reduces downtime and battery replacements, the company says. It also launched its ESC030AD three-wheel stand for retail, cold-storage and food-processing environments. The three-wheel stand features a Clear View mast, which offers 20 to 40 percent greater visibility; a smart ride floor system, which reduces as much as 65 percent of shock and vibrations transmitted to the operator; and a side-stance control handle with proportional functionality that enables precise load positioning.  

 Zebra Technologies Corp., Lincolnshire, Ill., released an infographic showing how the Internet of Things can boost productivity for supply chain managers in helping them to choose an ideal combination of trains, trucks and other transportation to reduce costs; be aware of when trucks travel off-route, which could indicate theft; know when to adjust the temperature of sensor-enabled refrigeration systems to protect perishables; and create device-generated data for vendor negotiations and audit trails. It also highlighted its Zebra ZQ 500 series of mobile printers, which it says is the most rugged mobile printer in the industry with a 6.6-foot drop specification tested to military standards; its TC55 touch computer with a battery life that is built to last a full route or full shift; its TC70 enterprise mobile computer with a touchscreen and Android interface; and its TekSpeech Pro voice-picking system. The company also noted it plans to launch a local area network (LAN) version of its TC70 later this year.