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May 2019

Top 20 system suppliers 26
ERP in the age of omni-channel 34
Add structure to your storage goals 40

What’s next
ProMat 2019 in review 46

for Turn 14
Jon Pulli, CEO,
Turn 14 Distribution
Convert them to “sale-ready”
The Dematic Returns solution processes returned items quickly and
efficiently, enabling you to restore salable merchandise to primary or
short-term storage, depending on demand.

The Dematic Merchandise Returns System is a reverse logistics solution

that accelerates and streamlines the processing steps required to
prepare each item for resale, typically within 24 hours of receipt. The
solution leverages Dematic iQ software to facilitate the inspection and
reconditioning of workflows required before items are returned to stock,
a clear labor-saving advantage for time-sensitive and perishable materials,
especially in e-Commerce and apparel applications.

Learn more about optimizing your distribution center with the

Dematic Merchandise Returns Systems.

Contact us at or 1-877-725-7500.

Sealed Air to acquire Automated Packaging Systems

SEALED AIR CORP. has acquired EarthAware brand. “The addition of APS
Automated Packaging Systems Founded in 1962 is well aligned with our
(APS), a leading manufacturer of with headquarters in Reinvent SEE goal of
automated bagging systems, for Streetsboro, Ohio, APS doubling our innovation
$510 million. employs more than 1,200 rate over the next five
APS provides full flexible people, serves customers years,” said Ted Doheny,
packaging systems, including in more than 60 coun- Sealed Air president and
equipment, sustainable materials tries and operates seven CEO. “This transaction
and technical services. Known manufacturing sites in expands the breadth of
for inventing Autobag bagging the U.S. and U.K. In our automated solutions
machines and pre-opened bags 2018, APS generated $290 million in and sustainable packaging offerings,
on a roll, APS also offers three sales, an increase of approximately giving us access to growth opportuni-
recycled film solutions under the 10% year over year. ties in the markets we serve.”

Hyster-Yale Group to Mitsubishi Logisnext

collaborate with Honeywell Americas acquires
HYSTER-YALE GROUP announced that it is collaborat- Equipment Depot
ing with Honeywell to develop a new line of industry-
first pallet trucks controlled by voice technology.
Americas (MLNA), the holding
These new semi-autonomous lift
company for Mitsubishi Caterpillar
trucks will be equipped to integrate
Forklift America (MCFA), has
with the Honeywell Vocollect voice
acquired Pon Material Handling
solution. Using this new technology,
NA, a U.S. materials handling
operators can verbally control the
equipment dealer operating as Equipment Depot.
pallet truck’s horizontal movement.
MLNA’s acquisition of Equipment Depot will further
Designed primarily for low-level pick
complement MCFA’s existing dealer network by adding direct,
activities, the voice-directed pallet
full-service materials handling operations across nine states.
trucks are designed to benefit a range of industries
“Customers are increasingly seeking more comprehensive
including retail, e-commerce, food and beverage,
solutions to their materials handling challenges,” said Ken
general warehousing and distribution.
Barina, MLNA president. “By adding Equipment Depot, we
“Low-level order picking can represent up to 70%
can continue to improve on our industry-leading solutions to
of labor costs in the average warehouse operation.
our customers and dealer partners.”
Our studies showed that by controlling movements
Serving local communities since 1951, Equipment Depot is
of a Hyster or a Yale pallet truck through voice
one of the largest independent materials handling and rental
commands in order picking applications, customers
businesses in the U.S., with locations spanning 1,500 miles.
can improve operator productivity up to 20%,” said
MCFA has 110 authorized dealers covering more than 730
David Furman, president of marketing for Hyster-
locations across North, Central and South America.
Yale Group.

Hitachi acquires JR Automation, enters

U.S. robotic system integration market
HITACHI HAS ACQUIRED the robotic company employs more than 2,000
system integration business of JR workers and reported 2018 revenues
Automation Technologies, a builder of of $603 million.
production lines and logistics systems With this acquisition, which is val-
using industrial robots. ued at $1,425 million (approx. 158.2
Founded in 1980, JR Automation billion yen), Hitachi will enter the
has grown from a North American to robotic system integration business in
a global player by designing, building North America, which is expected to together with the acquisition of KEC
and adjusting production lines in the see a high rate of growth. Corporation (KEC), a Japanese robot-
automotive, aerospace, e-commerce Hitachi will continue to accelerate ic system integrator Hitachi acquired
and medical device industries. The the global rollout of the business, in March 2019. M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M ay 2019 3

The first of its kind in the industry, Raymond’s
Virtual Reality Simulator is the only teaching tool
that puts operators on an actual lift truck in the
most realistic virtual warehouses available. By
providing an engaging learning environment with
real-world challenges and real-time feedback, the
system can help:

+ Improve operator + Enhance confidence

+ Build expertise
+ Increase retention
+ Improve efficiency
+ Advance learning

Experience a new reality of enhanced operator

instruction, request your free sample viewer at
VOL. 74, NO. 5

System walk ®



60 seconds
Jon Pulli, with...
CEO, Turn 14 Bryan Knott
Jeff Fusco / Getty Images for Peerless Media and Crystal

16 What’s next for Turn 14

A Pennsylvania-based distributor of performance auto DEPARTMENTS & COLUMNS
parts moved from conventional to automated processes 3/ Upfront
and expanded its network from one to three DCs. The
result: improved accuracy, throughput and industry- 7/ This month in Modern
leading customer service. 12/ Lift Truck Tips: Mobile computing
14/ Packaging Corner: Protective packaging
56/ Supplement: Automation
FEATURES 64/ Special Section: ProMat Showcase
SPECIAL REPORT 69/ Focus On: AGVs and Mobile Robots
26 Top 20 system suppliers 74/ 60 seconds with...
Records continue to topple as the industry achieves robust, global
and nearly universal growth.
9/ MHI’s annual report sees inflection
34 ERP in the age of omni-channel point, investment spike, for digital
In recent years, enterprise resource planning solutions have lost technologies
some luster, even being called “back office” systems. They’re useful
for financials, procurement and transactions, but can ERP drive 10/ ProMat 2019: Nearly 50,000 attendees
omni-channel fulfillment? The short answer is “yes.” set 34-year record


40 Add structure to your storage goals

Racks are not immune to the constant pressure to adapt, but
alterations can present just as many opportunities for risk as reward.
Modern Materials Handling® (ISSN 0026-8038) is published monthly
by Peerless Media, LLC, 111 Speen Street, Suite 200, Framingham,
SHOW WRAP UP MA 01701. Annual subscription rates for non-qualified subscribers:

46 ProMat 2019 show wrap up

USA $139, Canada $219, Other International $269. Single copies are
available for $20. Send all subscription inquiries to Modern Materials
Handling, PO Box 677, Northbrook, IL 60065-0677 USA. Periodicals
Here’s a look at some of what our team of editors saw at the show. postage paid at Framingham, MA and additional mailing offices.
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Modern Materials
Handling, PO Box 677, Northbrook, IL 60065-0677. Reproduction
of this magazine in whole or
part without written permission
of the publisher is prohibited.
All rights reserved.
©2019 Peerless Media, LLC. MODERN MAT ERIA L S HA NDL ING / M ay 2019 5

If you’re planning for
your inventory to
always fit in one of

You must be using

one of these.

W e doubt you have a crystal ball to configure the optimal DC to handle all the fast and fluctuating
inventory types and fulfillment demands in your future.

But with GreyOrange™ you get the next best thing—maximum fulfillment flexibility through
smart robotics and configurable solutions driven by always-solving software. Our end-to-end
solutions are informed by GreyMatter real-time intelligence to optimize how people, robots and
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Easily flex up for peaks and flex down afterward, with continually adjusting automated
decisions that maximize performance to deliver healthier margins, customer-pleasing delivery
times and standout advantage for your business.

Whether you choose a single solution or our full-suite end-to-end DC advantage, our always
solving state-of-the-art robotics put warehouse operations into GreyOrange GOmode™ to
deliver value-in-motion from receiving to sorting & shipping.

Butler TM
Flexo TM
PickPal TM

AI-powered AI-enabled flexible Automated picking

goods-to-person robots sortation robots system works
execute automated put maximize profitability collaboratively with
away, replenishment & and configurability, human operators to
order picking even in small spaces fulfill orders

Making Warehouses
Future Ready™ Want to learn more?
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(833) 99 ROBOT (76268)
111 Speen Street, Suite 200 MICHAEL LEVANS
Framingham, MA 01701-2000 GROUP EDITORIAL
(800) 375-8015 DIRECTOR

Michael Levans

Automation: The buzz

Bob Trebilcock

you hear is real

Noël P. Bodenburg

EXECUTIVE MANAGING EDITOR here’s a good chance the buzz that’s to shop around for conveyor and sortation
Josh Bond still ringing in your ears from ProMat systems over the next 24 months, 50% tell us
SENIOR EDITOR last month may be with you for a while. they’re ready to invest in robotics for picking;
Sara Pearson Specter As we found in our “2019 Warehouse and 55% are interested in mobile collaborative
EDITOR AT LARGE Distribution Center Equipment Survey” in robots; 47% are looking into shuttle systems
Roberto Michel March and then validated in Chicago, Modern and mobile robotic storage; and 47% say
readers are still fired up to invest in solutions they’re ready to make a move toward robotics
Bridget McCrea
to help overcome increasing service demands for palletizing.
EDITOR AT LARGE while managing diminishing resources. While we’ve been watching the slow and
If we needed any more data to support this steady growth of new technology adop-
Jeff Berman
GROUP NEWS EDITOR vibe, the findings from our latest “Usage and tion, we’ve also been tracking how small- to
Implementation of Warehouse and DC Automa- medium-sized business are applying automa-
Wendy DelCampo
SENIOR ART DIRECTOR tion Solutions” reveals that readers are getting tion inside their operations to keep up with adventurous, especially when it comes to robot- the well-known e-tail behemoths.
Polly Chevalier
ART DIRECTOR ics. Editor at large Bridget McCrea puts context This month in Modern, executive editor Bob behind the findings starting on page 56. Trebilcock offers his second of three System
Daniel Guidera “After combing through the results,” says Reports that focus on smaller organizations that
ILLUSTRATION McCrea, “it becomes pretty apparent that the are turning their order fulfillment and logistics
Kelly Jones increasing need to manage high-velocity oper- capabilities into a competitive advantage. Start-
MANAGER ations with limited labor resources is clearly ing on page 16, he shares how Turn 14 Distri-
pushing companies toward more automa- bution, a distributor of performance auto parts,
Brian Ceraolo tion—and they’re breaking down any long-felt grew from a single 52,000-square-foot DC in
PRESIDENT AND CEO apprehensions in the process.” Pennsylvania into a distribution network with
According to the results, 63% of companies locations in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Texas.
PEERLESS MEDIA, LLC already use conveyor and sortation systems to “In short order, the company built out three
automate their facilities; 55% rely on weighing, strategically located DCs comprising more than
Start, renew or update your FREE cubing and dimensioning equipment; 33% 700,000 square feet of space,” says Trebilcock.
magazine subscription
Web: use goods-to-person picking solutions; 22% However, the key was bringing in a new
Phone: 847-559-7581 use automated storage; and 20% rely on auto- level of automation that now allows the com-
Mail: Modern Materials Handling
P.O. Box 677 mated packaging solutions. pany to hit most of the country in one day.
Northbrook, IL 60065-0677
For reprints and licensing “While these are all positive numbers “What impressed me the most was that, hav-
please contact Brett Petillo
877-652-5295, ext 118 regarding what are now traditional approaches ing done it once,” adds Trebilcock, “the com-
to automation, we were more encouraged by pany’s CEO said he’d do it again. This is just
Sign up or manage your FREE
what readers were forecasting over the next another great example of the power of materi-
eNewsletter subscriptions at
two years,” says McCrea. als handling automation done right regardless
While 57% of respondents say they plan of company size.” Member of Winner
Official Publication of
Jesse H. Neal
Certificates of
Merit for Journalistic
M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M AY 2019 7
Connect. Adapt.

Make the digital The unrelenting pace of commerce is forcing retailers to

process higher order volumes at speeds once considered
transformation with unimaginable. To stay competitive and protect profits,
companies can no longer settle for fragmented oversight
The Connected of their fulfillment operations.

Distribution Center. The Connected Distribution Center provides end-to-end

connectivity of workers, systems and processes to increase
reliability, improve utilization and maximize productivity.

If you’re ready to achieve day-to-day flexibility, future-proof

scalability and intelligence to make informed decisions, let
us show you how The Connected Distribution Center can
transform your operations.

For more information, please visit

© 2019 Honeywell International, Inc. All rights reserved. or call 1.866.936.7300.
Modern Online
Twitter | @modernmhmag
Web |


MHI’s annual report sees

inflection point, investment
spike, for digital technologies
Panelists highlight an industry ready to move forward with
the next stages of adopting digital technologies.


MHI’s sixth-annual, survey-based report tion systems and supply chain

illustrates rising interest in digital tech- management, Haslam Col-
nologies like Cloud computing, artificial lege of Business, The Univer-
intelligence (AI) and robotics, as well as sity of Tennessee.
a sharp increase in spending plans. The 2019 MHI Annual
A keynote panel discussed the Industry Report, “Elevat-
report’s findings at ProMat last month, ing Supply Chain Digital
highlighting an industry ready to move Consciousness,” suggests
forward with the next stages of adopt- investment in supply chain
ing digital technologies. innovation is at an inflection
“I think we are leaving the period of point, with a trend of declin-
experimentation,” said panel member ing investment from 2015 to 2018 technologies tracked in the report,
Joel Reed, CEO of IAM Robotics. being more than countered by a 95% the survey found Cloud computing
The participants included co-mod- increase in projected spending in 2019. and storage has the highest current
erators George W. Prest, CEO of MHI, Other findings included: adoption rate at 56%. Cloud adoption
and Scott Sopher, principal for Deloitte • 57% of respondents are planning is expected to grow to 79% over the
Consulting’s Supply Chain Practice. new technology investments totaling next two years, and to 91% over the
Deloitte assists MHI with the survey more than $1 million over the next two next five years. In the same period,
that is featured in the annual report. years (up 10% over last year’s survey). predictive analytics is expected to
The panel consisted of Annette Danek- • 34% plan to spend more than $5 reach an adoption rate of 87%, fol-
Akey, SVP Supply Chain, Penguin Ran- million. lowed by sensors at 86%, Internet of
dom House; Jim Liefer, CEO of Kindred • 22% plan to spend more than Things (IoT) at 80% and wearables at
AI; IAM Robotics’ Reed; and Randy V. $10 million. 73%. Blockchain and AI, which are cur-
Bradley, assistant professor of informa- In terms of adoption rates for 11 rently only at 10% and 13%, respec- M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M AY 2019 9
tively, are both expected to reach 62% labor shortage compels companies to House agreed that early uses of digital
in five years. adopt automation to find efficiencies, technologies have tended to center
The labor crunch, which remains at least as an initial focus. “The poten- around efficiency gains, but added
the most challenging industry issue tial for digital technologies is mas- that now companies are starting to see
in the report, is driving much of the sive,” Liefer said. “We’ve just started how digital technologies can improve
initial adoption of digital technolo- to scratch the surface.” delivery and cycle times. Increasingly,
gies. As Kindred AI’s Liefer put it, the Danek-Akey from Penguin Random she added, technology providers are
helping companies quantify the value
of factors like faster deliveries.
“The pace of supply chain innova-
tion over the six years of our survey
is truly astounding, creating real and
measurable competitive advantage for
early adopters,” said Prest in a state-
ment. “With supply chain complexity
showing no signs of slowing, the risk
of inaction is only growing. Leading
manufacturing and supply chain execu-

NOT ALL RACK IS tives agree that technology is the key

to future success.”

