ProMat 2013 preview (part one): New year, new innovations

by Array

If you’re looking for innovation in the supply chain, you should be able to find it in Chicago in January 2013.

That’s where the next iteration of the ProMat conference will be held. Like past versions, ProMat 2013 will have a trade show and educational seminars, but this year it is adding something new. It is launching the ProMat Innovation Award competition.

Two awards will be given out to companies exhibiting at the show: best new innovation and best innovation of an existing product. Finalists will be required to demonstrate their products on the show floor, and a special exhibit will feature all of the entrants.

The other new feature returning attendees can expect to see is an extra keynote session. Steve Forbes, chair of Forbes Media and one-time US presidential hopeful, will open the show with a presentation about how the incoming American president and his administration will affect future business growth and the state of the economy. (The show’s opening day is also the day the president-elect is inaugurated.)

The other keynote speakers are Henrik Christensen from Georgia Tech, who will talk about how robotics will help businesses drive future growth, and futurist Edie Weiner, who will lead a panel discussion about how material handling and logistics will impact future supply chains.

There are five education tracks. Three are sponsored by the Association for Automatic Identification (AIM), one is sponsored by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) and one is co-sponsored by the Material Handling Industry Association’s Ergonomic Assist Association and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

“I think there is going to be more focus on education, with the three keynotes, the 100 sessions and the education track sessions. We are offering more educational opportunities, and educational opportunities at different levels. The show-floor sessions will be ranked as beginner sessions, advanced sessions and middle-of-the-road sessions,” says Carol Miller, vice-president of marketing for the Material Handling Industry Association (MHIA), the group that organizes ProMat.

Miller says she is expecting over 30,000 attendees and more than 800 exhibitors at the show. As in past years, the show is being held in conjunction with the Automate 2013 trade show, which showcases automation technologies and solutions.

While there will be lots of announcements at the show, a few companies have decided to provide sneak peeks of their upcoming news.

RMT Robotics

The Grimsby, Ontario-based division of Cimcorp Oy will showcase a new layer picking system. RMT Robotics says by using a combination of vacuum and clamping technologies, the system will able to pick up the vast majority of consumer products on the market, including corrugated or boxed cases, shrink wrapped products, bottles, tubs and open trays

SDI Industries Inc

Los Angeles, California-based SDI Group USA will bring its new sorting system to Chicago. The SORTRAK is designed to travel on an extremely flexible route through a facility. Its path can include inclines, declines, serpentine corners, and multiple levels. It can also incorporate multiple induction stations. The SORTRAK comes with two trays positioned across the sorter, and the sorter’s spin wheels propel the trays along. It can handle sorting speeds of 14,400 trays per hour.

Vidir Machine Inc

Vidir Machine Inc, from Arborg, Manitoba, will introduce 10 new models of its Pan Carousel at ProMat. These carousels have a more compact design than earlier models and will include safety light curtains, an ergonomic workbench, and automatic retrieval. The will also come with an assortment of new options including pick-to-light, barcode scanning, security gates, inventory management software, and a wider variety of shelving configurations.

Kardex Remstar

Kardex Remstar, LLC, the Westbrook, Maine-based division of Kardex Group, will highlight its Megamat RS Model 650 vertical carousel. Designed for industrial material operations, it holds up to 650Kg (1,433lb) per carrier with a total unit load of 19,000kg (41,887lb). The Megamat RS comes in a wide range of sizes and with numerous options including inserts, rollout drawers, intermediate shelves, partitions, dividers and specialty holders.


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based TMI will expand its Screen-Pro roll-up screen product line by introducing Screen-Pro bug screens to control flying pests, Bird-Pro heavy mesh screens to keep birds out and Vinyl-Pro supported PVD doors which separate differing environmental areas according to temperature, dust, debris, fumes and noise.

To read the second part of the article, click here.