Written by: Kerry Zielinski - Business Development Executive - Comprehensive Logistics Co., Inc.

Looking ahead to 2021 – these two conferences are parting ways– with Automate 2021 coming to Detroit – the Motor City

With an abundance of innovation and good ideas – ProMat and Automate planners may have discovered that each conference could exist on its own. This event likely has out-grown a single event at one location. Attendees from across the globe love to explore, network and to absorb the technology on display.

I remember my father coming home with an early Polaroid instant picture camera. It was expensive, a leap in innovation for personal pictures but it’s price made it not practical for everyone. Everyone now has a camera on their phone – and instant pictures are taken for granted as we use them for expressions – instant messaging and we cannot “picture” life without this. We are at this same turning point with the advent of technology in robots and the experience interacting with supply chain technologies.

Just as the first camera – we have now an explosion of technology off-the-shelf to assist supply chain operational efficiencies. So many booths and so much to see…

Many technologies on display at ProMat and Automate are entering a stage of their lifecycle and now affordable and easy to insert into day to day operations. Yet, not as simple as point and shoot Polaroids, but may have adopted the range-finder sonar technology that Polaroid had pioneered.

For myself and the engineering team from Comprehensive Logistics, this was an opportunity to “drink from the Fire Hose” of information and share concepts that will benefit our customers and our operations.

ProMat and Automate highlights –

  • Conveyors which can segregate product using sidewise spinning embedded balls could streamline sorting and achieve lower use costs through application flexibility
  • Simple step robots can now be trainable in as little as 30 seconds. It no longer needs expensive software or M.I.T. grads. You just guide the robot thru its process work steps and it learns the routine… then repeats. We are reaching a phase for robots like the birth of the acceptance of the everyday smart phone. Robots and Cobots (Collaborative Robots) are like a swiss army knife of productivity applications.
  • More controls and metrics for utilization of battery capacity – one vendor - Enersys shared with me tools to select the right battery for the usage needs and then does software analysis for tracking the use to customize the configurations to increase or decrease capacity. It was smart and efficient.