It's only a few days until April 3 when the ProMat and Automate shows begin at McCormick Place in Chicago. ProMat is an expo for material handling and logistics equipment and technologies and Automate showcases robotics and automation technologies and solutions for manufacturing.
The two shows together enable one to thoroughly explore robotics and automation solutions for manufacturing, material handling and warehousing. Besides, it's good exercise to walk both halls.
In addition to all the big-booth robot providers such as Schunk, Fanuc, Yaskawa, ABB, KUKA, Nachi, Staubli, Comau, and co-bot pioneer Universal Robots (who recently joined the ranks of big-booth-ers), there will be hundreds of interesting and new entrants showing collaborative robots and their accessories and tools, new methods for grasping and material handling, both stationary and mobile for factories and warehouses, and all sorts of other related services, products and information.
"Each picking" - a term used in warehouse fullfillment to identify the grasping process of single items of various sizes and shapes from shelves, boxes and pods, will be offered from a variety of vendors. One picking preview (of the many product launches you can expect to see at the two shows) is this one from RightHand Robotics:
RightHand Robotics (RHR), a Cambridge, MA-based robotic picking solutions provider, will be showing off their new RightPick gripping system which combines a vacuum stick with fingers and some classy software to quickly pick and grasp individual items.
Combined with RHR's vision software, the new picking device can spot, pick up and place never seen before small objects at the rate of 500 to 1,000 times an hour.
The end-of-arm tooling system uses machine learning software and sensors to handle various items, sizes and shapes on the fly, and is easily affixed to most industry-leading robotic arms.
"The supply chain of the future is more about pieces than pallets," said RightHand Robotics Co-Founder Leif Jentoft. "RightHand can help material handling, 3PLs, and e-commerce warehouses lower costs by increasing automation."
As endorsement of the new product, and RHR, Andy Rubin, co-founder of Android and the former head of Google's robotics division, led an $8 million Series A funding round through his Playground Global investment fund. Rubin said:
“RightHand Robotics has created a transformative technology combining machine learning and smart hardware to address a tremendous opportunity in the logistics industry. For the first time, affordable industrial robots can grasp things they have never seen before.”