Finalists named in IFOY awards

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by Emily Atkins

The International Intralogistics and Forktruck of the Year (IFOY) organization has announced the finalists for the 2023 awards.

Among a total of 39 applicants, 23 intralogistics providers from seven countries made it to the finals with 25 products and solutions, including seven start-ups. They will compete in the IFOY audit at the end of March, which will again take place in Dortmund, Germany.

“The audit of the IFOY finalists promises a spectacular setting this year. With their selection, the jury has lined up the best of the best in intralogistics. They show where the journey of intralogistics is heading in the future: classic warehouse technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated, quick commerce, robotics and AI are making their way into logistics, and innovative details are making warehouse life more efficient, easier and more productive,” said Anita Würmser, Chairperson of the IFOY jury.

She expects a tough discussion in the jury sessions for the seven winner trophies, which will be awarded in summer in Dortmund.

Intralogistics specialists AGILOX, Combilift, Continental, Crown, DS Automotion, HIKROBOT, IdentPro, Jungheinrich, Kemaro, Libiao Robotics, Mobile Easykey, NIMMSTA, Raymond, STILL, Volume Lagersysteme, and Youibot Robotics want to win one of the trophies.

Among the startups, the finalists are 1MRobotics, Chemovator (Loady), ff Fördersysteme, HUNIC, Predimo, Sentics and sereact.

Five warehouse trucks nominated

The jury sent a total of five manually operated warehouse trucks to the finals, three in the highlifter category and two in the lowlifters.

The Aisle-Master OP from Irish forklift specialist Combilift, with a lift height of 12.1 meters and a load capacity of two tons, combines the advantages of a narrow-aisle forklift and an order picker. The forklift shows its strength in the high-performance segment as well as in narrow aisles, for rack delivery and bulk order picking. The combi device can also be used as a conventional forklift truck with rubber tires for indoor and outdoor applications, such as loading and unloading trucks.

The brand new SP 1500 from US supplier Crown wins an IFOY nomination even before its official market launch. The completely redesigned order picker with a reach height of 11.2 meters and load capacities of up to 1.25 tons has been optimized in terms of all-round visibility, performance and speeds. With its ergonomic operator area and numerous innovative details, it is aimed not only at traditional order picking but above all at the requirements of retail and e-commerce.

Two final places can be secured by the Hamburg intralogistics specialist STILL. The PXV vertical order picker from STILL convinced the jury with its gripping height of 14.5 meters. Equipped with numerous safety and comfort features, a person on the 1.5 ton highlifter can reliably pick loads in both wide and narrow aisles thanks to its compact and variable vehicle dimensions.

The jury also gave the green light to the maneuverable pedestrian pallet truck EHX 16 from STILL. With a load capacity of 1.6 tons, the lowlifter is particularly suitable for truck transport and last-mile applications. Advantageously, the lift truck features a unique tiller head with integrated display for intuitive handling. With an integrated lithium-ion battery, the shorter dimension means there is more room.

In the final of the lowlifter category also is US manufacturer Raymond with its 8910 End Rider Pallet Truck. The rugged 3.63-ton capacity pallet truck was designed with a focus on energy efficiency and can be tailored to a variety of applications, including cold storage, wharves, loading and unloading, or long trips to handling centers. It also promises numerous options for better ergonomics and more productivity.

Four nominations for AGVs and AMRs

The bandwidth of IFOY applicants is traditionally large and very international in the field of automated guided vehicles (AGVs), which for some years now have not only come from the intralogistics sector. This time, four suppliers made it to the finals.

The new AGILOX ODM, short for omnidirectional dolly mover, from Austrian supplier AGILOX is an intelligent logistics robot for small load carriers weighing up to 300 kilograms. It does not require any additional infrastructure or navigation aids, can turn while stationary and allows parallel driving. The first vehicle is implemented in less than twelve hours, each additional one in just 15 minutes. The core target group is the pharmaceutical and electronics industries.