CREATED EQUAL The report can be downloaded at

See for yourself. TRADE SHOW NEWS

For nearly 50 years, Steel King Industries

ProMat 2019: Nearly
has been manufacturing high-quality, 50,000 attendees set
competitively priced material handling products. 34-year record
Today, Steel King is the “go to” source Manufacturing and supply chain pro-
for the precision engineering and durable fessionals gathered in record num-
quality that supports some of the most bers in Chicago for ProMat 2019, the
sophisticated automated largest materials handling and supply

warehouses and distribution

chain trade expo in North and South
For nearly 50
years, Steel
high-quality, King Industries
competitively has been designing

priced material and manufactu
handling solutions. ring

• AS/RS Storage
• Rack Supported

• Multi-level

centers nationwide.
Pick Modules
• Flow and Pushback
Racking Systems
• Pallet Racks
• Drive-In / Drive-Thru
• Cantilever
• Portable and
Custom Shipping

ProMat 2019 was the largest in the

• Mezzanines
/Work Platforms
• Industrial Containers
• Industrial Guard

To learn more, ask for our WWW.STEELKING

2700 Chamber

34-year history of the event, with reg-

website for the 2019
Stevens Point,
WI 54481

(800) 826-0203

Rack Syste
istrations of 49,718—an 11% atten-
(715) 341-3120
(715) 341-8792

© 2019 Steel
King Industries,

Rack Planning Guide


dance jump over 2017. The four-day expo, April 8-11, covered 425,000 net
square feet of exhibit space on two
show floors at Chicago’s McCormick
Place with 938 exhibiting companies.
The ProMat expo was co-located with
Automate 2019.
800-826-0203 “Investment in supply chain innova-
tion is at a critical inflection point,”
AS/RS Systems • Rack Supported Buildings • Multi-level Pick Modules said George Prest, CEO of MHI. “The
Flow and Pushback • Pallet Racks • Drive-In / Drive-Thru • Cantilever energy level among visitors and exhib-

10 M A Y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
itors was at an all-time high as more industry professionals. This year’s McCormick Place from April 12-15,
attendees were actively seeking best- Classroom Day combined an interac- 2021 and will feature a new Robotics
in-class solutions for their manufactur- tive educational session with a guided & Automation Solution Center.
ing and supply chain operations.” tour of the show floor and off-site The next MHI-sponsored trade
According to registration data, facility tours. Nearly 250 students and event will be Modex 2020, March
82% of attendees had buying author- faculty from 45 schools participated. 9-12, 2020 in Atlanta’s Georgia World
ity and 34% plan on spending $1 mil- ProMat 2021 will be held at Congress Center.
lion or more over the next 18 months
on equipment and systems.
Attendees from outside the United
States at this year’s ProMat represented
145 countries. The conference included
more than 140 show floor educational
seminars and featured solution centers
with exhibits and education on robot-
ics, supply chain sustainability and
emerging technologies.
MHI Industry Night on April 10
featured comedian Craig Ferguson.
The door prize for this event was a
$30,000 trip of a lifetime was awarded
to Elizabeth Buza of The Raymond
Corporation. During Industry Night,
MHI also announced the 2019 MHI
Innovation Award winners. —
Robotic Small Package
Best Innovation of an Existing
Singulation (SPS)
Product Winner
• RightPick: The Piece Picking Creating order from chaos
Solution by RightHand Robotics Inc.
Best IT Innovation Winner
• redPilot by Knapp Inc.
Best New Innovation Winner
• Pick2Pack by CMC
The winners of the 2019 MHI Young
Professional Network (YPN) awards Traditionally, inducting packages or items
to a sortation system has been a manual
were also announced at this event.
operation. It’s dull, repetitive and hard to
2019 YPN Mentor Award Winner find people to do it. That is now changing.
• Rosalee Brown of Rasco Industries ABB, together with a leading perception
2019 YPN Outstanding Young company, has developed a robot-centric
solution that accurately and consistently
Professional Award Winner
identifies each package, picking and placing
• Ben Moyer of Hytrol Conveyor
it on the induction conveyor, every hour
Company of every day. Creating order from chaos
one package at a time. It is just one of the
ProMat 2019 Student Days intro- new robotic solutions for the warehousing,
duced students and educators to distribution and order fulfillment market
career opportunities through hands- from ABB.
on learning and networking with M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M AY 2019 11

Staying power for mobile devices

A thorough understanding of the application will ensure a happy
marriage between forklifts and mobile computers.

By Josh Bond, Senior Editor

orklifts have transformed from mobile spatulas to
mobile high-tech offices in just a few years. In a tradi-
tional office, any investment in desktop computers is
governed by specifications that satisfy operational needs,
security concerns and total cost of ownership. When it
comes to mobile computers and forklifts, however, many
operations have started from scratch and learned the
tradeoffs of performance, cost and durability the hard way.
“A person looking for a forklift-mounted computer is There are lots of options, Paufler says. Maybe a scanner
probably not realizing the true duty cycle,” says David Pau- linked to a VMT is ideal, but does the operator occasion-
fler, industrial marketing manager for Datalogic. “The big- ally go away from the terminal? Maybe they wouldn’t
gest blind spot is a lot of people don’t realize a forklift has have to if the handheld scanner has a 20-meter range. Or,
no suspension, so something mounted on it will receive perhaps it would be better to use a detachable tablet?
every bump and shock.” The industry’s approach to technology’s rapid change has
Paufler says the past few years have seen widespread been to emphasize flexibility and future-proofing. An aver-
experiments with consumer-grade devices. Backed up in age VMT has a variety of ports to support future accessories.
the Cloud, the semi-disposable nature of consumer devic- “It’s much easier to be future-proofed with VMTs,”
es seemed a viable alternative to rugged, more expensive Paufler says. “You need good connectivity with the host
devices. But, issues of shock damage and connector wear system, good Wi-Fi so you maintain a connection, and a
and tear became evident. processor and memory that can handle the load. Once
“They want to use a device for more than one ap- you have those three, everything else is a peripheral.”
plication, so if the operator is only driving for 50% of the Plus, there are the software considerations. Most
day, they want the computer to go with him for the other customers are still running off terminal emulation, Paufler
50%,” Paufler says. “That led them to tablets, which is says, and although many good modern interfaces exist,
cool, but they face issues of durability. A wave of iPad emulation precludes custom applications since it’s simply
users has been coming to us. They’re dying with these a graphic overlay on an existing system.
consumer devices they throw out every six months.” “As some of the go-to options phase out, like Microsoft
Operations quickly learn the asset cost is 20%, and the support for Windows CE, the question about operating
remaining 80% is maintenance and support. Paufler says system pops up,” Paufler says. “It’s not that big a hurdle.
it’s critical to select the type of device that fits the work at What they’re worrying about is the lifecycle. But, somebody
the task and operational level. Some might find a smart buying a mobile computer for a forklift can pick what they
phone is more than enough. Some choose a tablet so want and know the big vendors are going to be there with
they can use CANbus for data, and others want a full-time that product for the next 10 years.”
device that’s always connected. An array of consumer de-
vices, industrial phones and tablets, or full vehicle-mount Josh Bond is Modern’s senior editor and can be reached at
terminals (VMTs) is available.

12 M a y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
Big ideas open up completely new perspectives.
We have taken another step towards mechatronic integration with
the combination of the new g500 gearbox range and the Lenze Smart
Motor. By using this single drive solution you will be able to cover a broad
spectrum of applications and reduce the number of variants you need
by up to 70%. Thanks to the excellent levels of energy efficiency and the
long life expectancy, your machines will achieve more productivity with
a maximum degree of reliability. Learn more at As easy as that.

Block-and-brace cushioning pads

keep companies green
Environmentally friendly cushioning pads provide protection
against shocks and absorb impacts.

By Sara Pearson Specter,

Editor at Large

ustainability in packaging is no longer a
trend; it’s a reality for today’s shippers as
customers demand environmentally friendly
protective packaging that can be disposed of in an
ecologically responsible way, says Tommy Moor-
man, marketing manager for Storopack NA.
“Companies are truly making an effort to be
green while improving their customers’ packag-
ing experiences,” Moorman explains. “Therefore,
our PAD LOC Renature pad combines two of our
certified compostable products: PAD LOC micro-
perforated film bags filled with a mix of air and our
Renature loose fill shipping peanuts. Both prod-
ucts are formulated from plant-based starches and grains.” their compost bin, or they can route it to their municipal-
Bagging the peanuts prevents migration and allows ity’s compostable waste service. “I’ve also seen people
the PAD LOC Renature pads to be used as moldable pad- tuck it into the bottom of a planter box. When the materi-
ding. Each conforms to the shape and contours of the als break down, they’re completely non-toxic and add
item (or items), replacing custom-engineered pre-formed nutrients back into the soil,” he adds.
packaging. It also prevents the customer from being Interestingly, Moorman notes, the film itself has been
showered by an explosion of individual packaging pea- shown to begin breaking down within six months, lead-
nuts when they open the box. ing the company to advise customers to only stock
“The block-and-brace properties of the cushioning roughly three months worth of packaging to ensure it’s
pads provide protection against shocks and absorb used before it degrades. “We discovered in one of our
impacts better than air pillows—which can be punc- manufacturing plants that a roll of the film that hadn’t
tured. They also recover better than crumpled paper, been converted yet broke down after six months—and
which doesn’t rebound as readily when it’s compressed,” was unusable,” he chuckles. “It definitely works as it’s
Moorman adds. supposed to.”
The pouches are offered in standard sizes of 12 x 12
inches, 12 x 18 inches and 12 x 24 inches, or in custom Sara Pearson Specter is an editor at large with Modern and
sizes. Recipients can either put the packaging directly into can be reached at

14 M a y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
More Choices • More Expertise • More Solutions

• Representing North America’s leading MRO brands
• Access to over 7.5 million SKUs
• Convenient and simple ways to order via mobile, desktop,
toll-free calling, or one of our locations

• More than 1,500 experienced account representatives
• Over 200 field product specialists available to solve your
toughest challenges
• Unmatched technical and application support

• Local parts and supplies inventory for fast turnaround
• Repair and fabrication technicians
• Account representatives and hundreds of branches located
throughout North America

Scan to watch

©2019 Motion Industries, Inc.

MODERN system report

What’s next for

Turn 14 Distribution
A Pennsylvania-based distributor of performance auto parts
moved from conventional to automated processes and expanded
its network from one to three DCs. The result: improved
accuracy, throughput and industry-leading customer service.


W hat’s next? That’s a

question often asked by fast-growing
tomer service, companies not only find
themselves running out of space and
dimension capture, a light-directed put-
wall, and conveyor and sortation. With
companies. In an order fulfillment bumping up against inefficient pro- those two steps complete, Turn 14 Dis-
environment where companies put a cesses, but also having to re-think their tribution built and went live with three
premium on price, selection and cus- entire distribution strategy to take busi- new distribution centers, back-to-back,
ness to the next level of performance. in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Texas,
That was the situation facing Turn increasing its available space to 710,000
14 Distribution, a Horsham, Pa.,-based square feet in just a few years.
distributor of performance auto parts. The result: While still a small- to mid-
In 2013, the then 11-year-old company sized distributor, Turn 14 Distribution
was operating from a single, space-con- can now provide customer service levels
strained 52,000-square-foot facility. To on behalf of its manufacturing partners
meet the distributor’s goals for growth on the same terms as much larger dis-
and nationwide two-day delivery, Turn tributors in other industries, including
14 realized it would not only have to visibility into its inventory; two-day ser-
rethink its processes, it would have to vice across the country plus one-day ser-
design an entirely new network. What’s vice to many locales; and free returns.
next was to conduct a network design Automation, in turn, has improved
study, which identified three strategic accuracy, increased throughput and
locations to meet customer service allows for late-in-the-day order cutoff
requirements; and, then, working with times. “We brought a new level of tech-
a systems integrator (Honeywell Intel- nology and service to an industry that
ligrated) to develop a new warehouse was accustomed to two-week delivery
Jim Larkin, director of building operations
design. The design brought in a custom- times when we first started,” says Jon
built warehouse management system Pulli, CEO and co-founder of the com-
(WMS), bar code scanning, weight and pany. “It also solidified us as a leader in

16 M a y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
Editor’s note: In April,
Modern ran the first of
three articles focused
on the distribution
challenges of small- to
medium-sized busi-
nesses that are now
expected to perform at
the same level as their
often much-larger com-
petitors. The April story
featured Adore Me Ser-
vices’ highly automated
e-commerce fulfillment
center in New Jersey.
This month, we take
a look at how Turn 14
Distribution, a distribu-
tor of high-performance
auto parts, grew from a
single 52,000-square-
foot distribution center
in Pennsylvania to a
distribution network with
locations in Pennsylva-
nia, Nevada and Texas.
The series will finish
in June with a story
on Nassau Provision’s
path from conventional
paper-based operations
to a high-performance
warehouse management

Jeff Fusco / Getty Images for Peerless Media M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M AY 2019 17
MODERN system report

Incoming product is inducted onto

a takeaway conveyor.

Turn 14 Distribution’s achievements

have not gone unnoticed: In 2016 and
2018, the company was recognized
by the Specialty Equipment Market
Association (SEMA) as the Wholesale
Distributor of the Year, and Pulli was
awarded Innovator of the Year.

High performance growth

Turn 14 Distribution describes itself as a
performance distributor “catering to niche
our space. When you start from scratch, “Because we capture so much information vehicle markets, along with stocking its
you have the advantage of putting at receiving, including weight and dimen- partner manufacturers’ full product lines
together a network that meets the needs sion information, we know exactly what for quick order fulfillment.” A typical cus-
of today’s day and age.” we have. Our inventory stays up to date tomer is a speed shop with a sales counter
“We have significantly increased the with regular cycle counting. And the auto- or an e-commerce retailer. “If you just
accuracy of all of our processes, from mation allows us to do a larger percentage want to replace your parts with aftermar-
receiving through shipping,” adds Jim of our business later in the day, with room ket auto parts, that’s not for us,” Pulli says.
Larkin, director of building operations. to grow across the network exponentially.” “Our customer is the person trying to
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MODERN system report

improve the performance of the vehicle.” in 2002 by Pulli and his partner, chief
Its go-to-market strategy includes technology officer Chris Candido. They
sales specialists with deep industry expe- took the name from Road America, a
rience in their particular markets and 4.0841-mile-long race track in Elkhart
access to a massive amount of inventory: Lake, Wisc., that has been described by
The company stocks 75,000 SKUs, but racing journalists as “the best test of road
tracks 365,000 SKUs in its system and racing in North America.” Considered
has access to 1 million SKUs through one of the most challenging road courses
its manufacturing partners, according in the country, the 14th and final turn is
to Pulli. Customer service, enabled by a true test of driving skill. Pulli says he
the distribution network and invest- was an entrepreneur at heart after grow-
ments in technology, is the third leg of ing up in an entrepreneurial family. He
the strategy stool. The company boasts and Candido were also car enthusiasts,
that it can offer one-day shipping to 43% as are many of the company’s employ-
of the domestic U.S. population, 100% ees: “We were an e-commerce retailer
of the population in two days and offers that turned into a wholesale distributor
competitive freight rates for global ship- because no one could service us,” says
ments. It promises flat-rate shipping to Pulli. They began as an e-commerce
its customers’ shops, late shipping cutoff enterprise, buying from distributors who
times, six-day-a-week operations and weren’t set up to deal with e-commerce.
Narrow aisle shelving and equipment same-day, in-stock order fulfillment. The first facility in Pennsylvania was
provides for dense storage. Turn 14 Distribution was founded a 4,000-square-foot space with a retail

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MODERN system report

counter for walk in sales plus some whole- in Reno, Nev.; and 240,000-square-feet
sale business to shops that found the in Horsham, Pa. “Our goal was to get
Website online. In 2007, with the whole- to the smallest footprint that would
sale business growing, Pulli and Candido accommodate a very high SKU count
made the leap to a 100% wholesale busi- and that’s what we ended up with,” says
ness. “We were about 50/50 wholesale Larkin. What’s more, they were built
and retail, but saw that our future was sequentially, one right after the other. “If
wholesale,” Pulli says. “We sold the retail I had it to do over, I’d do it the same way
business to one of our employees and because with each facility, we got better,”
concentrated on wholesale so we were says Pulli. While the facilities vary in
aligned with our manufacturing partners terms of size, they are essentially cookie-
and not trying to compete with our retail cutter when it comes to operations.
customers.” Operations were moved to With a network strategy in place by
a 17,000-square-foot facility, with wide 2014, Turn 14 Distribution realized it had
aisles, 18-foot pallet racks, one order- to re-think how it stored and picked prod-
picker and no lift truck. It outgrew that Turn 14 Distribution automatically scans, uct. At the time, some limited automation
space by 2010. weighs and cubes cartons as part of its was installed in the facilities, but associ-
quality control and assurance program.
That was followed by a 52,000- ates received and picked from paper and
square-foot facility in Pennsylvania with who approached network design in a keyed in information to print out shipping
narrow aisle storage for better space uti- holistic manner,” he says. “If you end up labels. It was slow, labor intensive and
lization. But, by 2013, Pulli and Candido in the wrong municipality, for instance, error-prone. “We knew we had to address
realized that if they were going to keep it might be a strategic location but you our bottlenecks,” says Larkin.
growing they needed more space and pay a gross receipts tax. We gave data The distribution team investigated
more locations. “We knew that we wanted requests to carriers and plugged in that implementing some type of automated
to be a large company,” says Pulli. “And, logistics information, then we looked at storage and goods-to-person picking,
we knew that we wanted to create a distri- labor availability and quirks that might but determined that it was too expen-
bution engine for the manufacturers who not be obvious, like local taxes.” sive for their operation. Instead, they
do $5 to $50 million worth of business The result was a three-location net- chose a hybrid approach. “Our goal was
and will never be able to build their own work: a 275,000-square-foot facility in automated sortation, to become paper-
network with multiple DCs.” Arlington, Texas; 180,000-square-feet less on both ends of the operation and
He adds: “We didn’t invest to support;
we invested to create.” The executive Custom technology
team began asking what was next beyond
a single 52,000-square-foot facility.
W ith a founding partner who
serves as the chief technol-
ogy officer, it comes as no surprise
to their cart, dropping items at one of
several induction locations along the
conveyor system before returning to a
The do-it-yourself network that Turn 14 Distribution has put an pickup location to get more items for
First, they implemented an interim solu- emphasis on the use of technology to putaway.
tion in a 50,000-square-foot distribution improve its operations. Much of that Inventory visibility is also an impor-
center in Reno, Nev., using processes has been developed in house. “We tant feature. Turn 14 Distribution has
similar to the Pennsylvania DC. But that have a team of developers on staff, built a Web portal that allows dealers
and they developed our WMS, EDI, to see inventory in stock at its facili-
was more a stop-gap measure as Turn
API, accounting integration, and Web- ties and at its manufacturing partners.
14 Distribution began to define what a
site integration,” says Pulli. Other systems analyze the perfor-
next generation network would look like. Task interleaving is one of the mance of suppliers to provide more
Initially, Pulli says the company met with major features of the warehouse man- accurate delivery times.
consultants and even hired an auditing agement system (WMS). An associate Why go it alone? “We developed
firm for the network design. In the end, completing a putaway assignment, new capabilities ourselves because we
the company decided to do the analysis for instance, may next be directed to couldn’t wait for someone to do it for
on its own. “We couldn’t find anyone do cycle counting or to begin picking us,” says Pulli.

