Nearly 40,000 industry professionals from more than 110 countries participated in ProMat 2017, April 3-6 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Presented by MHI, a record number of 950 exhibitors represented all segments of the material handling and logistics industry, according to MHI.

Like in past years, ProMat 2017 was co-located with Automate, which was presented by the Association for Advancing Automation. 

The following are highlights from ProMat 2017: 

Camso, Quebec, Canada, showcased five new additions to its range of products, including three new models of resilient tires; the new PON 775, a press-on tire with anti-static for severe applications; and the AIR 550, a new addition to the ED plus series.

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Delta-Q announced the release of its first lithium-specific battery charger, the ICL1200, for use on electric vehicles.  

Clark Material Handling Co., Lexington, Ky., highlighted its 100-year anniversary at the show.

Holland, Mich.-based Dematic debuted its newest compact automated guided vehicle (AGV), the straddle forklift Active Linde, at the show. The more modular AGV is designed to lift up to 10,000 pounds, it says. In partnership with Wiesbaden, Germany-based Kion, which acquired Dematic last year, it also showcased its range of dual-function forklift trucks that are designed to run with or without electricity.

Douglas Battery, Winston-Salem, N.C., highlighted the LegaC2 high-frequency modular chargers and the Douglas DataTrac battery monitoring device, which are new additions to its battery and charging solution portfolio.

Lyon Station, Pa.-based East Penn Manufacturing Co. showcased its lineup of more than 450 types of batteries and related products.

EnerSys, Reading, Pa., discussed its range of automotive power solutions to support material handling fleet efficiency and productivity, including modular fast chargers that use digital power control technology. A universal, cloud-based battery optimization suite for forklift fleets with 50 or more batteries also was highlighted.

Vista, Calif.-based Flux Power Holdings Inc. debuted its newly developed lithium-ion LiFT Pack battery for Class 1 forklifts

HighJump, Minneapolis, announced the expansion of streamlined data analysis and strategic next steps for HighJump Pulse, the company’s supply chain analytics application.

Mason, Ohio-based Intelligrated, a part of Honeywell, demonstrated fully automated each-picking systems, which use advanced, model-free vision technology and both vacuum and gripper pick capability to adapt to diverse objects, it says. The demonstration highlighted a two-level automated storage-and-retrieval shuttle system and vertical lift to move inventory-laden totes from storage into position for picking.

JLT Mobile Computers, Phoenix, showcased that its line of small, rugged vehicle terminals now features scratch-resistant PowerTouch display technology that works with a gloved or ungloved hand and can withstand vibrations, temperature fluctuations and dust while increasing productivity and minimizing costly interruptions, it says. It highlighted the VERSO+ 10, a high-performance vehicle-mount computer featuring a flexible QuickLock feature for easy mounting and dismounting on a vehicle, and the JLT1214P for logistics and warehousing that speeds up tasks and increases productivity.

Standish, Mich.-based Magline Inc. showcased its versatile, battery-powered LiftPlus that encompasses an electric screw-drive system, narrow footprint and quick-change brackets, which enable the unit to perform multiple jobs, it says. It also highlighted its new propulsion-assist controls feature and lift system for the CoolLift, which aids in maneuvering the device on rough terrain, inclines or thresholds.

Moorestown, N.J.-based OPEX Corp. highlighted new features for its robotic order picking technologies. The Perfect Pick High Density (HD) now includes twice the storage density to slot items across a warehouse using the 80-pound capacity of the iBOT to allow for heavier payloads, an over-height detect to eliminate jams, and an integrated pick-to-light workstation to streamline picking operations, it says.

ORBIS Corp., Oconomowoc, Wis., showcased the Pally, a part dolly, part pallet solution, that streamlines unloading and replenishing and is the base of the retail delivery system. The dual feature allows materials to be stored, transported and distributed with less equipment, minimal labor and few touch points.

Greene, N.Y.-based Raymond Corp. demonstrated its newest innovation in virtual reality (VR) training in which lift operators are trained using preprogrammed, simulated exercises in a warehouse. Wearing a VR headset, operators wirelessly connect to Raymond lift trucks and are able to use actual vehicle controls as they navigate through the warehouse. 

Regal Beloit America Inc., Florence, Ky., highlighted its NG Evo material system. The proprietary thermo-plastic broadens sustainability opportunities in standard material handling by reducing energy consumption and noise, the company says. It also allows for the elimination of soap and water lubrication for dry, high-speed conveying on U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved proprietary thermoplastic resin. This low-friction concept also helps to meet water conservation goals, it adds.