The AMR IL 1200 from Continental Automotive Technologies is designed for use in warehouses or logistics centers as well as production logistics with heavy pallets, such as those found in the automotive and metalworking industries. With its integrated lifting system and various body options, the AMR IL 1200 transports pallets weighing up to 1.2 tons at a speed of two meters per second.

The F4-1000C Forklift Mobile Robot from Chinese manufacturer HIKROBOT, with a load capacity of one ton, is an alternative to conventional warehouse forklifts and, with its positioning accuracy, is particularly suitable for 24/7 use in extremely narrow aisles and for material handling in the automotive, manufacturing and consumer electronics industries. Under the control of the in-house Robotic Control System (RCS), the F4-1000C works in tandem with other vehicles.

Also from China is the Automatic Trolley AT100 of Youibot Robotics, consisting of the brand-new AT100 AMR assistance picking robot and the YOUIFleet fleet management system. The intuitive combination of AMR and batch picking trolley for loads up to 100 kilograms manages a speed of 1.5 meters per second and was developed specifically for sorting and picking tasks in existing infrastructures as well as for workflows of retailers and 3PLs.

Three intralogistics robots in the final

The three automated warehouse systems in the Intralogistics Robot category offer a strong starting field.

The automated, ultra-compact and scalable PowerCube compact warehouse system from Hamburg-based intralogistics company Jungheinrich adapts to almost any infrastructure and container dimensions. It can be used 24/7 across all industries and promises four times the storage density of shelf racking at room heights of up to 12 metres. The powerful lithium-ion shuttles can simultaneously pick up two 50-kilogram containers and load on the fly.

In the Airrob container handling robotic system from Chinese manufacturer Libiao Robotics, the robots can “climb” up the shelves and store, pick, sort and move plastic containers weighing up to 35 kilograms. The simple and cost-effective solution is particularly suitable for micro-fulfilment centers or warehouses on a production line. Airrob focuses on e-commerce, footwear, apparel, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and production parts storage.

Volume DIVE from Volume Lagersysteme is a sophisticated robotics-based storage and picking system for heights up to 14 meters. The robot can pick and deliver totes at any position without a lifter. Standard euro containers are stored as well as beverage crates, which may also be used outside the system. Although DIVE was developed for quick commerce, it is also an alternative to energy-intensive miniload applications. Throughput can be scaled up to 4000 containers per hour. In the smallest version, Volume DIVE takes up only 16 square meters.

Three nominations for intralogistics software

The jury nominated a total of three solutions in the Intralogistics Software category.

The Industrial Truck Key Performance Indicator (FFZ-KPI) developed by Mobile Easykey, as a component of the software, enables the determination of a manufacturer-neutral fleet efficiency of the intralogistics fleet with only one key figure and a visual traffic light system. The basis of the FFZ-KPI is the OEE key figure for the overall equipment effectiveness of immobile equipment. The FFZ-KPI adds further calculation parameters to the OEE, making the key figure for moving equipment calculable for the first time.

With the vehicle software ARCOS, the Austrian supplier DS AUTOMOTION enables devices to be used either as Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) or Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR). With the help of so-called “plannable autonomy”, the advantages of both technologies are combined. The user can use autonomous functions specifically where they bring advantages and prevent them where the disadvantages predominate.

The Warehouse Execution System from IdentPro promises up to 30 percent higher productivity. It uses IoT sensors on the vehicles to make all warehouse processes visible in the digital twin in real time (RTLS). The digitization solution, which can be used indoors and outdoors, achieves centimeter-precise localization (+/-10 cm) of goods and vehicles, collaborative use of autonomous and manned industrial trucks, and smart distribution of driving orders.

Three specials of the year in the final

Three products are competing in the special of the year category.