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MODERN system report

oversized parts. The system uses random

putaway, rather than grouping parts by
manufacturer as they used to do, to
better use space. In addition, parts are
located in a storage zone according to
their velocity, with the fastest-moving
parts stored for easy accessibility. Single
line orders go to a packing station set up
to quickly get them labeled and out the
Cartons are labeled for shipment (right) and inducted onto a conveyor that leads to the door while multi-line orders are sent to a
shipping sorter.
40-foot-long putwall, where they are con-
to achieve the highest accuracy rate effort reduces errors later, makes for more solidated and sent on to shipping.
possible,” Larkin says. efficient storage and makes possible auto- Pulli and Larkin note a learning
To make that happen, Turn 14 Distri- matic box selection and consolidation dur- curve—and an initial 50% turnover in
bution worked closely with the systems ing picking and packing. staff—did emerge as associates transi-
integrator’s design team. The final design Putaway is optimized in a couple of tioned from manual processes they were
includes an emphasis on labeling and data ways. The facility features several storage familiar with to working with automation.
capture, including weight and dimension areas that can accommodate the variety A little more than two years after putting
information, when products are received. of part sizes. For instance, one area for it all in place, they are reaping the rewards
That ensures accuracy on the front end small parts, another for medium-sized of increased capacity, growth and velocity.
that will pay dividends later in the pro- parts and another for large parts from “We invested in distribution and logistics
cess. Associates have the ability to send 36 to 80 inches long. Conveyor and as a go-to-market strategy, and it has
a photo of an item they can’t identify to sortation systems have been modified established us as a leader,” says Pulli.
the procurement team that ordered it to to handle the variation in part sizes as The only question left is: Now,
ensure it’s labeled properly. That upfront well, using wider radius turns to handle what’s next?

Putting automation to work Turn 14 Distribution

Turn 14 Distribution’s new DCs rely on a homegrown Horsham, Pa.
WMS, weighing and dimensioning, and disciplined SQUARE FOOTAGE: 210,000 plus 30,000
square feet of mezzanine
process to speed deliveries to customers.

PRODUCTS HANDLED: Performance auto
urn 14 Distribution, a distribu- (WMS) prioritizes storage locations THROUGHPUT: 10,000 pieces today with a
capacity for 30,000 pieces per day
tor of high-performance parts for around the velocity of a part. The fastest
SKUs: There are 75,000 unique SKUs in the
automotive enthusiasts, went from movers are stored in the lower bays in facility, 365,000 SKUs in the WMS system,
one 52,000-square-foot distribution cen- the rack and pallet storage areas so they with access to 1 million through partners
PEOPLE/SHIFTS: 2 shifts at 16 hours a day,
ter to a network of three facilities mea- can be picked by an associate with a cart 6 days; Saturdays are covered by a four-
suring more than 200,000 square feet rather than one on an orderpicker since day-a-week, 10-hour-a-day specialty shift.
each and using identical systems. the picking process is faster on foot.
Receiving and putaway into stor- Small parts: Newly received product
age: The facility conducts two different is inducted (2) onto a receiving conveyor lane where it is placed in a tote for stor-
receiving (1) processes: One for small (3) and sent to a six-sided scan tunnel age. Totes are then conveyed (5) to the
parts measuring up to 10 inches and and license plate labeling station (4), small parts storage area (6). Associates
another for medium-sized parts (up to 36 which reads the manufacturer’s label and load their carts with items for putaway
inches) and large parts (up to 80 inches). weighs and dimensions the items. After a and are directed to a location by the sys-
Regardless of the size of the part, the Turn 14 Distribution license plate label tem, where they are scanned into a stor-
Turn14 warehouse management system is placed on the product, it is sent to a age location and are available to promise.

22 M a y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
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MODERN system report

Medium and large parts: Larger along the conveyor. When associates
parts are also inducted (7) on a receiving have picked items ready for packaging, System suppliers
conveyor (and go through a scan tunnel). they scan the license plate bar code SYSTEM INTEGRATION, CONVEYOR &
SORTATION: Honeywell Intelligrated
From there, they go to a sliding shoe label, scan a pick drop location and place
RACK & SHELVING: Interlake Mecalux
sorter, which sorts them to storage areas the item on the conveyor system. Small WMS: Turn 14 Distribution
designated for medium-sized parts (8) items are first placed in a tote while non- MOBILE COMPUTING/BAR CODE SCAN-
NING: Zebra and WASP – Linea Pro 5
and large parts (9). For instance, storage conveyables are taken by lift truck to the
racks in the large parts area have been packing area (11), including the putwall, and Datalogic
modified to handle extra-long parts. under the packing sorter (12). LIFT TRUCK: Raymond
PRINT & APPLY: Panther and ID Label
Items are then scanned into a storage Packing and shipping: Items that
location. can be shipped in their packaging are
Parts that cannot be identified are conveyed to a shoe sorter that diverts from there to shipping.
sent to an exceptions processing area them to one of two print-and-apply Totes for multi-line orders are sent to
along the receiving conveyor (3a). lines capable of handling 20 packages a 40-foot-long putwall. Associates using
Picking: The WMS has the ability to a minute. The license plate label is ring scanners scan a tote. Items in the
interleave tasks, directing the associate to scanned and the package passes over tote are then put into a shipping con-
the “smartest task,” or the one that makes a scale to verify the weight before tainer in a cubby location. Once all of the
the most sense based on the associate’s the label is applied. From there two items for an order have been placed in
location and the needs of the facility. other scanners scans the label and the a container, it’s pushed onto a conveyor
For instance, when an associate is done license plate label before the outbound and sent to a manual fill line and then
putting away inventory, the system may sorter (13) determines the right lane to an automatic sealer. From there, the
direct that associate to do cycle counting for shipping (14). order follows the same path to shipping
at one or more locations, or direct the Packaging: Single line orders that as other orders.
associate to a pick location. In all, nine require re-packing are sent to a tradi- Quality control: Regardless of the size
associates use orderpickers along with tional pack station where they are placed of the part, if new merchandise isn’t recog-
associates picking to carts. Pick drop in a new box and labeled. From there, nized by the system, it’s conveyed to a man-
zones (10) are located at various spots they go to the shoe sorter, which diverts ual inspection station. If inspectors can’t
them to the print-and-apply area, and identify they product, they send a picture of
the item to the accounting team to research
and identify the item. This allows the part
to keep moving to the shelves even before
8 Me
m parts
p rts
ag identification is complete.

5 Conveyor-
5 Conveyor inbound, out
9 Large parts storage 6 Small parts
10 storage
3 Receiving conveyor Pick drop
3a Exceptions processing zones
10 Drop zone
4 Small parts 9 for putaway
2 induction
Scan tunnel, Large parts
license plate 1 7 storage Large parts
storage 12 Packing sorter
labeling station Receiving Medium and
large parts Shipping sorter 9
1 Pa
11 P
Packing and putw
induction 13


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Top 20
System Suppliers
Records continue to topple as the industry achieves
robust, global and nearly universal growth.


odern’s 22nd-annual Top 20 Systems Suppliers available hardware and software solutions con-
list showcases the performance of companies tinues to broaden, but whether tried, trusted or
that have spent the previous year working to transformative, solutions must be future-proof
help clients manage staggering change. Some and protect against the guaranteed disruption
spokespeople from companies on this list even that lies ahead.
acknowledged the risks—to themselves and cus-
tomers—of taking on too much too fast. The Top 10
“The Top 20 and many others are so busy, Pulling even further ahead of the pack, Daifuku
they are not bidding on RFPs for large automated retains the No.1 spot after reporting 2018 reve-
systems,” says Norm Saenz, managing director at nues of $4.2 billion, a 14% increase. The growth
St. Onge Co., who adds that spending on auto- follows a 25% increase in 2017 that results in a
mation is not slowing down. “In 2019, the suppli- three-year growth rate of 53%.
ers that can fabricate and integrate the required Stuart Oliphant in Daifuku’s corporate com-
equipment within the approved capital budgets munications department says 2018 sales grew
and expected leads times will continue to domi- steadily as a result of enhanced production
nate the top of the list. Fall behind, and the new capacity in line with robust demand from a range
start-ups and smaller system providers may start of industries including e-commerce and other
to gain more share of the ever-increasing capital distribution sectors, semiconductor, flat-panel
spend on automation.” display (FPD), automotive and airport systems.
For now, there’s not much to complain about. SSI Schaefer Systems International held steady
Following a 16.5% surge in 2017, the list’s com- at No. 2, posting a 5% increase to $3.2 billion.
bined 2018 revenues grew 12%. The scope of “We continue to see both retail and whole-

26 M A Y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
MODERN special report

Top 20 worldwide materials handling system suppliers

Worldwide Worldwide
2018 2017 2017 revenue 2018 revenue Percent change Three-year
Rank Rank Company Website (million USD) (million USD) '17-'18 change Headquarters

1 1 Daifuku Co., Ltd. 3659 4167 13.9% 53% Osaka, Japan

Schaefer Holding
2 2 3060 3217 5.1% 24% Neunkirchen, Germany
International GmbH

3 3 Dematic 2267 2350 3.7% 18% Grand Rapids, Mich.

4 6 1000 1700 70.0% 124% Mason, Ohio

Vanderlande Veghel, The

5 4 1538 1538* 0% 56%
Industries B.V. Netherlands

Murata Machinery,
6 5 1287 1287* 0% 3% Kyoto, Japan

7 11 Knapp AG 643 1050 63.3% 64% Hart bei Graz, Austria

Beumer Group beumergroup.

8 8 900 1000 11.1% 27% Beckum, Germany
GmbH com

9 10 Swisslog AG 915 923 0.9% 34% Buchs, Switzerland

Material Handling
10 N/A N/A 860 N/A N/A Mount Washington, Ky.
Systems (MHS)

TGW Logistics
11 7 742 817 10.1% 56% Wels, Austria
Group GmbH

Witron Logistik +
12 12 635 637 0.3% 59% Parkstein, Germany
Informatik, GmbH

13 14 Kardex AG 425 478 12.5% 26% Zurich, Switzerland

Bastian Solutions, bastiansolutions.

14 16 233 316 35.6% 62% Indianapolis, Ind.
LLC com

15 15 Elettric 80 261 272 4.2% 131% Viano, RE, Italy

System Logistics systemlogistics.

16 20 185 225 21.6% 45% Fiorano, MO, Italy
SpA com

17 17 DMW&H 225 214 -4.9% 61% Fairfield, N.J.

18 19 viastore systems Inc. 152 197 29.6% 41% Stuttgart, Germany

Lödige Industries
19 N/A 192 188 -2.1% N/A Scherfede, Germany

20 18 Stöcklin Logistik AG 153 148 -3.3% N/A Aesch, Switzerland

Source: Modern Materials Handling

* 2018 revenues were not available by press time. M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M ay 2019 27
MODERN special report

sale work toward omni-channel solutions,” says Michael solutions provider Transnorm, which he says expands Honey-
Mohr, executive vice president of sales for SSI Schaefer. well Intelligrated’s solutions portfolio to support distribution
“Manufacturers are also starting to fulfill orders directly to centers and parcel delivery providers globally. In the years since
the consumer with their own e-commerce programs as online Intelligrated placed 15th on the 2009 Top 20 list, it has grown
shopping continues to grow.” by double digits in all but one year. In a 2016 transaction val-
As clients work to lower costs and save on labor, Mohr says ued at $1.5 billion, Honeywell acquired Intelligrated.
enhancements to Schaefer’s warehouse management software After climbing up to fourth place last year, Vanderlande
are providing greater visibility throughout the entire supply Industries was unable to report revenues by press time, so its
chain and operations. 2017 revenues of $1.5 billion have been carried over. The same
Following its acquisition by forklift and logistics leader KION goes for Murata Machinery, whose 2017 revenues are good
Group in late 2016, Dematic is now a supply chain solutions enough for sixth place.
operating unit of KION. The unit includes Dematic as well as Shortly before publication of the 2017 Top 20 list—when
Egemin, an automatic industrial vehicle specialist that previously Vanderlande posted the highest growth rate on that list at
placed 18th on this list and was acquired by KION in 2015. 18%—Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO) acquired the
Dematic again finished third with $2.4 billion in revenue. company. Following TICO’s 2017 acquisition of 16th-place
Growing about 4% year over year, the company has achieved a Bastian Solutions, Vanderlande became the second business
three-year growth rate of 18%. to join TICO’s new business division called Toyota Advanced
Climbing from sixth to fourth, Honeywell Intelligrated’s esti- Logistics Solutions (TALS), which manages North American
mated $1.7 billion in revenues represents a 70% increase. The activities in the area of logistics solutions.
number is based on the $6.3 billion in revenues reported by Knapp’s last taste of the Top 10 was when it secured 10th
Honeywell’s Safety and Productivity Solutions business, 27% of place in 2013. It has now reappeared in seventh, climbing four
which is from the warehouse automation division. ranks after growing more than 60% to cross the billion-dollar
“We saw strong growth in the warehouse automation sector mark with $1.05 billion.
in 2018,” says Pieter Krynauw, president of Honeywell Intel- “Last year was a very good year, and longer-range projections
ligrated. “This was the result of improving the user experience are also very good,” says Kevin Reader, director of marketing
for our customers, introducing efficiencies throughout our sup- and business development. “Knapp continues to grow signifi-
ply chain and continuing to invest in our Connected Distribu- cantly in North America and globally with a three-year, 370%
tion Center offerings.” increase in order intake.”
Krynauw highlighted the November acquisition of conveyor Reader noted strong demand for highly automated warehous-
ing, distribution, fulfillment and e-commerce solutions driven by
Making the list strong consumer demand, labor shortages and an aging workforce

T o qualify for Modern’s Top 20 list, companies must be in the United States. He also emphasized development of solu-
suppliers of materials handling systems, not just equip- tions optimized for the digital supply chain to leverage big data,
ment providers. In addition to manufacturing at least two predictive modeling, analytics and artificial intelligence.
major handling system components, a company must also In February 2018, Knapp acquired Apostore/KHT Group.
employ full-time staff that designs, installs and integrates KHT’s product range includes devices for the weighing and
materials handling systems.
measuring of stock items in warehousing, distribution and
These systems include at least two of the following:
fulfillment operations. Apostore develops automated pick-
transportation devices, storage and staging equipment,
picking units, sortation systems, information management
ing robots for pharmacies and wholesalers and is expected to
systems, data capture technologies and other types of han- complement Knapp’s ongoing expansion into urban fulfillment
dling equipment. and retail operations.
To be considered worldwide suppliers, companies must Retaining in eighth place, Beumer Corp. crossed the $1 billion
have a presence in North America and must also be able to mark for the first time on this list, an 11% improvement. “Last year
report materials handling revenues to Modern. (Lockheed was a very strong, successful year with both order intake and rev-
Martin, for example, is a systems supplier with a North
enue on record level,” says Uwe Kinski, CFO of Beumer Corp.
American presence, but isn’t included in our Top 20 list
Gaining one spot to finish at No. 9, Swisslog reported global
because they can’t single out the revenue that comes from
materials handling contracts.)
revenues of $923 million. According to a representative, the
company is the top integrator of AutoStore, with 130 systems

