LogiMAT reveals best product winners for 2020

by Inside Logistics Online Staff
The PackOnTime system creates right-sized boxes on demand for e-commerce fulfillment.

STUTTGART, Germany – Systems for fast wireless charging, multi-format packaging, and automatic and anonymous analysis of manual work processes have been honoured this year with the LogiMAT Best Product 2020 award.

An independent jury of scholars and journalists reviewed a total of 115 submissions and chose three winners that enhance productivity, reduce costs, and streamline operations.

The winners are:

  • Wiferion GmbH for its inductive fast-charging system etaLINK 12000;
  • Kern AG for its PackOnTime 2box multi-format packaging system for tailor-made packages;
  • MotionMiners GmbH for its Manual Process Intelligence (MPI), a first-of-its-kind AI solution that enables the automatic, anonymous analysis of manual work processes.

Originally, the winners were to be announced during the gala opening ceremony of LogiMAT 2020 and honoured live at the event in Stuttgart. However, the show was cancelled due to the spread of coronavirus.

“We regret this development, which is forcing the cancellation of countless major events, heavily impacting global supply chains, and seriously damaging the economy,” said Johannes Fottner, chair of the Institute for Materials Handling, Material Flow, Logistics at the Technical University of Munich.

“As president of the LogiMAT Best Product jury, I regret even more that I cannot be on hand live in Stuttgart to honour the winners, which include two exciting start-ups. But this in no way detracts from the outstanding achievements for which they are being given this prestigious award in their respective categories.”

Induction charging

Startup Wiferion GmbH won in the Order Picking, Conveying, Lifting, and Storing Technology category for its inductive fast-charging system etaLINK 12000. The scalable energy solution is the world’s first wireless battery charging system with 12 kW of charging power and an efficiency of 93 percent.

etaLINK 12000 enables “in-process charging” of lithium-ion batteries in automated guided vehicles, forklift trucks, and mobile robots. This allows for flexible integration of charging processes into the distribution centre workflows.

In-process charging keeps the vehicle battery power at a constant high level. This reduces battery capacity requirements by over 30 percent in most cases with no change in vehicle performance, significantly cutting battery acquisition costs. With the elimination of additional charging breaks and the downtime this entails, vehicle availability increases by up to 30 percent.

Once a vehicle heads to the charging point from any direction, the charging process begins automatically in less than a second. An integrated CAN interface transmits data on battery status and energy level to the fleet management system. etaLINK 12000 is compatible with all available battery systems.

Packaging system

Kern AG won in the Identification, Packaging and Loading Technology, Load Securing category. According to LogiMAT’s jury, Kern’s PackOnTime 2box concept “has really captured the spirit of the time. One element in ensuring smooth shipping processes for a wide variety of goods is to optimize and automate shipping logistics. This requires sophisticated packaging strategies and systems that provide the right packaging at the right time.”

Kern’s multi-format packaging system is a smart, “made on time” design using sustainable, recycled corrugated cardboard and eliminating the need for additional filling materials. A 3D scanner measures all types of single- and multiple-item orders and inserts the contents into custom-fitting packaging.

The box is produced on demand in the precise dimensions required, after which the order items are automatically fed into the box and packaged. The  system is designed to address the booming global parcel delivery market driven primarily by the continued strong growth in e-commerce.

AI work process analysis

Sensor-based tracking in the MotionMiners system allows for ergonomic analysis and workflow optimization.

Startup MotionMiners GmbH has received the award in the Software, Communications, IT category for its Manual Process Intelligence (MPI), a first-of-its-kind AI solution that enables the automatic, anonymous analysis of manual work processes.

Conventional methods of analysis, typically carried out by trained process engineers with the traditional tools of clipboards and stopwatches, are extremely complicated and time-consuming. The new MPI method equips employees performing a wide range of activities with mobile sensors and smartphones.

Miniature radio beacons are placed in the relevant storage areas, communicating with wearable mobile sensors in tandem with smartphones to anonymously track the location of employees. Each individual work step is automatically reconstructed from the process data and made available for further analysis.

The data collected in this way is analyzed using specialized MotionMiners AI algorithms that apply pattern recognition based on machine learning. The movements, postures, and even the work situations are detected and associated with the tasks and regions defined in the work process. The motion detection catalog currently encompasses more than 50 different activities, including walking, wait times per region and machine, picking, handling times per shelf – even healthy and unhealthy bending.

MPI analyzes the efficiency of a process and identifies ergonomic risks in production and logistics. Customers get a complete set of measuring equipment and access to an analysis dashboard. The projects carried out so far have shown measurable savings of 10- to 15-percent with peak savings of 40 percent.

The event organizers say they will arrange an award presentation ceremony at a later date.