Rite-Hite, Milwaukee, highlighted its “drive-through” dock application, a set-up that is considered the gold standard for improving cargo security, product dock safety and cold-chain integrity, it says. It also showcased its new product: the GuardRite Retractable Barrier. Designed to guard rail docks, finger docks, and wide- and flatbed-loading areas, GuardRite is a modular, self-storing barrier system that can withstand as much as 30,000 pounds of impact at 4 mph, it adds. 

Hyannis, Ma.-based Sencorp White introduced its new president, Chris Lingamfelter, at the show. It also demonstrated its horizontal carousel, which is a cost-efficient, reliable automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS), it says. The AS/RS system features high-density storage that reduces floor space usage by 60 percent; high throughput at picking rates as fast as 950 lines for each operator, an hour; and reduced labor. The company also highlighted its 70-year anniversary.

Glenview, Ill.-based Signode Industrial Group (SIG) showcased its range of material handling and load containment solutions, including Muller’s Octopus 1825 B, an automatic rotary-ring stretch wrapper that can accommodate a wide range of pallet load sizes and applications. It also featured Shipper Products’ new Insta-Air, a mobile, battery-powered inflator that provides a portable solution for filling dunnage airbags.

Siemens, Augusta, Ga., announced the launch of its Sinamics V20 Smart Access web server module, designed to directly mount onto the drive, transforming a mobile device or laptop into a virtual operator panel for drive control. The wireless connection also facilitates setup, programming, production monitoring and maintenance on a variety of machines and production equipment, it says. 

Swisslog, Newport News, Va., demonstrated a variety of scalable, future-ready solutions including new software, smart data and flexible, scalable automation solutions to help companies keep pace with Industry 4.0. It also highlighted its new SynQ software platform, a flexible and adaptable cloud-enabled software that intelligently connects and synchronizes automation equipment, robotics, people and processes, the company says.

Irvine, Calif.-based Toshiba America Business Solutions debuted its patented large-format, high-speed B-EX6 printers designed to print 6-inch labels at speeds as fast as 12 inches a second. The Energy Star printer features fast-speed Near Edge head technology with ribbon save and a dual-ribbon motor system that ensures better ribbon handling while eliminating unscanable labels, it says.

Twinlode Corp., South Bend, Ind., showcased a patented dual-pallet system that allows warehouse personnel to load and unload two pallets at a time, increasing productivity as much as 50 percent while decreasing wear and tear on material handling equipment and damage to products and racks, it adds.

Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Universal Robots demonstrated collaborative robots with its new 7th axis capability, force-torque sensors, augmented-reality assisted assembly, grippers, vision cameras and other new partner solutions. It also showcased its new online showroom, Universal Robots+ platform.

Wildeck Inc., Waukesha, Wis., introduced a new SmartControl system for hydraulically operated lifts that senses when one of a dozen or more faults occurs and sounds an audible alarm specific to the fault condition.

Wulftec, Québec, Canada, a part of M.J. Maillis Group, introduced a new Standard+ control panel  featuring  an affordable touchscreen operator interface, which is designed for its SMART Series and WRT Series pallet stretch wrappers.  Among the features of the Standard+ panel are three pre-set wrap patterns, an easy alarm readout of the screen, an alarm log; and step-by-step operation guidelines. The panel also includes a “light load/heavy load” feature, which allows operators to use two different tension settings that take the variety of products being wrapped into consideration.

Greenville, N.C.-based Yale Materials Handling Corp. demonstrated the latest innovation in its robotic lift truck lineup, the MC10-15 Driven by Balyo, a counterbalanced stacker model capable of point-to-point horizontal transportation as well as vertical movement. It also is capable of autonomously retrieving or depositing pallets from elevated spaces.

Zebra Technologies, Lincolnshire, Ill., launched its SmartPack Trailer, which leverages 3-D sensors and camera technology to ensure businesses are able to capture load density, trailer fullness and load progress for an overall smarter, more connected distribution network, the company says. The solution already has demonstrated a 2 to 4 percent improvement in load volume efficiency, which decreases fuel consumption and maximizes the return-on-investment of every truck on the road, it says. 

ProFood Tech

Running in conjunction with ProMat 2017, ProFood Tech, a new food and beverage processing show produced by PMMI, the association that presents Pack Expo; Koelnmesse, the producer of Anuga; and the International Dairy Foods Association, took place April 4-6 at McCormick Place’s Lakeside Center in Chicago. The tradeshow featured more than 6,000 processing professionals and 400 suppliers.