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MODERN special report

sold, and its CarryPick automated goods- ing our organization around two key another record year in 2018.”
to-person solution is rapidly gaining mar- market segments: e-commerce/retail and Swisslog, which is now fully inte-
ket adoption. Swisslog’s next generation consumer goods,” says Markus Schmidt, grated into the KUKA Group worldwide,
ItemPiQ robotic picking solution was president of Swisslog Logistics Automa- acquired Power Automation Systems
demonstrated at ProMat and is already in tion, Americas. “Strong interest from (PAS) in April 2016. PAS manufactures
pilot operation for several accounts. these segments in our flexible, robotic the PowerStore, a leading pallet shuttle
“We are seeing the benefits of focus- and data-driven solutions resulted in system. Swisslog has also fully integrated
both PAS and Forte Industries, which it
acquired in April 2015 under the Swiss-
log brand.
Rounding out the Top 10 is newcomer
Material Handling Systems (MHS).
Business units include Parcel North
America, Lifecycle Performance Services
and research and development offices in
Mount Washington, Ky., as well as distri-
bution and fulfillment offices in Atlanta.
MHS acquired control system integra-
tor Atronix in November 2017, global
integrator VanRiet in May 2018, materi-
als handling equipment integrator A2i
in July, and sortation specialist OCM in
August 2018.
“The continued transformation of
retail and labor trends push companies
to invest more heavily in supply chain
infrastructure and automation in par-
ticular,” says Tony Mouser, CEO of
Material Handling Systems. “Strategic
investments and acquisitions have come
together to expand our capabilities as
an efficient, single-source partner, while
remaining singularly focused on doing
what’s best for customers.”
For years, this list illustrated decid-
edly top-heavy growth. In recent years,
it shows there is plenty of business for
everyone. In 2017, the combined rev-
enues of the Top 5 totaled $11.5 billion
and comprised 60% of the Top 20’s total
value. The same cohort now stands at
$13 billion, a 12.6% increase. The other
15 companies on the list collectively
grew more than 10%.

Notable performances
Finishing 2018 with $817 million,
TGW’s revenues increased 15% in

30 M a y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G

With speeds of up to 1,000 picks an hour, improved product recognition and multiple gripping modes that
adapt to different products and sizes, our next-generation ItemPiQ makes robotics an option in more places
than ever. And when integrated with the AutoStore robotic storage and retrieval system, it’s a solution
that creates a fully automated goods-to-robot system designed to shorten both pick times and ROI.
MODERN special report

Euros and landed it in 11th place. In addition to increasing its Prieschenk, Witron CEO. “This trend is especially noticeable
research and development budget for the current fiscal year in the logistics area. Information and algorithms play a central
by almost 25%, the company hired nearly 400 people—and is role; data is undoubtedly the decisive resource of the future.”
looking for 400 more. Climbing a rank for the second year in a row, Kardex Group
“We will be continuing on this path in the current (including both its Remstar and Mlog divisions) finishing in
2018/2019 business year, including our focus on robotics and 13th place after 12.6% growth in 2018 revenues, which caps
cognitive systems,” says Harald Schröpf, CEO of the TGW off a three-year growth rate of 26%.
Logistics Group. “Our digital startup initiated in 2018 will pro- “Due to a strong economy, the efforts of our sales and ser-
vide an additional impetus in the area of connected warehous- vice networks and the continued support from Kardex Group,
ing and predictive maintenance.” our growth continued through 2018 and we achieved another
In June of 2018, 700 employees moved to TGW’s new $62 milestone year in our history,” says Mark Dunaway, president of
million headquarters in Upper Austria, and new local offices Kardex Remstar, Americas.
have been opened in Atlanta, Seattle and Paris. U.S. subsidiary After reporting 36% growth to $316 million, Bastian Solutions
TGW Systems acquired a 172,000-square-foot building in jumped up two positions to claim 14th place. In 2018, Bastian
Michigan, and the TGW group now has an international net- Solutions acquired Peach State Integrated Technologies, an
work of 26 offices on three continents. Atlanta-based consulting and integration firm. The company also
Holding 12th place, its highest rank ever on our list, Witron acquired Toyota Material Handling’s autonomous vehicle group
increased revenue by 6.7% from 2017 to 2018 in local cur- in an effort to bring Toyota’s automation business under the
rency, following 15.5% growth the previous year. Witron has Toyota Advanced Logistics Systems umbrella. The company also
added more than 1,000 new staff members in the past four opened its distribution network to more than 60 Toyota dealers.
years, according to a release. “Our company has experienced tremendous growth in our
“The world becomes even more interlinked,” says Helmut integrated system group and Exacta Supply Chain Software

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much more. Kaup’s modular designs and high-quality steel
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32 M A Y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
MODERN special report

brands, and opportunities in the areas of omni-channel and business development manager for viastore. “While maintain-
e-commerce fulfillment continue to be a large percentage of ing this level of percentage growth might be difficult, we fully
our work with new and repeat customers,” says Greg Conner, expect to see excellent growth going forward, as our markets
vice president of international sales at Bastian Solutions. remain strong and our solutions are expanding.”
Two years ago, Elettric 80 just missed this list. It returned last Newcomer Lödige Industries is a family-owned company
year in 15th place, which it has held following 4.2% year-over- turning 70 this year, with about 1,000 employees worldwide.
year growth that contributes to a three-year growth rate of more With a U.S. office in New York and an office supporting an
than 100%. ongoing automotive project in South Carolina, the company
System Logistics SpA reported 2018 revenues of $225 mil- reported 2018 revenues of $188 million.
lion, not including revenues from Modula SpA. The increase of “Our main markets of airports logistics, production logis-
more than 20% was enough to propel the company from 20th to tics and car park solutions have experienced steady growth in
16th place. 2018,” says Philippe De Backer, CEO of Lödige Industries.
DMW&H reported a slight decrease in revenues, which a rep- “There is a noticeable interest in information management soft-
resentative attributed to cyclical change from year to year. “We had ware, as clients look at optimizing operations by analyzing data
slights delays in a few major projects, causing a minor and tempo- generated by materials handling systems.”
rary downturn.” In 17th place, the company had grown by 31% in A newcomer to last year’s list, Stöcklin reported $148 mil-
the previous year, and its three-year growth rate still stands at 60%. lion in revenues to claim the final spot on our list. “Stöcklin
Moving up into 18th place, viastore reported $197 million in continues to see steady growth globally with a healthy backlog,
new orders globally, up 38% from 2017. though 2018 revenue was not as strong as 2017,” says Tony
“We attribute this growth to a very healthy intra-logistics Varda, director of business development. “This was primarily
market, growth within key industry vertical markets, as well as driven by the execution of a couple large projects being delayed
our continuing global expansion,” says Lisa Day marketing and from Q4 ’18 to Q1 ’19.” M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M ay 2019 33
Half_Horz_Bleed.indd 1 5/2/19 2:30 PM
MODERN information management

in the age of
In recent years, enterprise resource planning solutions have lost
some luster, even being called “back office” systems. They’re useful
for financials, procurement and transactions, but can ERP drive
omni-channel fulfillment? The short answer is “yes.”


ince growing out of earlier forms of enterprise systems in the early 1990s,
enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems have become the backbone
business management software for most enterprises. They span functions
including accounting, procurement and, for some ERP vendors, they also
include warehouse management system (WMS) capabilities.
This scope makes ERP software important, but in an era when compa-
nies are seeking competitive advantage with omni-channel fulfillment, is
ERP still business-critical?
The answer might be “no”—at least for legacy ERP deployments used
mainly for back-office processes while e-commerce fulfillment is handled by
best-of-breed solutions for WMS or other functionality such as distributed
order management (DOM).
On the other hand, for ERP solutions that have evolved to include
functionality in areas like WMS, or ERP providers that have aimed from
the get-go at targeting omni-channel environments, ERP remains vital.
When a vendor can blend ERP with e-commerce platforms and WMS, it
can be an appealing combination, says Ray Rebello, director of product

34 M A Y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
marketing for Acumatica, a Cloud-based information and pricing data,” he says. buying extended functionality in areas
ERP vendor. “Making all of that accessible can like supply chain management software,
“You can build an amazing system for require duplicate data entry or custom including WMS. Numerous other ERP
taking e-commerce orders, but the fulfill- integration unless you have a single vendors also offer WMS as an inte-
ment end can fail completely if you’re source of the truth. That’s the beauty grated module.
using older, disconnected systems that of a modern ERP system—everyone ERP vendors have also evolved by
weren’t equipped to handle the fulfill- involved has consistent, accurate infor- offering richer analytics and busi-
ment of online orders in volume,” says mation.” ness intelligence (BI) features and
Rebello. “What is needed is a central updating their architectures for Cloud
system that functions as a single source ERP evolves computing. The result: many ERP
of the truth.” ERP first gained prominence by combin- deployments today are far from being
ERP can be that central platform ing enterprise functions such as finan- outdated legacy systems.
if the vendor has tested integration to cials, manufacturing planning, procure- Acumatica’s solution set, for example,
e-commerce platforms, WMS or store- ment and order entry into one integrated offers both WMS and retail point of sale
level systems on the execution side, suite. Fueled by the rise of relational (POS) applications depending on the
explains Rebello. “Enterprises with databases and client/server architecture, industry needs of the user company, says
omni-channel requirements need to ERP boomed in the 1990s. Rebello. Through integrated systems for
know the details around product avail- Of course, ERP has continued to warehouses and stores, a retailer trying
ability across locations, arrival dates evolve, with many of the larger vendors to support omni-channel gets an inte-
and times for replenishment, product like SAP and Oracle either building or grated view of order data, inventory data M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M AY 2019 35
MODERN information management

Some of today’s ERP solutions have expanded

into DOM and other fulfillment-related functions


• Unified database • System algorithm • Built in, no interfaces • Routing algorithms
from all sources enables DOM
inside ERP • Va
V riety of picking options: • Proof of delivery app
• Multiple warehouses, by order, by item including digital signature
multiple branches • Full optimization and location detection
through API • Fulfills several small
and multiple stores
orders simultaneously • Multi-carrier integration
• Order fulfillment can via ShipEngine
• Post-picking assortment
be split
• Mobile app

Source: Priority Software

and fulfillment processes. “For omni- mation,” Rebello says. companies use these e-commerce front
channel, you want details like product Like numerous other ERP suppliers, ends, says Rebello, so Acumatica uses
descriptions, shipments and inventory Acumatica integrates with third-party application programming interfaces
availability to be available in one place so e-commerce platforms from vendors (API) to integrate to these platforms.
everyone is working with the same infor- such as Magento and Shopify. Many Pretested, API-based integration is

DOM capabilities shine as e-commerce grows

O ne of the main functions of an enterprise resource
planning (ERP) system is order management, although
with multi-channel selling, it may not be an ERP system
where to source it from, and carry through on the fulfillment,
including payment processing and all the returns manage-
ment functions that might be needed.”
that carries out the order orchestration. That’s because DOM excels at figuring out which warehouse or store
more companies are using distributed order management location is best to fill an order from, not only in terms
(DOM) software, a type of order management system adept of inventory availability, but more nuanced factors such
at “sourcing” from the best place to fill orders from, whether as labor availability at the store level to pack orders,
that be a warehouse, a retail store or other options like drop says Brereton, or whether one location has overstock of
shipments or third-party warehouses. an item. Traditional order management systems aren’t
The providers of DOM include vendors such as Manhat- geared toward these granular sourcing decisions, Brere-
tan Associates, Softeon and Deposco, and now Tecsys, ton explains, but such capabilities are becoming neces-
from its November 2018 acquisition of OrderDynamics. In sary “because the path to the consumer involves thou-
addition to DOM, these vendors also offer supply chain sands of tiny consumer-level orders rather than hundreds
execution software including warehouse management sys- of pallet-sized orders.”
tem (WMS) solutions. While not head-on competitors to In the broader retail industry, Brereton sees a “conver-
most ERP vendors, DOM vendors can help companies with gence” between traditional retailing and e-commerce selling
omni-channel fulfillment requirements. as the driving force. Traditional upstream parties like suppli-
DOM solutions are fundamentally different from tradi- ers, brand managers and distributors are caught up in this
tional order management in that they are geared toward fill- trend, says Brereton, and to succeed, they must be nimble
ing small direct-to-consumer orders, explains Peter Brere- when it comes to processes like e-commerce drop shipping
ton, president and CEO of Tecsys. or servicing channels in a more end-to-end manner.
“We’re finding that our traditional client base now needs Meanwhile, established software vendors need to ex-
to directly fill orders for the consumer, either through sales pand into richer e-commerce fulfillment functionality to
from their own Websites, or they need to support their cli- remain relevant, Brereton says. “This is going to be a con-
ents who rely on them to do the fulfillment,” Brereton says. vergence game for the next few years,” says Brereton. “The
“Either way, they need a distributed order management players who figure out this convergence trend and how to
platform that can receive the consumer order, figure out support it are going to be the winners.”

36 M a y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
a must to interoperate in real time
with e-commerce platforms, says Efrat
Nakibly, vice president of marketing
and strategy with Priority Software, a
Cloud-based ERP provider. “Ultimately,
you want sales orders from all channels

o d u c i n g
to go immediately into [ERP] so that
the ‘big picture’ remains in one place,”
says Nakibly.
Priority’s solution set includes a
WMS option to support companies
with distribution operations, as well as
DOM functionality. The vendor also
partners with ShipEngine for integrated
parcel shipping functionality. However,
says Nakibly, it’s the overall flexibility of • IoT for Your Loading Docks
an ERP system, as much as breadth of • Monitor Dock Activity and Analytics
features, that makes for a good solution. • Receive Text and Email Notifications
“The top concern should be how flex-
ible is the system and how easy is it to
grow the system over time,” says Nakibly.
“To help achieve these goals, the system
must be open, using APIs, to integrate
with any third-party system or device.”
Best-of-breed WMS vendors have
in some cases partnered with ERP ven-
dors to provide a pretested integration
between ERP and WMS. This relation-
ship offers advanced WMS without the
integration worries of a typical bolt-on
project, says Carl Marin, global solution
area leader for small to mid-sized busi-
ness (SMB) with HighJump Software, a
WMS provider.
HighJump’s Warehouse Edge, a
Cloud-based WMS, has been pre-inte-
grated to multiple ERP solutions, includ-
ing systems from NetSuite, Microsoft
and Sage. The WMS has capabilities in
areas like order waving, zone picking and
integration to warehouse automation.
HighJump has been offering these inte-
grated solutions for several years, adds
Marin, which appeals to SMBs who see
integration as a risk. “Our intention is
to reduce that risk by packaging up the
integration as a product,” he says.
MODERN information management

Orchestration & analytics vice president for digital logistics and order tionally, SAP has continued to enhance its
Helping companies with omni-channel fulfillment with ERP vendor SAP. Over the order management functionality, in part
challenges has a front-end order aspect years, SAP has enhanced its WMS solu- using e-commerce software from its 2013
to it and a set of downstream fulfillment tion known as eWM, most recently making acquisition of Hybris.
execution activities, both of which need it an “embedded” application to the SAP For some SAP users in retail environ-
software support, says Markus Rosemann, flagship ERP suite, Rosemann says. Addi- ments, Hybris is used as the front-end
e-commerce platform, explains Rose-
mann, though when it comes to order-
sourcing decisions, the Hybris platform communicates with an “Advanced
Available-to-Promise (ATP)” func-
Get to Know Topper Containers! tion in SAP’s ERP system. It is this

They are offered in

many different sizes & Companies mentioned
standard options. The in this article
standard nominal inside • Acumatica
heights are 18” or 24.”
• HighJump Software
• Priority Software
Available add-on options: • SAP
Drop Gate • Skubana
Fixed Hopper Front
Lifting/Crane Lugs • Tecsys
Fork Stirrups
Angle Runners Advanced ATP engine that is the key to
Fork Tubes order sourcing decisions for SAP users,
explains Rosemann, though some SAP
users who use the Hybris platform will
Paint Colors Available: have the Hybris software involved on
Blue, Gray, Black, the front-end of the process.
Green & Teal. In general, adds Rosemann, SAP has
evolved and enhanced its order orches-
tration for omni-channel, as well as
execution functions like WMS. “In the
Custom Sizes are
end, [omni-channel support] is all about
available upon request.
the orchestration of the larger process—
the distributed order management—as
well as fulfillment execution elements,”
says Rosemann.
Analytics is another WMS enhance-
ment focus for SAP, adds Rosemann.
The WMS has a set of key performance
TOPPER INDUSTRIAL / indicators (KPIs) called Warehouse / 800-529-0909 Insights that address issues such as
inventory slotting and labor resource

38 M a y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
MODERN information management

planning. Currently, the KPIs are driven commerce,” says Rubin. form, from a marketplace, from elec-
by more conventional analytics and Acumatica’s Rebello points out that tronic data interchange, phone orders or
optimization techniques, but Rosemann ERP systems are no longer limited to conventional B2B orders. “Wherever the
adds that SAP is looking for opportuni- business-to-business order management. order comes from, it shouldn’t matter to
ties to apply machine learning within The right ERP solution can process and the ERP system—that is the key to
the WMS. fulfill orders from an e-commerce plat- omni-channel support,” says Rebello.
Rosemann believes machine learning’s
ability to uncover patterns in customer
order profiles, order velocity and inven-
tory levels could potentially be harnessed
Workstations that are flexible
to generate recommendations on replen- so humans don’t have to be.
ishment levels, warehouse labor require-
ments or to help support wave-less
picking. “Those are some of the ideas we
have as next steps,” says Rosemann.

