ProMat 2013 Serves As Launch Pad For Material Handling Products
This article first appeared in IMPO's March 2013  issue.
Over 700 exhibitors from industry, commerce, and government displayed their productivity solutions on the 300,000 net square foot show floor.
Thousands of material handling technology enthusiasts braved a frigid Chicago winter in order to attend MHIA’s biennial ProMat expo this past January – enough, in fact, to cause a record number on the show floor Tuesday, as well as a record number of attendees to Tuesday’s keynote by Steve Forbes.
Hosting exhibitors and visitors from 125 countries, ProMat 2013, which ran January 21-24 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, covered 300,000 net square feet of exhibit space with 785 exhibiting companies. Total registration for the event was 34,085. Visitors included key decision makers in virtually all manufacturing, logistics, distribution, and supply chain industries, including a majority of the Fortune 1000. 85 percent of attendees have buying authority and 34 percent planning on spending $1 million or more over the next 18 months on equipment and systems.
“By all accounts, ProMat 2013 exceeded exhibitors’ and attendees’ expectations,” said George Prest CEO of MHI. “The energy level among visitors and exhibitors was at an all-time high. Visitors came to find solutions and innovative approaches to their manufacturing and supply chain challenges. They were greeted with a remarkable display of equipment and technology solutions that are key to their productivity and profitability.”
Exhibiting companies highlighted the following key announcements:
Visitors to the Wildeck booth were treated to the premier showing of Wildeck’s new 4-post VRC design that includes, as standard, the company’s full featured AutoSenz® D-Series Overload Detection System (U.S. Patent No. 7,408,317). According to Hue Schlegel, Director of Marketing at Wildeck, “The 4XLift sets a new standard for heavy material lifting and has more available safety features than any other 4-post VRC on the market today.” www.wildeck.com 
Siemens showcased its new automated trailer unloading solution for loose-loaded containers and trailers. “ProMat is the most important material handling show in the Americas and Siemens is proud to introduce our game-changing products and showcase our innovative end-to-end solutions at this event,” said Terry Heath, president, Mobility and Logistics Division, Siemens Infrastructure & Cities. “Our trailer solution solves a long standing customer challenge by automating the unloading of a truck quickly, safely and with a high level of material quality. It’s the first of its kind that will revolutionize material flow in the parcel and package industry.” www.siemens.com 
New at ProMat, the Hub Force Sensing Handle from Gorbel provides flexibility for custom tooling solutions by allowing a wide range of handlebars to be mounted to its handle hub. Best used in applications where lifting requires the operator to have contact with tooling at several touch points, the Hub Force Sensing Handle adds a new dimension of versatility to the G-Force® product line. www.gorbel.com 
DAP Technologies debuted its first Android computers. Rugged, lightweight and highly mobile, the M9705 tablet and the M4305 handheld are enterprise-ready solutions for industries ranging from warehouse and logistics, supply chain, field service, transportation, retail, and medical applications. www.daptech.com 
Rotary Products Inc., a company specializing in custom manufactured loading dock equipment, has launched its entirely revised website. The new and improved, mobile friendly, site is reorganized and simplified for customers to quickly and easily access a large amount of information. Currently, a vast quantity of data on products, including product specifications, model numbers, drawings, and installation instructions, can be viewed on the new website. As a first time exhibitor at ProMat, the company highlighted its solutions relating to chocks, risers, bumpers, levelers, lifts, and other dock safety equipment. www.rotaryproductsinc.com 
In order to give users even greater flexibility in configuring their work stations, Rousseau Metal Inc. has developed WM11 structure in lengths of 34” and 68”. With these new, larger sizes, users can install accessories of various dimensions above the work surface. They are a perfect fit for the 72” L surfaces. Suited for a wide range of applications, Rousseau’s multi-purpose frame offers infinite possibilities that will increase both efficiency and productivity. www.rousseaumetal.com
While OSHA requires industrial mezzanines to have handrails and gates around all edges, these gates need to be opened during a loading/unloading process, creating the potential for a serious or even fatal injury in the event of an accidental fall. The GateKeeper from Rite-Hite is designed with a reciprocating barrier which is interconnected and can’t be open at the same time. It is installed on the edge of a mezzanine, pick module or elevated platform where pallet loads from the floor level are regularly deposited for pick-up. When the outer gate opens to allow pallets to enter the mezzanine level, the inner gate automatically closes, keeping workers out. After the pallet is received, the mezzanine-level workers open the inner gate to remove the material from the work zone. During this time, the outer gate is securely in position on the edge of the mezzanine. After loading/unloading is complete, the inner gate is closed to allow the forklift to remove any items in the work zone. www.ritehite.com 
Kärcher Industrial showcased a comprehensive line of innovative cleaning solutions for industry and large scale cleaning challenges. Karcher Industrial’s scrubbers and sweepers, available in both walk-behind and ride-on models, are built with the power, quality, and innovation of German engineering. www.karcherindustrial.com 
Master Magnetics offers a complete line of magnetic sweepers featuring push, hang, or trailer-type styles. The super-powered, permanent magnet assemblies, ranging from 12” to 96” in width, are perfect for the fast and efficient removal of hazardous scrap metal debris from warehouses, loading docks, parking areas, runways, manufacturing and shop areas, job sites, workshops, and other important traffic areas. www.magnetsource.com 
Intermec is the first to offer a no-compromise solution with the CK71 ultra-rugged mobile computer. In addition to being 31 percent smaller and lighter than other form factors in its ultra-rugged class, the CK71 is optimized for your warehouse and distribution environments with premium, industrial grade materials for the perfect balance of ruggedness and duty cycle along with next generation features that focus on enabling flexibility and agility, even in the most extreme conditions. Extend the use of the CK71 into hazardous locations with the non-incendive certified (Div. 2) CK71. www.intermec.com 
ProMat 2015 will be held at McCormick Place South from March 23-26, 2015.