The Robotics and Automation Exhibition kicked off in Milton Keynes this morning with big crowds of visitors all keen to see the latest technology that promises to revolutionise logistics.
More than 100 leaders in robotic technology are exhibiting at the event, which continues tomorrow, including KUKA, ABB, Knapp and Tharsus.
The exhibition includes a comprehensive conference programme. Alex Harvey, head of robotics and autonomous systems at Ocado, gave the keynote presentation to a packed house highlighting the opportunities and challenges of developing automated and robotic systems for grocery.
Red Ledge, the advanced manufacturing and logistics control specialist, has unveiled the latest version of its automated supply chain control system at the Exhibition.
And in another conference session, Russell Holmes of robotics giant ABB outlined the challenges facing the logistics operations, and how automation is playing an increasing role particularly the use of robots.
ABB has been expanding its expertise in the fast-growing logistics automation market, with the acquisition of intrion, a privately owned company headquartered in Huizingen, close to Brussels.
Its expertise covers a full spectrum of logistics automation solutions including inline checking, product picking, packing, palletising, conveying, storage, sorting and sequencing, and order picking. The transaction, which is expected to close in Q3/Q4 2018.
“The acquisition is a milestone for ABB’s entry into the logistics market and will significantly advance our logistics robotics automation offering,” said Sami Atiya, President of ABB’s Robotic and Motion division. “The growth of e-commerce and shift to mass customisation means our customers are handling a wider variety of packages with ever-increasing delivery expectations and we are helping to ensure they are well equipped for that shift.”
Geek+ is exhibiting at Robotics and Automation fresh from a major deployment of its its Geek Picking System at Empower in Hong Kong. The innovative goods-to-person solution automates order fulfilment to deliver higher throughput with cost-effective and work-productive performance. The robot area of the Empower warehouse is around several thousands square meters, implementing 65 units of Geek Picking Robot. Combing with high-rise inventory racks, the space utilisation of the warehouse has been maximised.
Knapp has built its reputation on some very large automation projects, notably with John Lewis at Milton Keynes.
But at Robotics and Automation it is also focusing on its Pick-it-Easy Robot – a fully-automatic picking solution for logistics applications. It has been developing the robot for some time and by using different grippers, the robot can now process a wide range of articles – the intelligent robot automatically selects the suitable gripper and the optimised dynamic values for the gripping process of the article.
The Robotics and Automation Exhibition continues at the Arena MK in Milton Keynes tomorrow.
Watch the day one video here.