New breed ERP

The omni-channel era has also seen the
rise of new types of enterprise systems
focused on omni-channel selling and
fulfillment. For example, Skubana CEO
Chad Rubin says Skubana’s solution can
be considered a “next-generation ERP
system” because it focuses on issues like
multi-site, multi-channel inventory vis-
ibility and a flexible order orchestration
function called “Order Box.”
Such capabilities, says Rubin, help a
company sell and fulfill across multiple
channels, and coordinate inventory posi- At BOSTONtec, we believe it’s better to make the job adjust to the
worker than the other way around.
tions and allocations across their own
sites, with third-party logistics (3PL) After all, a well-designed workplace can make people up to 25%
more productive and reduce health care costs. And if you’re
provider warehouses or with Fulfillment struggling with turnover, consider that talented people are much
by Amazon (FBA) sites and operations. more likely to stick around in a healthy, comfortable environment.
“We’re the new wave,” Rubin says. “We Our workstations adjust to each employee with the simple press of
allow you to operationally run your busi- a button. And while our legal team asked us not to say that they’re
ness any way you want to fulfill.” engineered to last forever, they didn’t say we couldn’t imply it.
Rather than focus on what Rubin Ready for your next generation of workstations? Let’s talk.
calls “old school” ERP functionality like
accounting, Skubana’s focus is on func-
tions like multi-channel order orchestra-
tion. The system also uses intelligent
bots to automate creation of purchase
orders for approval, rather than have
workers create POs from scratch. “We
focus on the core components necessary
to equip your business for modern-day M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M ay 2019 39
MODERN equipment report

Add structure to
your storage goals
Racks are not immune to the constant pressure to adapt, but
alterations can present just as many opportunities for risk as reward.


A s materials handling opera-

tions strive to become more
flexible, they take great pains
to refine processes to avoid operational
risk. Unfortunately, the fear of a sym-
bolic collapse often overshadows the
very real threat of poor, damaged or
insufficient racking. Some operations
might introduce the risk themselves
by removing or altering beams, mixing
new rack with used, or ignoring the
constant buildup of seemingly minor
dings and dents.
Raymond Weber, eastern regional
manager for Steel King Industries,
says the industry has laggards with
old, damaged rack and product stored
helter-skelter, and leaders with robust
enterprise-wide rack standards and com-
pliance programs. But, in the middle sits
the majority of rack users, where a mix
of foresight and frugality has muddied
understanding of their own rack usage.
Pallet flow rack offers great density, but is susceptible to honeycombing, or the “The middle recognizes how rack
emergence of unused lanes that sap efficiency. impacts their operation, but they

40 M a y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
think if it’s still standing the next day
they’re doing a good job,” Weber says.
“As damage adds up and throughput is
limited, they don’t realize they’re cost-
ing themselves money. They buy rack
and it’s ‘one and done.’ They never look
back to improve.”
Others do look back to make changes,
but still fail to improve. Carlos Oliver,
president of Frazier Industrial, says rack
users frequently take it upon themselves
to make drastic alterations in the name
of productivity.
“It’s common to have beams 5 feet
off the floor, then they decide later they It’s a common misconception that racking is like shelving and can be put up, taken
want to double stack,” Oliver says. “So down, moved, sold or altered at any time.
they take that 5-foot beam out and don’t
even know they have made their facility Defining the space provide a denser rack design for bet-
much less safe. What seems to be hap- Olson points to the impact of e-com- ter use of storage space, but Saenz
pening is that customers are not aware merce on rack trends. There’s still recommends considering “the honey-
they should review any changes to shelf plenty of 100% selective rack, but he combing factor.”
beam locations.” notes many in retail segments are being “The denser rack types like drive-
To be fair, rack users aren’t taking supplemented with pick modules for in, pushback and pallet flow have
hacksaws to their uprights, and sellers order fulfillment and e-commerce. An an increased chance for unusable
of used rack are not trying to get away increased amount of automation, picking storage positions within the rack
with anything. The current regula- systems and conveyor systems driven by structure,” Saenz explains. “In any
tory landscape for rack is simply ill- online business has a significant impact rack design, users can’t forget about
defined—for now. Dave Olson, national on rack designs. preventing that lost storage space.”
sales and marketing manager for Ridg- “With e-commerce exploding, people Speaking of prevention, Saenz
U-Rak, says the recent surge in recon- finally recognize that just because they says upright protectors are not used
figuration projects will likely prompt have a warehouse that handles their cur- in enough warehouses to shield rack
more oversight. rent business, they can’t just plug and from lift truck impacts. The result, he
“The used rack market is very loosely play to get into online business,” Oliver says, is many facilities are operating
controlled today, but I don’t see the says. “You need different, all-new facili- with damaged rack and potentially
government backing off,” Olson says. ties for e-commerce.” unsafe conditions. At the other end
“Take the number of things we have to Norm Saenz, managing director at of the uprights, local codes specify
go through to get official approval for a St. Onge Co., says single-deep rack height clearances ranging from 18
new rack system, then compare it to the still dominates the market as the most inches to 38 inches, which can spell
requirements for a used one. It’s fairly flexible rack type. However, he says the difference between fitting one
unpoliced, but that’s changing. There’s two- or three-deep pushback rack is more level of storage.
a lot of movement in the industry to get increasingly popular for many clients, Expensive real estate is driving
our arms around this.” in addition to pallet flow rack two- to demand for taller buildings and rack
four-deep or more. These rack types systems, which are sometimes as M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M ay 2019 41
MODERN equipment report

The regulatory landscape for used racking

is closer to the Wild West than state-of-
the-art, but due diligence can reduce risk.

Seismic shifts
As it turns out, not all flexibility is mar-
ket-driven. The Loma Prieta earthquake
inspired much of the current rack speci-
fications. Originally, in the 1940s and
1950s, rack had been classified as office
furniture, Weber says. Over the years,
rack systems became taller, more sophis-
ticated and more integral to warehousing
and distribution operations.
high as 120 feet. Lift truck makers have “Rack-supported buildings, storage “Now they’re part of the building
steadily increased maximum operating and retrieval with cranes, pallet moles, code, so they are now a more serious
heights in support of the trend, and it’s all exciting because no matter how element of operations, whether or not
automated storage systems make up the product moves, you still have to park people treat it as such, Weber says. I
difference. and store it. You still need rack, which don’t know how long it will take for the
“High-tech is exciting,” Weber says. plays an integral role in automation.” industry to weed out that old school


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MODERN equipment report

thinking, but either they’ll try to stay the maximum loads and maximum beam
competitive or they’ll wake up one day to Companies mentioned level spacing?
see the doors close.” in this article “If you plan ahead to spend 50% more
Because rack is part of the building for the vertical frame, you can recon-
code, Weber says it has to be specifically • Frazier Industrial figure later with a high likelihood you
rated for the site and work profile. Then, • Ridg-U-Rak will not have to tear down that vertical
there is a regulatory curveball. Because frame,” Olson says. “You pay a little more
• Steel King
of the “last known event” provision, the on the front end, but it will buy you a lot
code is immediately updated to reflect • St. Onge Co. of flexibility in years to come.”
any seismic activity in the area. According to Olson, many procure-
“What was good yesterday isn’t today ment people are evaluated on rack they
because there was a nearby earthquake, around the country with ease. buy today without accountability when
however minor,” Weber says. “A 2.2 That’s an extreme form of risk mitiga- the company has to tear it down in 10
quake in Tennessee might be a non-issue tion, but Olson says one of the first steps years. On the other hand, he sees a
operationally, but it changes the code for many companies is to dispel the idea growing number of customers purchasing
and increases the design criteria for any that “rack is shelving. Take it down, put rack with specific plans to reconfigure,
future rack installations in the area.” it up, it’ll be fine.” Users need to think take down or replace it in five years. Or,
As a result, Olson says some retailers about the long term, he says. Are they they might show a three-level pick mod-
with large networks are trying to stan- likely to reconfigure rack at some point? ule in the capital budget, but they’re only
dardize, buying nothing but the top-rated Do they want flexibility so they don’t building one for now.
seismic rack so they can relocate assets have to buy new rack soon? What are Another wildcard has stimulated the M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M ay 2019 43
MODERN equipment report

rack market. Like the entire materials to one year, it has put capex to the top of bang for the buck. Used rack can be a
handling industry, Frazier’s Oliver says, customers’ to-do list.” cost-effective and timely way to expand
rack companies are benefiting tremen- or reconfigure operations, but it can also
dously from the new tax guidelines. A thousand pounds foolish introduce risk. As a consultant, Saenz
“Our sales are up 30% in two years,” With an incentive to spend, many will advises a healthy dose of caution.
Oliver says. “By accelerating depreciation look to the used rack market for the best “Used rack is available but not the
easiest route to take,” he says. “The exact
rack needed can be hard to find and the
quality can be suspect. For basic pallet
rack, it can be an option. For pick mod-
ules and other structural design needs,
new rack is recommended.”
Oliver also emphasizes that well-
meaning companies can quickly find
themselves exposed to risk if they are
not completely thorough. Used rack
might have an engineering stamp on a
theoretical frame design, Oliver says,
meaning it’s accurate on paper. But,
whether or not the actual product is
slightly damaged, somebody other than
a rack engineer is making the decision
on whether it works.
“They purchase the remains of a
10-year-old system, cut the bases off,
paint it, do a lot of customization and get
an engineering stamp,” Oliver says. “To
do it right, the engineer of record should
be looking at the product and separating
good from bad. For each beam, approve it,
request a repair or throw it away. Nobody
is doing that.”
Oliver estimates rack collapses drive
three new customers per year to Frazier.
In addition to damaged or insufficient
rack, common culprits include repair
kits and the commingling of rack prod-
ucts. Guidelines released by the Rack
Manufacturers Institute (RMI) spell
out how to avoid some honest mistakes.
Just because one type of rack looks like
another and is compatible does not mean
it’s interchangeable.
“If you’re dealing with an RMI mem-
ber company, you will get this level of
analysis and support,” Oliver says. “If you
go to Bob’s welding shop, I don’t know
what to tell you.”
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ProMat 2019
ProMat 2019 was the largest in its 34-year history, with registrations
of 49,718—an 11% attendance jump over 2017. The four-day expo
(April 8-11) covered 425,000 net square feet of exhibit space on two
show floors at Chicago’s McCormick Place with 938 exhibiting companies.
Here’s a small glimpse of what our team of editors saw at the show.

Dynamic storage and retrieval solutions at Kardex Remstar

For operations seeking upgrades or new automation solutions, Kardex Remstar
highlighted its cost-effective, dynamic storage and retrieval solutions. Included
are the new LR 35 Vertical Buffer Module and the Shuttle XP Vertical Lift
Module (VLM).
“The LR 35 goods-to-person bin handling solution is ideal for single-part or
small-volume orders,” explained Chelsea Tarr, content marketing specialist. “It
consists of a shelf system with automatic bin handling, picking stations and logis-
tics software, and delivers totes directly to the operator with minimal wait time.”
That functionality, Tarr noted, boosts picking performance while minimizing
energy usage and floor space.
The company also displayed the Shuttle XP VLM with pick-to-light and Power
Pick Global inventory management software leverages vertical space to free up
85% of floor space, she said. Further, the company offered live demos of its new
Chelsea Tarr, content marketing specialist, and
Remote Support platform, with both diagnostics and analytics functionality to Christina Dube, director of marketing for the
increase uptime. Americas, with Kardex Remstar’s LR 35.

Highlights from KION and Dematic press conference

During an executive briefing in Dematic NA’s booth, execu- we’ve created the KION Cloud, a virtual service center that
tives from different branches of the KION Group (Booth provides customers virtually unlimited capacity and flexibil-
S2603) overviewed the latest innovations each showcased ity for collecting and evaluating their data.”
during ProMat. Dematic CEO Hasan Dandashly then overviewed several
The session kicked off with an introduction from KION new Dematic solutions. The MicroFulfillment small footprint
Group chief digital officer Susannah Schneeberger, who order handling solution optimizes speed and accuracy while
highlighted the organization’s longevity and growth, as well as addressing labor shortages. Dandashly also discussed a new
the progress made in integrating the brands together to create reverse logistics solution. “The Dematic Returns Subsystem
synchronized solutions for customers. provides quick credit back to the consumer, flexible and pri-
“There are three mega-trends driving long-lasting changes oritized product inspection, and fast re-instatement of items
in the way goods and materials are handled: energy, auto- to inventory for re-sale within 24 hours,” he said.
mation and digitization,” she said. “Among the many tools Finally, he introduced Dematic iQ Virtual, a new software
we’re providing to help customers understand and improve module that provides a digital twin simulation and emulation
overall effectiveness of equipment, labor and automation, platform creating a digital environment for safe viewing of po-

46 M a y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
tential operational changes without negatively affecting day-to-day operations.
Concluding remarks from Vincent Halma, KION North America CEO,
highlighted a new, dual-use hybrid very-narrow-aisle (VNA) Linde forklift that
leverages a Dematic automation kit for autonomous or manual operation.
Halma also unveiled six new models of Linde Class II and III forklifts—in-
cluding a walkie rider, reach trucks, orderpickers and walk-behind stackers.
“We are also displaying the Dematic Sprocket asset management system that
Ken Ruehrdanz, manager of the distribution systems
allows the trucks to communicate when maintenance is needed, reducing market for Dematic, showed light-directed picking in a
downtime,” he said. MicroFulfillment center.

Toyota returned to ProMat with advanced logistics solutions

Toyota Material Handling showcased
Toyota showcased lift trucks as well as other
Toyota Advanced Logistics Solutions advanced materials handling solutions.
(TALS), a business unit formed in
2017. So far, TALS has acquired inte- ment of goods through the supply chain.
grators Bastian Solutions and Vander- “We want to go from being the world’s
lande, who had solutions on display in largest forklift manufacturer to being
neighboring booths. the world’s largest material handler,”
“We’re still all-in when it comes to Rufener said.
manufacturing forklifts, but we’re now TMH has also launched MyToyota
on a big journey to provide lots of solutions,” said Tom Lego, Store, an e-commerce portal with more than 600,000 parts
national manager of training and the Customer Center for for forklifts and other materials handling equipment for pur-
Toyota Material Handling (TMH). chase online. The online resource is intended to accommo-
Jeff Rufener, president and CEO of TMH, said equip- date the next generation of materials handling professionals
ment for handling pallets is just one part of the move- and to ensure customer uptime.

