More than 950 exhibitors, nearly 150 on-floor informational seminars and a host of materials handling technologies, supply chain solutions and automation innovations were displayed in 420,000-square-feet of exhibits across two halls at ProMat 2019, which took place April 8-11, at McCormick Place in Chicago. Sponsored by Material Handling Institute (MHI), ProMat again was co-located with Automate 2019, sponsored by the Association for Advancing Automation.

The following are some of the companies which exhibited at ProMat:

Los Angeles-based BYD showcased its lineup of forklifts and a new battery charger that can operate across multiple shifts without the need to change or replace batteries.

Cognex Corp., Natick, Mass., highlighted an image-based barcode reader that works at a range of 700 feet a minute; an HDR barcode reader, which provides the ability to read packaging codes at a greater depth of field; and its self-contained A1000, a 2-D and 3-D dimension system that sends barcode data to computers, tablets or smartphones in real time.

Byron City, Mich.-based Flow-Rite discussed its single-point watering system for forklift batteries that are designed to take the guesswork out of electrolyte levels, it says.

Morris Plains, N.J.-based Honeywell Intelligrated showcased its fully automated goods-to-robot order picking designed for eCommerce. The system combines robotic vision, artificial intelligence and gripping with automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) shuttle technology, vertical lifts and conveyor to completely automate order picking.

JBT Corp., Chalfont, Pa., highlighted new partnerships and the advanced automation solutions it is providing to Crown Equipment Corp. and Yale Materials Handling Corp. Using a combination of sensors and 3-D cameras, the Dual-Mode Pantograph Robotic Reach Truck can autonomously deposit and retrieve loads from locations as tall as 30 feet and reach into double-deep storage. In collaboration with Honeywell, JBT also promoted the Vocollect intuitive voice-directed, semi-autonomous picking technology, which reduces operational error, it says.

Atlanta-based KNAPP highlighted its new redPILOT software, which acts as a control tower to help plan and optimize warehouse and distribution systems in real time by managing data, predictive modeling, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence to help companies maximize performance and return on investment.

Matthews Automation Solutions, Waukesha, Wis., showcased its autonomous mobile robot (AMR), which can be configured with different attachment options for materials movement or picking assistance. The AMR deploys 2-D laser scanning of fixed points within the environment to map its path without the need for reflectors or other targets, it says.

ORBIS Corp., Oconomowac, Wis., unveiled its new XpressPal (XP) grocery pallet for shipping of finished goods from distribution centers to retail in grocery supply chains. Ideal for dairy milks, the 40-by-48-by-6.5 inch pallet is stackable and hygienic. The all-in-one XP also functions as a robust dolly, saving back labor of workers because it can be used for in-store coolers or display.

Lyman, S.C-based SEW Eurodrive promoted its range of solutions for warehouses, including gear motors and drives for automated guided vehicles and servo motors for palletizing equipment. It highlighted its MOVIGear, an all-in-one, decentralized permanent magnet motor and controller gearbox that provides 350 percent start-up torque for conveyors.

To better support production planning, Norcross, Ga.-based Siemens highlighted its 3-D modeling and Digital Twin that provides real-word digitalization for system configuration. The solution shares visual proposals, helping purchasers and operations managers better envision a new machine within their warehouse.

The Raymond Corp., Greene, N.Y., gave attendees hands-on demonstrations of its virtual reality (VR) simulator as a tool that can help train new forklift operators and further develop the skills of current forklift operators. The simulator comes pre-loaded with forklift lessor modules for reach, order picking and stand-up counter-balanced lift trucks.

Yorktown, Va.-based Ryson International promoted its new Wide Trak Spiral conveyors designed to handle a variety of small and large load sizes with 30- and 36-inch wide slats. Designed to handle double the weight capacity and create an elevation change of as much as 50 feet with a single drive, the conveyor also can start and stop fully loaded and run at speeds of up to 200 feet a minute, the company says. The conveyors also feature customizable configuration options and load entrance and exit at several intermediate elevations.

Glenview, Ill.-based Signode Industrial Group introduced its StorFast Warehouse Automation technology and the Octopus Compact 20 TSI automatic rotary ring stretch wrapper to the North American market. The StorFast AS/RS system uses powered carts that automatically moves pallets in and out of storage positions in the warehouse, enabling manufacturers to optimize high-density automated storage and retrieval systems while reducing power consumption, it says. It also displayed its intuitive Octopus stretch wrapper to assist with fully integrated warehousing solutions.

VDG (Van der Graaf), Shelby Township, Mich., showcased its SSV sanitary drum motors designed for hygienic and washdown belt conveyor applications to maintain hygiene and food safety. With an IP69K sealing system, the drum motors can withstand washdown pressure of as much as 3,000 psi, are constructed of 316 stainless steel for corrosion prevention, and are offered as crowned stainless profile, lagged, sprocketed and belt profiles machined directly on to the stainless steel drum to drive modular, wire mesh and monolithic thermoplastic conveyor belts. In addition, the drum motor conveyor drive design has the electric motor, gear drive and all moving components enclosed inside the drum, preventing food by-products from getting trapped, it says.

Columbus, Ind.-based Toyota Material Handling Corp. showcased its approved lithium ion battery solutions for Class 1, 2 and 3 forklifts. It also noted that an integrated fork scale option now has been built into the company’s forklifts.

Twinlode Automation, South Bend, Ind., introduced Richard Kooistra, vice president of automation. He will help companies explore automation solutions, serving as a go-between with vendors to help small- and medium-sized companies integrate software, data analytics, robotics and automated guided vehicles to increase production and improve supply chain logistics.

York, Pa.-based Westfalia Technologies debuted its new FireFly fault record visualization system, which now is part of its Savanna.NET warehouse execution system. The system gives warehouse operators an in-depth view of production lines and the ability to immediately identify errors.

Wildeck, Waukesha, Wis., introduced its XpressLift, which integrates vertical lifting into automated conveyor systems. Designed to meet safety standards for conveyors, the vertical reciprocating conveyor transfers totes or cartons weighing as much as 75 pounds at speeds as fast as 350 feet a minute. Carriage stopping is achieved by the AC vector drive, extending the life of mechanical motor break, it says.

Yale Materials Handling Corp., Greenville, N.C., promoted the Yale ERPVL, the company’s first counterbalanced lift truck with a space-saving lithium-ion battery pack that reduces truck weight, enabling better acceleration and reduced energy consumption compared with heavier lead acid battery alternatives, the company says.

The MHI will host Modex from March 9-12, 2020, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. BI