Winners announced in 2023 IFOY awards

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by Emily Atkins

Jungheinrich, Agilox, Crown, DS Automotion, Hunic and Still accepted International Intralogistics and Forklift Truck of the Year (IFOY) awards this week in Germany.

They were chosen by a jury from among 21 companies competing in the 2023 IFOYs. The award honours the most innovative intralogistics products and solutions of the year.

Decisions are based on a three-stage audit – consisting of the IFOY test protocol comprising around 80 criteria, the scientific IFOY Innovation Check, and the jury test. The decisive factor is that the nominees are not compared with each other, but with their competitor devices on the market.

Jungheinrich took home two prizes. It won in the “Special of the Year” category with its “addedVIEW fork camera”. The fully digital fork camera with barcode scanning reduces storage and retrieval errors. It prevents incorrectly recorded goods or storage locations in the Warehouse Management System (WMS) and thus unplanned search times, returns or loss of goods.

The camera reads barcodes directly at the storage location, compares them with the specifications of the WMS and marks correct and incorrect compartments in colour as the vehicle passes. Acknowledgement is made at the steering wheel. Although the individual technologies are not new in themselves, “the combination in this exemplary implementation is to be regarded as highly innovative”, according to the jury’s verdict.

Jungheinrich also took home the win in the “Intralogistics Robot” category withh its PowerCube. In this automated compact tote storage system, access is possible from below, allowing for easier maintenance and variable ceiling heights. The jury highlighted several innovations, including the tote loading weight of 50 kilograms and a quick-charge function for round-the-clock operation of the robots without downtime.

Intralogistics supplier STILL won one of the coveted awards for the EXH 16 in the ‘Warehouse Truck lowlifter’ category. The truck is part of the EXH 14-20 Plus series – hand-guided lowlifters and derivatives with additional lift for order-picking applications. The compact design together with the new functional tiller head and the resulting improvements in terms of operation and driving characteristics are classified as “undoubtedly new” by the IFOY Innovation Check. The EXH thus shows that innovations have not yet found their end in this vehicle class.

Agilox took home the award in the category “Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV/AMR)”, with the Agilox ODM. The omnidirectional dolly mover is a smart logistics robot for small load carriers. The floor dolly autonomously finds the fastest route through the production or logistics environment. Among other things, the jury highlighted the autonomous functions for avoiding obstacles on the route very positively.

Crown won the award in the category “Warehouse Truck highlifter” with the SP 1500 order picking truck, which scored points for performance, efficiency and ergonomics. The IFOY jurors emphasized the “unique ergonomics with very many configuration options developed from studies directly at customers’ premises”. They also highlighted “the use in different aisle widths, a unique individually adjustable operation as well as the excellent field of vision”.

In the “Intralogistics Software” category, DS Automotion took home a trophy for its ARCOS vehicle software. The IT makes it possible for the first time to have AGV and AMR fleets drive variably zone-based between fixed lane guidance, lane guidance with flexible avoidance as well as free navigation with a single flexible vehicle software (plannable autonomy). According to the jury, in combination with cooperative navigation, which enables the robots to take coordinated evasive action, the manufacturer offers a very efficient solution that can also integrate vehicles from other manufacturers via the VDA 5050 interface.

A total of five young companies competed for an award in the “Start-up of the Year” category this year. In the close race, Hunic convinced the jurors in the end with the SoftExo Lift. The passive exoskeleton is an extremely lightweight yet effective lifting and carrying aid. Skilled workers are supported by up to 21 percent when lifting and carrying loads. In addition, incorrect movements are pointed out to the user. According to the jurors, the great innovative leap lies in the exoskeleton’s design exclusively from elastic materials.