Honeywell Intelligrated showed robotic

sorter induction system system
In a press conference, Honeywell Intelligrated’s Matt Wicks, VP of product development,
discussed several new robotic solutions, including a robotic sorter induction system.
“By utilizing a robotic arm that handles a variety of package sizes and types—including
boxes, polybags and jiffy bags—the new sorter induction system streamlines labor operations
and improves productivity while allowing distribution centers to reallocate staff,” said Wicks.
The system is modular and scalable, and easily retrofits into existing induction sta-
tions, he added. Honeywell Intelligrated’s Matt Wicks,
VP of product development, with the
“Intelligent algorithms, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI)—developed new robotic sorter induction solution.
in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University—enable the robot to improve its own
performance over time. It also offers label detection and automatic reorientation,” Wicks added, noting that the system is built
on the Honeywell Universal Robotic controller, which allows the robots to “see better, think smarter and act faster.” M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M AY 2019 47
ProMat 2019

Handheld from Zebra reads marks up to 70 feet away

Zebra Technologies announced the release of its latest prise mobile computing. “With more than 3.2 million MC9000
MC9000 series enterprise-class mobile computer: the ultra- mobile computers sold since 2003, we’ve made it even better
rugged, Android-based MC9300. The new device helps by providing an easy migration path from Windows to Android
businesses keep up with growing along with 20 new features and improved ergonomics.”
e-commerce demands. White said the MC9300 improves fulfillment speed and
“It’s our most powerful handheld accuracy—and boosts productivity by as much as 10%
platform on our best-selling device,” over other devices—because it reads direct part marks and
said Joe White VP and GM of enter- captures bar codes in virtually any condition from distances
Mark Wheeler, director of supply chain of 3 inches to 70 feet. “It’s ideal for inventory management,
solutions with Zebra Technologies, receiving/putaway, crossdocking and quality control appli-
explained the benefits of the company’s
new Android-based MC9300. cations,” he added.

Rite-Hite’s dock safety system now an aftermarket retrofit

Key components of the Rite-Vu Hazard Rylee Moder of Rite-Hite pointed out some of the
company’s Rite-Vu Hazard Recognition System
Recognition System from Rite-Hite components at the booth display.
Products Corp. are now offered as an
aftermarket retrofit—or as stand-alone view of vehicle restraint/rear-impact-guard
equipment—for any loading dock. (RIG) engagement.
Previously, the multi-sensory safety “Even if an operation’s docks aren’t out-
alerts were only available with specific fitted with a Rite-Hite Dok-Lok, leveler or
Rite-Hite products, said Chad Dillavou, control system, facility managers can now
product manager. implement our budget-friendly safety alert
The retrofit devices include Approach- products incrementally and strategically
Vu, a drive approach visual and audible warning system; to optimize safety,” Dillavou said. “One loading dock accident
Pedestrian-Vu, an interior dock warning system; and Lok-Vu, is too many; this offering is part of our mission to enhance
an external camera that gives employees inside a real-time industrial safety worldwide.”

Sliding dunnage system displayed at ORBIS

ORBIS Corp. featured a new bulk packaging dunnage layers to remove at the assembly line, and more can be
system for handling large, bulky automotive parts that purchased to create additional layers. The system comes in
incorporates frame, rails and hanging fabric bags that slide. sizes ranging from 48 x 45 inches to 78 x 48 inches.
The AdjustaPak system fits into a standard BulkPak contain-
er and can be removed and reconfigured to accommodate
different heights and bag configurations, explained Sean
Momsen, market manager.
“Packaging needs are rapidly evolving in the automotive in-
dustry due to faster vehicle lifecycles and the growing amount
of part SKUs,” he said. “This dunnage system delivers hassle-
free versatility and allows automotive supply chains to more
easily handle quick turns, diverse parts and multiple uses.”
The fabric bags are oriented vertically so there are no ORBIS featured the AdjustaPak, a new sliding dunnage system, in its booth.

48 M A Y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
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ProMat 2019

Raymond debuted automated intralogistics solutions

To further optimize, connect and automate warehouses and DCs, The Raymond Corp.
highlighted its newest intralogistics solutions, which include a complete line of intelligent
warehouse, materials handling and facility solutions on display in two booths.
“Together, these industry-leading solutions help optimize a customer’s entire opera-
tion, create productivity, inspire insights through connectivity and transform operations
through automation,” said Mike Field, CEO.
Field pointed out the new Courier 3030 stacker automated lift truck, which combines
vision technology with a 72-inch vertical capability. “This truck answers an industry
need to automate end-of-line and pick-up/drop-off applications,” he said, noting that the
vehicle’s reverse motion and auto-engagement features optimize workflow and increase
The Raymond Corp. president Mike
productivity. “These functions help streamline crossdocking, transporting and sorting by Field and the Courier 3030 stacker
automating pick-to-delivery capabilities.” behind him.

Knapp announced new mobile robot, partnerships

Karen Multer, from Knapp’s marketing department, outlined new
Knapp showcased its new OSR Shuttle Evo+, a products, partnerships and projects.
flexible, scalable and reliable autonomous mobile
robotics solution. Knapp announced it has undertaken the
Knapp’s redPilot software technology was the biggest project in the company’s history: a 2.2
winner for MHI’s Top IT Innovation Award. As million-square-foot distribution center for
a control tower for warehousing and distribu- Minnesota-based Digi-Key Electronics. The sys-
tion, redPilot plans and optimizes warehouse and tem will use more than 1,000 shuttles for a total
distribution resources for senior supply chain storage capacity of 2.7 million SKUs.
managers and their operations teams. By managing Big Knapp and Takeoff Technologies also highlighted the
Data, predictive modeling and analytics, IoT and artificial latest developments in the partnership they announced two
intelligence, the software helped EDEKA, a $57 billion years ago. A $150-million, 50-site order will include a series
grocer, to optimize 5,500 employees and seven major of hyper-local micro fulfillment centers designed to fulfill at
distribution centers. least $1 billion in annual e-commerce sales.

Beumer Group’s new cross-belt line sorter

Beumer Group’s new BG Line Sorter has been engineered to be more cost effective
than previous high-speed cross-belt sorters, explained Peter Wisniewski, marketing
content specialist.
“It uses less steel than before, as well as has a new tray configuration that replaces con-
ventional discharge mechanisms with cross-belts,” he said, noting that each installation uses
standardized modules in flexible configurations to accommodate the frequent changes in cus-
tomer and market demands. That modularity also contributes to shorter commissioning times.
“Additionally, we’re helping users better ascertain changes in demand with a real-time
analytics control center that helps to optimize order flow,” Wisniewski added. “Further,
to help keep customers up and running, we’re showcasing our new smart glasses solution
Beumer Group’s Peter Wisniewski,
marketing content specialist. for daily maintenance and support.”

50 M A Y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
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ProMat 2019

Zero-touch robotic pocket sorter at TGW Systems

Ideal for e-commerce and omni-channel retail order fulfillment and returns, TGW Systems
debuted the OmniPick zero-touch robotic pocket sorter. It leverages artificial intelligence and
smart robotics for automatic loading and unloading, said Andy Lockhart, VP of sales. “The
system’s flexibility and scalability allow it to adapt to changing business channels and shifting
inventory mix and volumes,” he said.
In operation, individual items—shoes, clothing, electronics, toys or cosmetics—are induct-
ed into the pockets after unloading by an intelligent gantry robot (or manually). Pockets with
inventory then travel to dynamic buffering for storage. When required for store or individual
customers, the items are sequenced from matrix sorters. Picks are automatically consolidated
and emptied from the pockets into shipping containers or automated baggers.
“OmniPick also handles garments on hangers and buffers returns for order fulfillment without Andy Lockhart, TGW’s VP of sales, on the
robotic induction side of the company’s
extra handling,” added Raffaele Destro, industry manager for fashion and apparel. OmniPick.

Choose from multiple Yale lift trucks, power options

Yale Materials Handling Corp. explored its full lineup of power tions available across a complete range of lift trucks,” explained
options offered across its comprehensive range of lift trucks in Steven LaFevers, VP of motive power and telematics. “This
a press conference. provides customers with a solution built solely around their
“Yale’s Power Suite offers the broadest choice of power op- unique operational requirements, rather than forcing them to

Mixed Case Palletizing and

Depalletizing Showcased
at ProMat Booth #S3918
Show attendees were excited to see the demo of ccS’ new line
of industrial-grade robotic cells. With advanced technology to
allow fully-automated palletizing and depalletizing of mixed case
products, they’re the perfect application for the individualized
custom orders of e-commerce distribution centers.
• Fully-automated palletizing and depalletizing solutions of
Contact us today to learn how you can mixed case products.
reduce costs, increase productivity • Reliable, precise, and shortened cycle times ensure profitability.
and outperform the competition!
• Selective picking/placement allows versatility and efficiency for
best pallet density.
• Higher density means less storage space, reduced shipping costs.
• custom software for configuration of an endless array of options
and applications.
• Vision system technology ensures precise, reliable removal of
mixed cases from pallet.

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M A Y 2 0 1 9 / MODERN M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
1 4/24/2019 5:15:50 PM
ProMat 2019
adapt to manufacturer constraints.” Gijo George, industry
Included in the Power Suite line up are: hydrogen fuel cells that refuel as quick- business unit director
of food and beverage
ly as 3 minutes and deliver consistent power until depletion; lithium-ion batter- at Hyster-Yale Group,
ies for simple opportunity charging with no battery maintenance and dependable described Yale’s first
dual-mode pantograph
power; lead-acid batteries with low initial acquisition costs; and internal combus- reach truck.
tion engines delivering consistent, high power in the toughest applications.

Voxware launched 2019 voice management suite

Voxware, a leading provider of Cloud-based voice and analytic supply chain solutions, announced
the general availability of Voxware Voice Management Suite (VMS) 2019.
With the addition of containerization support, VMS 2019 now provides full support to all
workflows in the distribution center, from receiving to put-away to packing.
“We’re taking the next step in leveraging voice technology to cover every process in the DC,” said
Keith Phillips, president and CEO of Voxware. “Analytics then helps manage not just the warehouse,
but the entire supply chain to create truly optimized operations.”
Voxware also showcased the capabilities of its augmented reality (AR) technology in three
Keith Phillips, president and
CEO of Voxware, illustrated
sample scenarios: kit assembly, order picking and order packing. Voxware also hosted an edu-
how voice, VR and analytics cational seminar featuring Dawn Fritche, director of operations for Haggar Clothing Co. titled
optimize processes
throughout the DC.
“Priority #1 – How to Master the Omnichannel Experience.”


» Maximum Scalability
» Dynamic Goods Transport
» Cold Stores Approved
» Compact RAIL CART Design
» Inductive Power Supply

DAMBACH Lagersysteme GmbH & Co. KG Hardrain 1, 76476 Bischweier, Germany

Tel.: +49 (0) 7222 9660-0
ProMat 2019
Semi-automated sealer for bubble mailers at Sealed Air
Offered through a rental program to help small-parcel interior with a paper exterior. After in-
shippers quickly scale up or down to accommodate peak serting the item in a mailer, an operator
seasons, Sealed Air’s Jeff Potts, global executive director of places the open end into a side-opening
marketing, e-commerce and fulfillment, showed off the new on the machine, which then automati-
Jiffylite Auto sealer. cally seals it in less than a second.
“It’s intended to help small-parcel shippers looking for “The product is completely sur-
an entry-level approach to increasing throughput when Sealed Air’s Jeff Potts
rounded by the packaging for better
sealing our Jiffylite bubble mailers,” Potts explained. “It demonstrated the Jiffylite product protection than fold-over
Auto sealer, targeted to
weighs about 40 pounds, so it’s easy to move from one small parcel shippers.
seals—which also create waste and
pack station to another.” require more manual handling,”
Easy-to-use, the machine uses heat and even pressure to seal continued Potts. “It’s also tamper-evident, as the seal must be
the open end of the mailer, which combines a Bubble Wrap destroyed to access the contents.”

Lucas highlighted machine learning’s potential

Lucas Systems highlighted machine learning technology at based software capabilities, Krishna Venkatasamy, chief
a seminar in the Emerging Technologies & Sustainability technology officer (CTO) for Lucas Systems, said during a
Theater on the show floor. The provider of mobile work ex- booth visit.
ecution solutions also is working on new machine-learning The capabilities aren’t analytics in the sense of having

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54 M A Y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
ProMat 2019
to dig through reports, explained Venkatasamy, but rather specific areas of a warehouse operation given an amount of
a “machine learning-based recommendation engine” that work that needs to be executed. The idea is to harness ma-
can come up with specific actions to take in areas such as chine learning to detect patterns and come up with quickly
short-term labor planning, or how to improve slotting. The reviewable recommendations.
engine has yet to be named but will be Cloud-based. The seminar was co-led by Venkatasamy and was titled,
Venkatasamy said machine learning is well suited to ac- “Getting Started with AI and Machine Learning to Improve
curately predicting how much workforce will be needed for Warehouse Management.”

UniCarriers announced partnership with Rocla AGV

To offer advanced automatic guided vehicle (AGV) solutions to the Americas, UniCar-
riers Americas Corp. recently partnered with Rocla, a Finland-based materials handling
solutions provider.
Officially announced on March 28, the partnership will allow UniCarriers—as well as its
new initiative, UniCarriers Systems Solutions—to have access to a wider range of materials
handling services and solutions, two particular benefits the company discussed at the show.
“Rocla AGV solutions cover various low-lift and high-lift applications, such as counter-
balance, fork over, narrow aisle and straddle,” said Brian Markison, senior director of sales Brian Markison, senior director of
sales and marketing for UniCarriers
and marketing for UniCarriers Americas Corp. “By incorporating these solutions into their Americas Corp., with Oskari Lindstedt,
operations, our customers will notice a significant increase in efficiency and productivity.” sales director of Rocla AGV.

Creform ® carts, along with Creform AGVs enhance mixed-model
production. Production today means handling a wide variety
of parts and delivering them repeatedly to the assembly line or station.
Whether supporting small batches or one-piece-flow, carts pulled by
Creform AGVs meet the challenge to deliver those components and kits to
the assembly point in sequence and on-time. Creform, the lineside mixologist.


AGVs WITH KIT CARTS w w w. c r e f o r m . c o m • 8 0 0 - 8 3 9 - 8 8 2 3

CRE-472 7x4.625.indd 1 M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M A 3/26/19 55
Y 2 0 110:58
9 AM

Annual Automation Survey:

More automation, please
Modern’s 2019 automation survey proves that more warehouses
and DCs than ever are interested and investing in automated
materials handling equipment.


A s robots, automated equipment, artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced technologies contin-
ue to make their way into the world’s warehouses and DCs, the number of companies using them
is also proliferating. Driven by the need to manage high-velocity operations with limited labor resources
while meeting the ever-changing needs of their customers, more companies are looking to automation to
help them solve their most pressing fulfillment problems.
Modern’s 2019 “Usage and Implementation of Warehouse and DC Automation Solutions” survey more
than proves this point and paints a picture of a distribution landscape that’s ripe for innovation. Conduct-
ed by Peerless Research Group on behalf of Modern, the survey assessed usage and purchase intentions
for automation systems and solutions being used in warehouses and DCs.
When evaluating such systems, companies say their top priorities are durability, reliability and uptime
(90%); support/service response time (82%); total cost of ownership (TCO), return on investment (ROI)
and maintenance costs (81%); and integration and compatibility with existing equipment (72%). Other
key considerations are parts availability, risk of obsolescence, purchase price and warranty program.
Asked about the automation they currently have in place, 42% of respondents have either fully or

56 M A Y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
partially automated conveyance, while How important are each of the following when evaluating
38% have fully or partially done so automation systems and solutions for possible purchase?
with their labeling operations. Other
functions that have been automated Durability/Reliability/Uptime 90% 10%

include reporting (57%), replenishment

Support/Service response time 82% 16% 2%
(35%) and packaging (23%). Over the
next two years, 61% of companies want Total cost of ownership/
81% 19%
to improve their warehouse capacity ROI/Maintenance costs

utilization, 59% their picking effi- Integration/Compatibility

72% 25% 3%
existing equipment
ciency, and 55% are interested in better
Parts availability/
order accuracy. Other areas ready for 68% 30% 2%
Risk of obsolescence
improvement include labor reduction,
throughput and packaging. Purchase price 62% 36% 2%