The Light Tags of NIMMSTA are a new pick-by-light approach that promises up to 80 percent more efficiency without integration effort. The intelligence is in the Industrial Smart Watch, which the worker wears on his body. In the NIMMSTA app, a storage location is assigned once to each light tag, to which it is simply attached with an adhesive strip. When the worker approaches, the Smart Watch and Light Tag light up in the same color and pattern.

The world’s first fully autonomous K900 dry-cleaning robot from Swiss supplier Kemaro can save 70 percent of cleaning costs, which amounts to more than US$ 37,000 per year in a logistics company covering around 10,000 square meters. The compact robots with integrated dust extraction system navigate with the help of lidar and 3-D sensors and clean even the toughest industrial dirt. Their specialty is large indoor spaces.

Stacking, scanning and transferring results to any WMS in one can be done by addedVIEW fork camera with barcode scanning function of Jungheinrich. The digital full HD fork tine camera with integrated image processing software for barcode scanning detects whether the correct or incorrect barcode is located in front of the tine, even at great heights, as it passes by. An acknowledgement button near the steering wheel eliminates the need for hand scanners and makes unnecessary unstacking of incorrect goods a thing of the past.

Seven start-ups in the final

In the usual broad-based start-up category, the jury sent seven finalists into the final.

The Israeli tech company 1MRobotics gets the green light with its nano fulfilment center of the same name for the last mile in omnichannel retailing. The modular robotic darkstores are delivered worldwide in standard containers and are ready for immediate use. The business model is based on operational costs. Well-known companies are already relying on the technology.

The young German start-up ff Fördersysteme solves a ubiquitous storage problem with its patented 3D conveyor and drive system. The 3D chain adapts to the space and not vice versa. Whether it’s curves, ramps, elevators or inclines, different tasks can be solved in one track, eliminating the need for modular conveyor systems and saving space, but also opening up architectural possibilities. An application would be curved escalators, for example.

A return on investment (ROI) of six months is promised by AI software for autonomous pick-and-place robotics sereact of the supplier sereact. Picking processes that have already been trained in simulation can thus be transferred to new, unknown scenarios and integrated into existing warehouse management systems within one day without robot programming or time-consuming teach-in.

Munich-based startup Sentics enters the final IFOY round with the first optical, AI-based real-time localization system ORTLS for industrial applications. Infrastructure sensors, which only need to be installed once in the industrial environment, detect and localize objects such as forklifts, people or machines and make this information available to fleet managers, as well as autonomous transport vehicles.

ComputerMyoGraphie by Predimo is a final tool for evaluating workplaces in terms of ergonomics and process efficiency. With the help of cloud-based software and 17 IoT sensors over clothing, a digital human twin can be used to visualize which muscles and joints are actually under strain at work. This makes it possible to indicate physical overload as a key performance indicator and determine an ROI for ergonomics.

With its software-as-a-service solution Loady, the start-up Chemovator (Loady) is entering the race for an IFOY AWARD. Loady provides standardized requirements for loading and unloading at industrial sites and serves as a central pre-product database. Equipment to be brought along, documents or processes on site are managed in a structured data model and serve as a source for all logistics partners. Free text fields or Excel files for logistics tenders, cleaning requirements and pre-products are no longer necessary.

An IFOY nomination also goes to the passive exoskeleton SoftExo Lift from HUNIC. The extremely lightweight yet effective body-mounted lifting and carrying aid uses a spring principle to support the leg and back muscles when lifting and carrying loads by up to 21 percent, relieving the body of up to 50 percent of the load and positively influencing ergonomic posture.

Test camp

The innovations of the IFOY finalists will be available for self-testing by visitors at Test Camp Intralogistics on March 29 and 30 in Dortmund. The hands-on testing event for innovations and new developments enables decision-makers from industry, trade and the service sector to extensively self-test selected innovations on 10,000 square meters of hall space. In addition to the IFOY finalists, a total of over 50 innovations and 1000 participants are expected at this year’s CAMP.

The coveted trophies will be awarded in the summer. Until then, the results will remain a secret – both for the finalists and for the public.