Episode 11 – ProMat Part 4
Part Four in our ProMat series is full of technology. This series of interviews discusses navigation for robots, new sensor technology, deep learning and even includes a picking demo by myself which you can see below. You can read more about each company featured below and if you are just catching up you can find the previous parts at the following links: Part One, Part Two, Part Three.
Humatics is doing really amazing things with location and spatial intelligence to allow robots to navigate through different operations. I got to speak with David Mindell, CEO and Founder, about what Humatics is all about and how their system works. Viewing the system in the booth, it is easy to see that implementation is actually quite simple which is key for existing operations. What was guiding the robot in the booth were just four small beacons that were sending signals and communicating through Humatics software. Telling the robot where to go is one of the most important factors in moving into automation and Humatics is certainly making robot navigation much more precise and reliable.
At the Douglas Battery booth I got the chance to speak with Brian Faust, Director of Sales. He spoke to me about Douglas Battery and their offerings for the material handling industry. One of the highlights of their booth and product offering is the Raptor rapid charge setup which can charge your batteries 3 to 5 times faster than the standard. This is a big deal when having high throughput and no battery switching. When it comes to batteries you want to have as much up time as possible in your operation and Douglas Battery is working towards ensuring as little down time as possible.
SICK is most known for their blue branded sensors that you see on conveyors but what I learned at their booth and inside of their Smart Logistics Lab is that they are moving into Industry 4.0 items as well. I interviewed Rich Dreher, Applications Engineer, about all of the new technologies that SICK is providing to the industry. One of the most interesting technologies that they are working with is deep learning. Through deep learning their sensors are able to learn what to do with different types of things through visually learning. For example, the sensor will be able to learn the difference between a cardboard box and a padded envelope which will allow them to be diverted based on package type. This is incredibly interesting and definitely is telling as to what the future holds for our industry and how much smarter our distribution and manufacturing facilities will become.
Jim Dempsey, Director of the EDGE team, spoke to me about their Toughbook product offering and how it has increased its reach within the past 3 years. They have expanded their line to include all mobile computing options including tablets and handheld devices as well as camera devices for data capture. This allows an operation to have a single manufacturer for all devices. We also discussed how the industry is moving away from Windows and utilizing Android as the main operating system for their handheld devices.
I was very excited to see the Locus Bot in action at the Locus Robotics booth. You may remember that our first episode ever was with one of the co-founders of Locus, Bruce Welty, so getting to see it in person was truly a pleasure. I even got the chance to do a demo which you can see below prior to talking to Karen Leavitt, CMO. Karen and I spoke about Locus and the ease of working with their robot as well as the ease of implementation of the Locus Bot. I will say from the demo that the Locus Bot is incredibly easy to use and fun to work with. I am excited to see how Locus continues to improve the cobot experience in the future.
JDA offers a large offering of software products for solutions throughout the supply chain. Matt Butler, Director of Industry Strategy, spoke to me about some of their product offerings and their new AI and machine learning products. We had an interesting discussion around how the industry is receiving AI and machine learning technologies. We also got into his advice and thoughts on how to strategically go about getting into automation and adapt to the future of the industry to keep up with increasing demand on many fronts.
I spoke with Suhas Hajgude, Director of Product Management, about MHS and what solutions they provide to their customers. They focus in on the internet of things (IoT), predictive analytics and all of the great buzzwords surrounding Industry 4.0 as we move toward the future of automation. He touched on some really interesting things about how customers are reacting to these types of technologies and how the need for them will continue to grow. MHS also had one of the most well-done booths with a fun race the robot pick game where you could see how the robot would pick in comparison to the speed of a human.
enVista is a consulting and software solution company that can look at all aspects of the supply chain and help you to accomplish what your needs are to improve upon your existing operation. I spoke to Ken Mullen, Account Executive, about what enVista does and what they can offer to potential customers. We also discussed their views on the future of the industry and how automation is going to play a part in our industry’s future.
I hope you enjoy this episode and learn something new. Please leave a comment below and let us know what you are most excited about from these companies.