Warranty program 55% 43% 2%

Picking and packaging
In describing their order fulfillment
Scalability 46% 50% 4%
operations (picking and packaging),
survey respondents say 49% of those Solutions are turn-key 45% 49% 6%
activities are mostly or completely
Relationship/Past experience
manual, while 42% use a mix of auto- 41% 45% 14%
with vendor, provider
mated and manual processes. Just 4%
of companies consider their fulfillment 38% 56% 6%
Leading edge solutions
operations to be “highly automated.” Green/Environmentally
22% 66% 12%
The highest percentage of order friendly/Energy efficiency
fulfillment activities (79%) are used for
warehousing and storage, with 58% be- Very important Somewhat important Not at all important
ing used for individual picking, packing
Source: Peerless Research Group (PRG)
and shipping in wholesale distribution
fulfillment. When asked which order How would you best describe your order fulfillment
fulfillment activities they’d like to en- operations (picking and packaging)?
hance over the next two years, compa-
nies point to full and mixed pallet load
Highly automated 4%
fulfillment (59%); individual picking,
packing and shipping in wholesale A mix of automated
and manual processes 42%
distribution fulfillment (57%); and case
and mixed-use fulfillment (57%). Mostly or all manual 49%
Of the conventional equipment
Not applicable 5%
currently in use, 93% of companies
use racks and shelving; 92% rely on
Source: Peerless Research Group (PRG)
lift trucks; 83% use dock equipment;
and 74% rely on palletizers, pallets/ using conveyor and sortation systems to carousels and vertical lifts); and 20%
totes, bins and containers. According automate their facilities, while 55% rely rely on automated packaging solutions.
to Modern’s survey, companies plan to on weighing, cubing and dimensioning Over the next 24 months, 57% of
upgrade existing or implement new lift equipment. Thirty-three percent use companies plan to shop around for
trucks (58%); racks and shelving (47%); goods-to-person picking solutions (i.e., conveyor and sortation systems, while
and dock equipment (47%) over the donor totes delivered to workstations); 55% want automated packaging solu-
next 24 months. 22% use automated storage (mini-loads, tions and 50% will invest in robotics
Right now, 63% of companies are automated storage and retrieval systems, for picking. Fifty-percent are inter- M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M ay 2019 57
MODERN special report

What conventional equipment is presently in use in your organization

and which will you be upgrading or implementing during the next 24 months?
93% 92% Lift trucks 58%
Racks and shelving 47%

Dock equipment 47%

Palletizers, pallets/totes, 42%
bins, containers

Hoists, cranes, 31%

Racks and Lift trucks Dock Palletizers, Hoists,
and monorails
shelving equipment pallets/totes, cranes, and
bins, containers monorails
Source: Peerless Research Group (PRG)

ested in mobile collaborative robots, Choosing wisely software in the next two years, most
47% in shuttle systems/mobile robotic Of the companies that are planning are looking to fill orders faster to meet
storage, and 47% in robotics that are to evaluate or buy automated materi- customer service level agreements and
used for palletizing. als handling equipment, technology or expectations. Other investments are



Wire Shelving

Aigner Label Holder Corp.
58 M A Y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
MODERN special report

being driven by faster e-commerce The rules shift somewhat for ics makers could offer leasing options
order piece picking and packing, and operations that have to manage high similar to those traditionally used by
some companies see automated options seasonal peaks and other significant forklift suppliers. This finds the robotics
as a way to deal with the persistent order volume fluctuations. A company manufacturers keeping a bevy of robots
labor shortage. whose peak week experiences eight on-hand and ready to lease as needed,
Bryan Jensen, chairman and execu- times the volume of its average week, and for a price that’s lower than the
tive vice president at St. Onge Co., says for example, may need eight times the equipment’s purchase price. This also
he’s also seeing healthy levels of interest automation investment. A firm that benefits the robot manufacturer, which
in warehouse automation right now, usually has 100 full-time equivalents can lease the equipment out multiple
with the tight labor market as a key working in the DC year-round, for times “and make significantly more than
driver. “If you’re in a distribution opera- example, could need up to 800 to ef- if it just sold them,” says Jensen.
tion that is level-loaded and doesn’t have fectively manage those peaks—but only
large seasonal, inter-week, inter-month for a very short period every Decem- Data collection, execution &
or inter-quarter peaks, automation can ber. “If that company buys automated management
be very effective in justifying itself equipment to supplant half of that Data collection technologies continue
through labor reduction,” says Jenson. 800-person workforce,” Jensen points to hold an important place in today’s
“The more expensive labor gets relative out, “it’s going to be far too expensive warehouses, where 86% of companies
to automation’s prices not going up, the and won’t pay back.” are using bar code scanners, 74% rely
more effective that automation is at To help companies overcome this on mobile/wireless technologies, and
reducing labor and paying for itself.” issue, some automation and robot- 26% use RFID. Twenty-three percent

Your distribution center W E ’R E AT

needs _____________________ .
a. to retain skilled labor OF O UR
b. to increase throughput
c. to use resources efficiently
d. to maintain high safety standards F OR A
e. Big Ass Fans for all of the above R E A S ON.

Miss us at PROMAT 2019 ? It ’s not

too l ate to ge t the show specials!
B I G A S S FA N S .C O M | 8 6 6 . 3 92 . 4 6 4 0 M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M AY 2019 59
MODERN special report

of firms use voice-directed and 21% What automated equipment is presently in use
rely on pick- or put-to-light picking in your organization and which will you be upgrading
technologies. The highest percentage or implementing during the next 24 months?
(60%) of companies plan to upgrade IN USE
or implement pick- or put-to-light Conveyor and sortation systems 63%
picking technologies over the next
two years, followed by mobile/wireless Weighing, cubing and dimensioning equipment 55%

(56%), bar code (55%), RFID (49%) or Goods-to-person picking solutions

(donor totes are delivered to a worksation)
heads-up display/vision technologies
Automated storage including, mini-loads, AS/RS,
(49%) carousels and vertical lifts
When asked about the supply chain
Automated packaging solutions 20%
execution (SCE) systems they current-
ly have in place, 80% of respondents Shuttle systems and/or mobile robotic storage and
retrieval systems, such as OPEX
are using warehouse management
systems (WMS), 38% use transporta- Automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) 15%

tion management systems (TMS), 33%

Robotics–palletizing 15%
have implemented labor management
systems (LMS), and an equal percent- A-frame picking technologies 10%
age rely on warehouse control software
(WCS). Other types of SCE software Pocket sortation 10%

currently in use include computerized

Robotics–picking 8%
maintenance management systems
(CMMS), slotting software and yard Robotics–mobile collaborative robotics 5%
management systems (YMS).
The companies that want to up-
Conveyor and sortation systems 57%
grade existing or implement new SCE
software in the next two years have their Automated packaging solutions 55%
sights set on WMS (56%), WCS (43%),
YMS (43%), TMS (41%) and warehouse Robotics–picking 50%

execution systems (41%).

Robotics–mobile collaborative robotics 50%
On the supply chain management
(SCM) side of the software equation, Shuttle systems and/or mobile robotic storage
and retrieval systems
the biggest percentage of companies
(52%) are currently using enterprise Robotics–palletizing 47%

resource planning (ERP) systems, Automated storage including, AS/RS, mini-loads,

while 51% are using customer rela- carousels and vertical lifts
tionship management (CRM) and 47% Weighing, cubing and dimensioning equipment 45%
rely on order management systems
(OMS). Other SCM solutions in use Automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) 43%

are network design and optimization Goods-to-person picking solutions

software (24%); distributed order (donor totes are delivered to a worksation)
management (24%); and supply chain A-frame picking technologies 35%
planning (22%).
Respondents who want to upgrade Pocket sortation 32%

existing or implement new SCM soft-

Source: Peerless Research Group (PRG)

60 M A Y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
ed .
ag ory
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MODERN special report

What data collection technologies are presently in use in your organization

and which will you be upgrading or implementing during the next 24 months?
Pick- or put-to-light
Bar code scanners 86% 60%
picking technologies
Mobile/wireless 74% Mobile/wireless 56%
technologies technologies

RFID 26% Bar code scanners 55%

Voice-directed 23% RFID 49%

picking technologies
Pick- or put-to-light 21% Heads-up display/ 49%
picking technologies vision technologies
Heads-up display/ 6%
Voice-directed 44%
vision technologies picking technologies
Source: Peerless Research Group (PRG)

ware in the next two years are consider- $100,000 for such solutions. Looking About the survey participants
ing ERP (64%), supply chain planning ahead to 2020, respondents said their Thirty-three percent of this year’s survey
(48%), network design and optimization investments will either stay the same respondents are running warehouses
software (48%), OMS (42%) and CRM (40%) or increase (33%). that are more than 250,000 square feet,
(35%). When purchasing order fulfill- while the average facility size across
When procuring replacement or ment solutions, 71% of companies buy all respondents was 148,375 square
spare parts for their equipment, the directly from the manufacturer of those feet. These facilities either serve as
majority of companies (73%) buy direct solutions while 70% get them from warehouses or DCs (36%), corporate
from the manufacturer or from its distributor/dealers. Another 44% work headquarters (32%) or manufacturing
Website. Sixty-two percent of firms get with systems integrators that manage plants (19%). Each of these facilities
the parts from a distributor and 28% the acquisition process and the integra- has an average of 612 employees, with
buy direct from a systems integrator. tion. Asked about future purchases, 60% the majority of respondents (51%) work-
To handle the repair and maintenance plan to go direct, 55% will work with ing for companies that have less than
of the automated materials handling an integrator and 42% will buy from a 100 workers.
equipment, 66% of companies rely distributor/dealer. The average annual revenues for
on an internal maintenance crew, To companies that are evaluating these firms was $917 million, with 28%
41% have service contracts with their warehouse automation, Jensen says working for firms with less than $10 mil-
OEMs, and 34% set up service con- to look for solutions that are proven lion in revenues and 10% at companies
tracts with third parties. within those firms’ specific business with more than $5 billion in revenues.
profiles. “Every operation is unique,” The top manufacturing industries
What are they spending? he points out. “The needs of a direct- represented included food, beverage,
In 2019, most companies will spend ei- to-consumer grocery operation are go- and tobacco; industrial machinery;
ther $100,000 to $499,999 or $1 million ing to be very different from the needs textiles and apparel; paper/printing;
to $2.49 million on materials handling of an apparel operation, particularly computers and electronics; and plastics
equipment and solutions (an equal 20% around the warehousing environ- and rubber (among others). On the
of readers replied for each of these two ment itself, the number of SKUs, non-manufacturing side, respondents
categories). Twelve-percent of firms and the number of lines per order. work for business/consulting services,
plan to spend more than $5 million, These should all be factored into the retail, wholesale, and third-party
while 32% expect to allocate less than decision-making process.” logistics providers (3PLs).

62 M A Y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
April 8-11, 2019

Aigner Label Holder Corp. AutoStore

Organize Your Vertical Wire Posts with

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Bastian Solutions Beckhoff Automation

Goods-to-Robot Order Fulfillment

Robotic bin picking combined with automated storage & retrieval

Bastian Solutions integrates cutting-edge vision

components with its flexible and robust
End of Arm Tool (EoAT) designs to create robotic
picking solutions ideal for goods-to-robot operations.

• Improves picking accuracy
• Picking rates up to 400 units per hour
• 24/7 operation for improved productivity
• Quick programming for newly introduced SKUs

Bastian Solutions

Big Ass Fans BOSTONtec

Workstations that are flexible

so humans don’t have to be.
IN THE FIGHT Each year, employers report nearly 600,000 injuries caused
AGAINST by repetitive motions with a cost of over $20 billion annually.

EXTREME HEAT, At BOSTONtec, we believe it’s better

to make the job adjust to the worker
SIZE MATTERS than the other way around.

A well-designed workplace can make

people up to 25% more productive
and reduce health care costs.
Let’s talk. • 866.392.4640
Ergonomic Workstations

64 M Materials
US_PT_Modern A Y 2 0Handling_3.25x2.5_0419.indd
1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E 1 R I A L S H A N D L I N4/24/19
G 10:59 AM
SHOW WRAP UP April 8-11, 2019

Carter Control Systems Cubic Designs Inc. Booth 00

Equipment, controls and software

for material handling and industrial automation
• Turnkey material handling
and industrial automation systems
• Custom designed & manufactured
• Engineering and design service CUS TO M PR E - M A N U FAC T U R E D PL ATFO R M S

• Controls and software development Running out of space? Consider a Cubic Designs mezzanine
• Electrical panel design and build to make the most of your existing space. Increase capacity and

• Assembly and wiring streamline operations without sacrificing time or money.

• In-house testing and documentation
• 3D simulation and modeling PROFESSIONALLY

• 24/7 technical support

Carbon Steel PE-Stamped Powder Quick & Easy
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Upgrade your space today!
5487 S. Westridge Drive • New Berlin, WI 53151 • 800-826-7061 •

201905mmh_CCS_showcase.indd 1 4/24/2019 4:16:21 PM

Dematic EuroSort Inc.

The EuroSort Cross Tray Sorter

The EuroSort Cross Tray sorter is an industry disruptive technology
aimed at addressing the shortcomings of other high-speed
unit sorters for non-conveyable,
fragile, and lightweight items.
Using a mechanical positive
divert that can sort both left
and right and a simple and
reliable divert mechanism
that avoids expensive motors

in the carriers, the Cross-Tray
sorter can sort previously
unsortable items at throughputs

Convert them to “sale-ready” of up to 9,600 items/hour.

EuroSort Inc
Experience the Dematic Returns Solution and 410-656-2101
discover how returned merchandise becomes
sale-ready in 24 hours.
Visit Accuracy, Reliability, Simplicity, Range of Product

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NOW AVAILABLE Synchronized

Lift Truck Solutions
That Get You in Gear.



• Storage space / cupholders behind operator
• Full suspension seat standard
• Split pedal layout with independent brake and
inching pedals is standard
Operational KION North America Corporation
• 3 yearApril 8-11, 2019
/ 6000 hour Standard warranty
exceeds most competitors
• Extended service intervals 500 hour
2450 West 5th North Street
Summerville, SC 29483
Phone: 843.875.8000
• High residual capacityIntelligrated
(full capacity ID Label Inc.

7 KION Group Booth S1603 SCRAPING!
Connect. New
Linde Series 1319 Removable
Main features and benefits: Warehouse
Functional / Technologyy

• Wet disc brakes (maintenance free)
• Ford 2.5L LPG fuel injected engine
• Fully suspended Linde Steer axle Clean Release™ rack
• New Display with integrated diagnostics and shelf labels adhere
Ergonomics tightly to virtually any surface but are easy to

• Storage space / cupholders behind operator remove and reposition – even years later.
• Full theseat
suspension digital
For more information, please
visit Quickly relabel bay and bin
• Split pedal layout with independent brake or call 1.866.936.7300. locations to accommodate REQUEST
and The
inching Connected
pedals is standard SAMPLES
KION North America Corporation product inventory changes

Distribution Center. or reconfigurations.
• 3 year / 6000 hour Standard warranty 2450 West 5th North Street When We Do the Barcodes,
You Can Do More
exceeds most competitors Summerville, SC 29483 Learn why Clean Release™ was a finalist
• Extended service intervals 500 hour Phone: 843.875.8000
© 2019 Honeywell International, Inc.
All rights reserved.
for the 2018 MHI Innovation Award.
• High residual capacity (full capacity up
to 185” with Triplex mast)

11353-Connected_DC_Overview_MMH_3.25x2.5.indd 1 mmh201903_IDlabel_prmatShowcsR1.indd
4/19/19 2:22 PM 1 2/12/2019 10:00:22 AM
Lenze Americas OE Attachments
3 Lenze Americas Booth S1831
Lenze Americas, based in Uxbridge, MA, is a subsidiary
of Lenze SE in Germany, a global leader in industrial
automation systems. As a manufacturer of electrical and
mechanical drives, motion control and automation technol-
ogy, Lenze’s solutions are found in many material handling
applications: roller and belt conveyors, rotary and scissor
lift tables, lifting stations, palletizing systems, storage and
retrieval units, monorail overhead conveyors and AGV
systems. Our drive and automation solutions guarantee OEA-Kaup’s Telescopic Forks
a smooth connection to any upstream or downstream OEA-Kaup’s Telescopic Forks enable
system—steady or dynamic, lifting or lowering, moving or the stacking of palletized goods to
positioning—increasing the productivity of your logistic systems. the opposite side of trucks or in
double-deep racks. The hydraulic
synchronization of the forks
Lenze Americas ensures they are 100%
508-278-9100 aligned each time they’re extended.
913.599.9040 |

OPEX Corporation PFlow Industries Inc.

2/1/17 12:19 PM


With solutions on 5 of the 7
continents, PFlow is proud to be the

Pick. Sort. Save. industry leader in vertical lifts.

Since our inception, PFlow has
worked at building a talented
Our technologies work together to network of dealers, resellers and
MOVE INVENTORY installers to meet the needs of end
users all over the globe. It’s why we
MORE EFFICIENTLY. have successfully sold more than
18,000 lifts world-wide and remain
the best choice for safety and reliability in lifting.
As seen at
PFlow Industries Inc.

66 M A Y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
SHOW WRAP UP April 8-11, 2019

PalletRackAd.qxp_Layout 1 4/23/19 11:30 AM Page 1

Raymond Corporation Ridg-U-Rak

CONNECT. Pallet Rack Storage Systems

Experience intelligent warehouse
technology solutions that will help your
business Run Better, Manage Smarter.