The following are some highlights from ProFood Tech 2017:

Miami-based AND&OR showcased its range of machines for the bottling and packaging industries, which can handle bottle sizes from 1.8 ounces to 3 liters at speeds as fast as 40,000 bottles an hour, it says. It also highlighted its depalletizers for PET or PE plastic materials, metal and glass, as well as the DBM-CL series for the automatic debagging of plastic and the DBM series, an automatic debagger for glass bottles.

Chr. Hansen, Milwaukee, highlighted its bioprotection product line, which can help reduce food waste by preventing the growth of microorganisms that spoil food. It provided samples of a vanilla-flavored drinkable yogurt that contained two cultures: YoFlex Premium 1.0 and FreshQ4, the bioprotection solution.

New Century, Kansas-based DuPont Nutrition & Health showcased its range of stabilizing systems for dairy manufacturing. Among the samples provided were a vanilla “Chilling with Gellan Soft Serve,”which featured 5 percent fat, two non-dairy creamers and hydrocolloids in the Danisco range that prevent separation, extend shelf life and improve the creaminess and mouthfeel of products, it says.

Festo, Hauppauge, N.Y., showcased its line of new process automation solutions, including clean valve terminals which can be machine mounted, corrosion-resistant actuators, as well as air quality and energy-efficiency solutions. It also highlighted solutions for keg and vessel cleansing and its ability to help brewers achieve better beer quality through high-compressed air quality.

Flowcrete Americas, Spring, Texas, showcased its range of high-performance, cementitious urethane Flowfresh hygienic flooring solutions that are designed to overcome the challenges faced within large-scale food and beverage facilities.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Hitachi demonstrated its continuous inkjet printers and a new CO2 laser marker for coding on various packaging substrates including paper, cardboard, glass and plastic.

Ingredion, Westchester, Ill., highlighted its portfolio of innovative ingredient solutions, formulation expertise and broad range of capabilities. It provided samples of an American-style vegan cheese panini featuring its new clean-label, plant-based proteins and starches: Pulse 3602 Faba Bean Protein and the 8500 Modified Potato Starch.

Franklin-Wis.-based Krones showcased its acquisition of Trans-Market Sales & Equipment Inc., which enhances its process technology capabilities in the United States and enables the company to provide turnkey solutions for filling, packaging and labeling, it says. 

Langguth America, Ontario, Canada, highlighted its full range of labeling solutions for the food and beverage industry, showcasing its wet glue and roll-fed labelers that provide speed, affordability and reliability, it says.

Pittsburgh-based Matthews Marking Systems demonstrated its Mperia, a universal print controller that provides high-resolution thermal inkjet and drop-on-demand valve inject from a single interface. The controllers also work with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to manage the complete production and marking process at a fraction of the cost of a PLC, it says.

Delevan, Wis.-based Pentair Process Technologies highlighted its range of integrated and sustainable production solutions that include advanced valve technology, continuous beverage processing, quality control equipment and membrane technology for water purification and filtration. 

PDC International Corp., Norwalk, Conn., showcased its Model R-350 sleeve labeler that applies heat-shrinkable sleeve labels at speeds as fast as 500 bottles a minute, it says. The machine features an integrated accumulator that allows the machine to continuously run while changing to film. 

Oconomowoc, Wis.-based Sentry Equipment debuted its new IsoPure line of 3-A certified aseptic samplers that integrate into aseptic and hygienic production lines. Using an IsoPure sampler, quality control personnel can easily and safely sample liquids from closed systems such as food and beverage process lines and vessels while protecting the process and samples from the environment.

Tetra Pak, Denton, Texas, showcased its end-to-end solutions to help food and beverage manufactures get future-ready in a booth designed to look like a customer’s plant. Among the innovations were a “custoMilk-zation” station and video featuring the equipment needed to customize milk; the new Tetra Pak E3 breakthrough technology platform featuring four systems for E3 platforms designed to reduce energy consumption and increase sustainability; and the Hololens by Microsoft virtual training and remote systems that can facilitate equipment troubleshooting anywhere in the world, it says. The company also highlighted the new Tetra Pak E3/Compact Flex, a chilled filling machine for a family of packages based on eBeam sterilization technology and two new on-the-go packages with DreamCap that offer smaller size options with the same re-sealable one-step closure.

Oakdale, Minn.-based QualiTru Sampling Systems highlighted a new aseptic TruDraw single sampler, a 2-ounce all-in-one sterile container with an attached sterile needle primarily used for raw milk sample testing. The container also incorporates a tamper-evident feature allowing the user to implement a chain of custody process and assuring that adulteration of the sample has not occurred.