Contributed by Mike Holler, Vice President of Operations, PeakLogix
We’re a couple weeks from the ProMat Show at Chicago’s McCormick Center from April 8th to the 11th. The show’s exhibits represent all segments of the material handling and logistics industry, from traditional, manual equipment to computerized, automated systems.
As an Engineering-based Material Handling Integrator, ProMat is a significant event for our company on several levels – supplier relationships, technical research, and customer development.
This show, and it’s off-season counterpart MODEX, are the only times PeakLogix can meet with all of our equipment suppliers in one place. It gives us a chance to connect with the individuals we partner with daily. Phone conversations and email are typically highly transactional and fast paced. So meeting face to face, shaking hands, and having a few moments to talk on a personal level is a welcomed opportunity that we look forward to every spring.
The raw volume and variety of technologies represented is truly impressive. Equipment ranges from component level items, such as casters, to more advanced systems such as driverless vehicles (AGVs) and automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS).
For the PeakLogix engineering team, our goal is to identify solutions that we can integrate into our suite of offerings for our clients; we walk the show floor looking for the latest equipment, software options, and industry innovations that advance our clients’ operations.
What we most frequently find interesting are progressions of technologies or established product lines. For example, a new, more versatile control card might become available for a conveyor technology we’ve used historically. Or perhaps a robot manufacturer adds capabilities to an existing platform that opens up new opportunities in capacity, reach, or speed. These types of enhancements are commonly found as you visit the various vendors, partners, and exhibitors during the show. Less frequently, but more exciting, is a finding completely new products or breakthroughs in automation. These can be game changers for system design and can sometimes offer levels of productivity, quality, and efficiency not previously achievable.
It’s not unusual for tech savvy or tech curious customers to attend ProMat. And the variety of technologies present makes it possible for someone in manufacturing, warehousing, or distribution to see a broad range of solutions with potential in their environments. What’s great about being at ProMat is while we’re learning about the latest advancements, we can talk directly with our customers on site about new possibilities. If a customer is in the early stages of a project or potential project, we can often do a real-time evaluation of technologies that might be beneficial to explore in greater detail – right on the show flow, together. If the customer is further along in a project and an optimum execution strategy is already established, we can directly compare suppliers or capabilities of a specific solution. In either case, PeakLogix always welcomes the opportunity to support our clients in this setting and offer any experience and expertise we can.
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