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Supply Chain News: Innovation Award Winners from ProMat Show and MHI 2019


Innovation in Distribution Center Hardware and Software Continues to be Strong

May 28, 2019
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Once again this year, MHI conducted an innovation award program in connection with the ProMat trade show and conference at Chicago's McCormick Place during April.

108 vendors of all sorts submitted relative brief written applications across three categories. Those categories were:

• Best New Product (Material Handling)

• Best Innovation of an Existing Product

• Best IT Innovation

Supply Chain Digest Says...

So there you have it. Lots of innovation continues to be seen in the distribution center system and software sector.

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From those applications, four finalists were selected from each category. On Monday April 8, those finalists presented their new solutions to a panel of judges on the show floor. The winners in each category were then announced on April 10 during MHI Industry Night.

So here SCDigest replicates the entries sent by each of the three winners. As a result, the text is not surprisingly very promotional, but we still believe of potential interest to readers.

We note that we have reported on developments at one winner, robotic piece picking vendorRightHand Robotics, for several years. Another winner, CMC, is Italian company in the news of late with reports just a couple of weeks ago that Amazon has been testing for some time another of its solution, and automated order packing and carton building.

The IT innovation award winner was German materials handling vendor Knapp, which commonly releases innovative new products.

All that said, here are the three winning applications and solutions.

Best New Product: Pick2Pack System from CMC

Summary of Innovation: CMC Pick2Pack is the latest fully automated solution targeted at the ecommerce market place featuring: CMC SmartStore an intermediate storage solution with a fully automatic picking system fully integrated to the newest CMC CartonPack box on demand autopacking system.

Innovation Statement: CMC brings picking and packing automation to the next level. The core of the system is CMC VaryTote. Orders are automatically picked from CMC SmartStore and consolidated in the VaryTote which is directly conveyed to the CMC CartonPack autopacking system. The VaryTote features adjustable inner guides used to correctly size the items. The adjustment of these guides will determine the dimension of each box, which will be unique to each order.

Applicability: CMC Pick2Pack dramatically saves picking and packing labor costs while at the same time reducing shipping/box volumes and cardboard consumption; Picking and consolidation in to the VaryTote improves efficiency and allows you to automate the packing of multi-line orders in perfect size boxes.

Best Innovation of an Existing Product: RightPick from RightHand Robotics

Summary of Innovation: The RightPick product platform is an autonomous robotic piece-picking machine that handles the core task of picking and placing individual items as part of a wide range of workflows and processes in warehouse fulfillment operations. RightPick combines an intelligent gripper, computer vision, artificial intelligence and machine learning, resulting in what we refer to as "hand, eye, coordination." This integrated solution meets the need for handling a wide range of items, as well as the rate and reliability demands for customers worldwide. RightPick is already in use for AS/RS (i.e. goods-to-person) tending and sorter induction.

RightHand's new put wall offering automates a common task that is part of existing workflows used in both manual and highly automated facilities. The system integrates new robotic skills, including barcode identification, placement to an array of cubbies (horizontal bin locations), and an integration with conventional put-to-light systems.

The task sequence is to pick an individual item from a tote, capture the barcode and communicate to the host system, place to the designated order cubby, and confirm the completed task to the warehouse control software. The system also features integrated exception handling mechanisms and alert capabilities. These innovations allow conversion of existing put walls into robotic put walls, providing reliable throughput and productivity to customers.

(See More Below)




Innovation Statement: The key innovation is the ability to integrate new robotic skills and intelligence into the core RightPick product platform, thereby extending the range of available solutions for warehouse operators, in both retrofit and greenfield scenarios. The put wall offering exemplifies this building block approach, leveraging capabilities developed for AS/RS tending and sorter induction with new functions specific to the put wall workflow.

Applicability: The RightPick put wall offering is significant to any ProMat attendee who struggles to fill warehouse fulfillment roles involving a highly repetitive task and dealing with high employee turnover, solving for that with an automated robotic solution that can plug into an existing operation, is easy to scale, and typically provides ROI in 18 to 24 months or less.

Best IT Innovation: redPilot Warehouse Software System from Knapp

Summary of Innovation: redPILOT, Knapp says, may be the most significant new IT application to be introduced in the last decade.

Supply chain operators routinely discuss their top concerns, in an industry where reporting and information is frequently delivered without the necessary time to take corrective action, including:

• Management of resources (systems, personnel, energy, space, material)

• Assessing variable demand factors (order structure, growing SKU range, delivery times)

• Managing the complexity of the distribution center with it's myriad of independently operating variables, fluctuating resources and often, complex automation

• Achieving and exceeding financial and operations performance targets, at the least possible operating cost

Three distinct modules leverage the latest technologies to help supply chain managers plan, operate and improve operations, while achieving significant performance results. Operating much like a GPS satellite navigation system, redPILOT provides an intuitive real time interface and an ideal tool set for supply chain leaders, managers and employees – enabling them to manage operations, reduce costs, increase performance of distribution center resources – and leverage the promise of the high performance, technology enabled, Digital Supply Chain.

Innovation Statement: The redPILOT Control Tower optimizes distribution center daily operations scheduling and available potential in terms of costs and performance. This software helps the operations team find the best resource configuration, create optimal schedules, detect bottlenecks, and make adjustments quickly and in real time when conditions change. Continuous learning occurs based on numbers, data and facts that are generated every operating hour.

Applicability: The redPILOT Control Tower can be used across channels in general retail, food retail, fashion, apparel, accessories, pharma/healthcare, ecommerce, distribution and fulfillment centers with 50 or more employees, and that typically have more complex intralogistics applications; early adopters have achieved 5% or more reduction in P&L operating cost, as validated by monthly financial reports and 37 sites are now installed or in-progress.

So there you have it. Lots of innovation continues to be seen in the distribution center system and software sector.

What do you think of these MHI innovation award winners? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.




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