Steel King Industries Swisslog

Steel Guard – Tested Tougher!

Next-Generation ItemPiQ
Protecting your people, product, and
facility from collisions is one of the Swisslog’s ItemPiQ is redesigned
best investments you can make. with new robotic technology
and an intelligent vision system
In 1986, we set out to design the to offer higher pick rates and
toughest guard rail system in
the industry. After more than machine-learning capabilities
40,000 installations, no other that make it easier than ever
brand exceeds the rugged to implement robotic picking
design Steel Guard. in the warehouse.
Steel Guard unit shown:
42” tall unit with two levels
of three-ribbed rails.
Steel King Industries
Phone: 800.826.0203

Systems Inc. Topper Industrial

IoT For Your Mother Daughter Cart Delivery Solutions

Designed & Built by Topper Industrial.
Loading Docks Topper Industrial specializes in the
engineering, design & manufacturing
Facilities with loading dock of Industrial Delivery Carts and Cart
equipment from brands of Systems Systems. As a leader in the industry,
(Poweramp, McGuire, and DLM) Topper will have various custom-built
can now monitor their loading dock delivery cart types on display in booth for
activity and efficiency online with demonstration & discussion. Topper Industrial is very proud of the
iDock™ Connect, a web-based Walk Through, Wheels on the Ground Mother / Daughter Cart
software for loading dock analytics. System. It is patented under US Patent No. 10,093,334.
Ask for a demo today! It will be showcased at ProMat 2019 with various daughter cart
applications at ProMat 2019 in Chicago at booth S4812.
Topper Industrial
Systems, LLC Material Handling Equipment Solutions
800-643-5424 800.529.0909 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M AY 2019 67
April 8-11, 2019

Van der Graaf Yale Materials Handling Corp.


Break Free with forward-thinking solutions
The VDG drum motor design houses the electric motor, gear reducer
designed to put your operation ahead of the game.
and bearings inside the hermetically sealed drum,
to drive belt conveyors for all types of
With a challenging labor market,
material and bulk handling applications. e-commerce pressures and the
advance of new technologies,
Newly developed IntelliDrive™ design supply chains are changing faster
drum motor incorporates permanent than ever. At ProMat 2019, Yale
magnet motor technology with integrated offered the game-changing new
VFD, simplifies belt speed selection, end rider truck, connected solutions,
yields up to 72% electrical savings compared
Materials Handling - 2019 CONVEYOR-TABLE -- Ad # 2 - Rev 2
to external motor/gearbox conveyor drive.
cutting-edge robotics and the
broadest range of power options to
2 col (4-5/8”) x 2”
disrupt the status quo and help 4-color Classified
• No external moving components future-proof your operation.
• Eliminates maintenance schedules
Run: • Reduces energy consumption Yale Materials Handling Corporation
• Improves operator safety 1400 Sullivan Drive, Greenville, NC 27834
(252)-931-5747 • • (888) 326-1476

ER 2019
ER 2019
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68 M A Y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
FOCUS ON AGVs and Mobile Robots

Autonomous mobile
robot offered in
two sizes
The Freight500 and Freight1500
autonomous mobile robots
can handle large and palletized
loads. The Freight500 handles
cases and small pallets up to
1,100 pounds; the Freight1500
handles traditional palletized
payloads up to 3,300 pounds. Both feature an ultra-low profile for easy
Collaborative mobile robotic
loading and modular integration, corner-mounted LiDAR and 3D cameras
solution interfaces with put wall
for zero-blindspot sensor coverage, a 360-degree LED light strip for maxi-
Built with Chuck collaborative mobile robots, the
mum visibility from all angles, and fast charging up to 90% within an hour.
new Mobile Sort put wall solution enables opera-
Fetch Robotics,
tors to intelligently pick and sort batch totes to
discrete orders. The system consists of smart
kiosks, put-to-light walls and validation sensors Robot-based, goods-to-person sortation system
that work with the supplier’s Cloud-based software To support flexible automation, a new, robotic-
and the robots. Associates are directed by the based sortation system comprises modular compo-
robot to pick batches into totes; upon comple- nents to deliver higher throughput per unit area,
tion the Chucks autonomously shuttle the totes to improving space utilization and reducing operating
take-off locations where they are unloaded onto costs. The artificial intelligence-enabled robotics
a mobile rack. The mobile racks are then paired system can be easily scaled, making it more invest-
with a mobile kiosk where an associate completes ment friendly and usable for a range of applica-
the sort of items into discrete cubbies, directed tions across retail and logistics industries. It can
by product images, lights and proximity sensors be deployed as a goods-to-person system and is
to validate the task. The entire process—batching, directed in real-time by the GreyMatter warehouse
picking and sorting—is managed with a simplified execution system, which uses AI and machine learning to provide granu-
warehouse management system integration. lar control and visibility across warehouse processes to flexibly adapt the
6 River Systems, system’s movement to address changes. GreyOrange,

Handle heavy payloads with Robotic pallet stacker

autonomous mobile robot features autonomous
The new MiR1000 a collaborative and autonomous pallet finding
mobile robot automatically picks up, transports and The Max N10 modular mobile robot
delivers pallets and other heavy loads up to 2,200 platform has been expanded with
pounds through dynamic environments. Offered a new configuration: The Max N10
as a safe and flexible alternative to forklifts on the Pallet Stacker automated counterbal-
factory floor, each vehicle is outfitted with scan- anced lift truck. The vehicle is engi-
ners, proximity sensors and cameras to ensure safe neered without outriggers for space
collaboration with employees, avoid objects and savings and automatically picks and places pallets or racks from the floor
navigate smoothly. The vehicles easily integrate level, trailer decks, conveyors or racks up to 5-feet high. Standard payload
into existing operations without requiring changes capacity is 1,770 pounds, while a high capacity version handles up to 2,650
to the factory floor. Equipped with pallet lifts (for pounds. With a smart pallet finding capability, the vehicle can pick pallets
U.S. and European pallet dimensions) and additional that have been displaced from their last known location. Vehicle sensors
racks, each can be up and running almost imme- will identify the pallet, its location and orientation, then dynamically re-plan
diately. Controlled from an intuitive interface on a a travel path for a successful pick. Compliant with ANSI safety standards
smart phone, tablet or PC, the robot can be further with non-contact collision avoidance for forward and reverse travel, the
integrated with different top modules such as pallet vehicle uses natural feature navigation. Each functions under the supervi-
forks, conveyors, a robot arm or other options to sion of the SurePath Fleet Controller, which allocates the optimum vehicle
support a range of applications. Mobile Industrial to a transport task and dynamically plans its path for the fastest delivery.
Robots, AutoGuide Mobile Robots, M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M ay 2019 69
FOCUS ON AGVs and Mobile Robots

Compact straddle Counterbalanced AGV

fork AGV ideal for handles heavy, palletized
pallet delivery payloads
Ideal for pallet delivery, Engineered with a heavier coun-
the Compact Straddle ter weight that allows it to handle
Fork automatic guided heavy, palletized payloads, a new
vehicle lifts loads up counterbalanced automatic guided
to 3,600 pounds to a vehicle has a load capacity of 3,968
maximum lift height of pounds and a fork height limit of
66 inches. The straddle 72 inches. The vehicle, offered as a
configuration has support replacement for traditional forklifts
legs outside the load to and pallet jacks, includes a touch
provide better support screen panel that gives real-time vehicle status and diagnostics,
for heavier and taller payload like racks, while customized stack lights give quick identification of the
pallets and rolls. The straddles also allow vehicle’s status. Safety features include a blue LED directional spot-
closed format pallets to be handled and light, front and side safety-rated laser bumpers, look down sensors
provide improved stability for higher lifts. to prevent and blind spots, LED directional lighting, warning sirens,
Using laser navigation and laser safety soft stops for controlled stops and e-stops. Battery powered and
sensing, the vehicle meets or exceeds requiring minimal charge time, the vehicle works continuously.
ANSI B56.5 specification for AGVs. Transbotics,

Autonomous pallet handling

with self-driving pallet jack
A new, self-driving pallet jack includes
HIGH autonomous pallet identification, lifting

and pickup. Enhanced onboard software
ensures faster, smoother pickups across
a variety of pallets and goods—including
pallets with bottom boards and partial
pallets. Other highlights include the
supplier’s proprietary Autonomy Stack
that instills vehicle independence with
dynamic obstacle avoidance, topological
reasoning, local decision making, high-
confidence navigation, and self-learning
capabilities. By enabling the pallet jack to
learn new skills as it works through differ-
ent demand levels, seasonal needs and
market changes, the vehicle continuously
improves its function to maximize pro-
ductivity. Vecna Robotics,

Thombert 93 Shore A durometer DYALON® “A” wheels and

tires deliver the best durability on the market for electric lift
truck applications. We help you win with less downtime, lower
maintenance costs, and the best lifetime values. Heavy loads.
Longer life. More value. 800-433-3572

70 M A Y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G
FOCUS ON AGVs and Mobile Robots

Robust automatic tugger provides Optimize picking,

efficient transport material movement
Robust and powerful, a new automated tugger auto- with autonomous
matically couples and uncouples from a broad range mobile robot
of trolleys and A new autonomous mobile robot
different trailer is built on a standard base vehicle
couplings. This outfitted with a choice of attach-
enables flexible ments. The self-navigating robot
and repetitive is ideal for materials movement
automatic trans- and picking assistance, perform-
port of goods ing repetitive work such as han-
throughout an dling and transporting totes and cartons so operators can focus on
operation. In picking and sorting orders. It maneuvers with natural feature navigation,
curves, the model using 2D laser scanning of fixed points within the environment to map
performs a turn- its path. For materials movement, the robot is outfitted with a motor-
ing radius of 3.94 driven roller conveyor attachment on top for smooth transfer from
feet, maximizing and optimizing turning space within a fixed conveyor to other points within a facility. To aid in picking, a light-
facility. The vehicle automatically connects to a charging directed picking attachment carries multiple totes or shipping cartons;
station to recharge its battery without manual interven- an operator in a picking zone places items in the totes, then sends the
tion. It moves at speeds up to 4.9 feet per second and unit on to another zone until all picks are complete. The robot then navi-
comes in models that accommodate loads from 1 to 3 gates to a sortation area for order fulfillment. Matthews Automation
tons. Grenzebach, Solutions,

The material matters in material handling


wash. Drain. Dry.

without parts transfer
• Ideal for cleaning, storing and inventorying parts
• 1/3 the cost of stainless steel wire baskets
• Impervious to most cutting oils and mild acids
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w 42000 CFM & Covers 8000 ft2
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FOCUS ON AGVs and Mobile Robots

Automated lift Self-driving tow tractor

truck learns up to incorporates rear-facing
25 miles of routes obstacle detection
The versatile 3030 stacker sensors
automated lift truck com- The GT10 Series 6 Plus self-driving
bines advanced vision tow tractor uses rear-facing sen-
technology with lift truck sors to detect obstacles while
proficiency to automate autonomously hitching to carts. This
end of line and pick-up/ new vehicle offers fully automated
drop-off activities. In addi- material movement from pick-up
tion to a vertical height to drop-off, removing the need for
of 72 inches, the vehicle can learn up to 25 miles human assistance to complete tasks
of routes that can be programmed and repro- and allowing companies to deploy
grammed for immediate redeployment. Ideal for employees to more value-added roles. Engineered to handle loads
handling and transporting goods between con- up to 10,000 pounds at autonomous speeds up to 4 miles per hour,
nected manufacturing and warehouse facilities, the vehicle operates in manual and driverless modes. Standard
the truck helps to decrease downtime when prod- safety features include a primary personnel detection system and
ucts are not moving, while its reverse motion and a secondary object detection system, as well as emergency stop
auto-engagement functions optimize workflow buttons, LED lightbar, turn signals and an acoustic warning system.
and increase productivity. The Raymond Corp., Seegrid,

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FOCUS ON AGVs and Mobile Robots

Reach 30-feet heights and into double-

deep storage with robotic reach truck
To maximize vertical storage space and accommodate
inventory growth driven by e-commerce, a new autono-
mous robotic reach truck is capable of depositing and
retrieving pallet loads from locations as high as 30 feet and
reaching into double-deep storage. It uses a combination
of sensors and 3D cameras for maximum precision and
effectiveness at higher-level storage locations. Maneuvering Custom AGV handles transport of pressurized
along its path with infrastructure- fuel cylinders during manufacturing
free navigation technology (which Engineered to replace a manual cart and boost handling efficien-
requires no installation of wires, cies, a custom, bi-directional automatic guided vehicle transports
magnets or tape) each vehicle uses large pressure fuel cylinders between five assembly and two fin-
existing structural features like ishing stations during manufacturing. Features include a cradle
walls, pillars or racking for naviga- lined with plastic to avoid cylinder damage—resting on an 8.2 x
tion. This enables easy route adjust- 3.28-foot steel frame—to hold and position the load. The cradle’s
ment and faster startup at reduced locking pin rises automatically to ensure the its position during
cost. When necessary, operators transport. Electrically powered 100-degree rotation travel stops in
can switch the robotic reach truck three positions: load, transport and unload. All loading is operator
to manual mode to handle excess initiated and route-directed with the use of a human-machine inter-
volume or other unexpected face screen to ensure safe handling; unloading is automatic. The
demands. Yale Materials Handling vehicle follows a peel and stick magnetic tape guidepath to ensure
Corp., accurate and repeatable tracking. Creform,

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1-800-295-5510 M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / M AY 2019 73
mmh201703_Durabelt_qtr.indd 1 2/27/2017 10:36:25 AM
MODERN 60 Seconds with...
Knott: There are a
Bryan Knott and lot of variables to a
Crystal Parrott successful robotic-
centric solution in

MHI this segment. We

aren’t manipulating
TITLES: Chair and vice chair, The a single item, con-
Robotics Group (TRG), MHI sistently and repeat-
Knott is the logistics solutions busi- edly with accuracy
ness manager for ABB. Parrott as they do in manu-
is vice president of the Robotics
facturing. So, we
Center of Excellence for Dematic.
have to combine
LOCATION: Charlotte, NC
vision, artificial intel-
dling industry. We organized a small ligence and other technologies with
Modern: Robotics is often news exploratory group and it led to more the articulated arm to sense the high
today in warehousing and distri- than 50 interested companies. variability and act in a more autono-
bution. Yet, robots have been in mous way. The pilots are important
manufacturing for decades. What Modern: Given that there are other because once complete and proven
has changed and why now? robotics industry associations and successful they are replicated and
Knott: Robotics are showing up in organizations, how will your group deployed many times over within the
the warehouse for many of the same differentiate itself? What are the same facility.
reasons they were adopted in manu- areas you’ll concentrate on? And, Parrott: One of the key barriers
facturing. Lack of labor availability is what areas will you leave to those is the amount of available data on
becoming a strong driver as well as other organizations? the reliability of this technology in
for reasons of worker safety, includ- Parrott: There are many great orga- warehousing environments. Those
ing ergonomic concerns and highly nizations that address robotics. For that are using it aren’t really shar-
repetitive and mundane actions. instance, RIA, which is now part of A3, ing their success stories, so there
Parrott: In addition to the labor issue, is a leader. That organization has done is a hesitancy to be the first. The
technology has advanced to the point great things in standards and certi- logistics space is extremely com-
that incorporating robots in semi- fication programs as well as training petitive and there hasn’t been the
structured and unstructured environ- programs relative to the use of robot- driving mandate to automate until
ments is now possible through the use ics for all industries. Rather than dupli- the explosion of e-commerce com-
of advanced vision solutions, motion cate their efforts, our group plans to bined with the increasing shortage
planners and gripping techniques. focus on propagating the use of the of labor. To expand now, companies
Previously, they were constrained to advanced materials handling technol- need to adopt automation with the
fixed environments. ogy that benefits the logistics space understanding that it will continue to
for the benefit of the industry. improve with operation.
Modern: The Robotics Group is a
new industry group for MHI. How Modern: One of the topics that Modern: For those who want to
did it come about? came up for discussion at a meet- learn more, who should get involved
Knott: This has been a two-plus-year ing of this group at the MHI annual with The Robotics Group and who
effort. We wanted to create a group meeting was: What are the barri- do they contact to learn more?
of OEMs, integrators and technology ers to adoption, or why are we in Knott: You can visit The Robotics
providers that would advocate for perpetual pilots? What do the two Group page on There you
best practices and educate end users of you think is holding back the can find contact information for Pat
about the benefit of robotic-centric broader adoption of robotics in Davidson, the MHI executive working
applications in the materials han- our space? with the group.

74 M a y 2 0 1 9 / M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G

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