During April our Industore Project Managers travelled to Germany, to join over 200,000 global visitors at this years’ CeMAT event, one of the world’s leading international intralogistics platforms. There they were able to get an insight into the future of supply chain integration and how intelligent logistic solutions can be used to optimise production in a range of facilities.
A key focus this year consisted of mobile robotic solutions, which are increasingly common in production and warehouse settings. Their aim? To make work easier for humans. Co-bots and smart machines are the next step for traditional facilities, and Hänel’s automated storage solutions fit perfectly into this new, intelligent manufacturing age. With demands for flexibility and precision in manufacturing and distribution on the rise, networked intralogistics infrastructures have been developed to make our lives easier and are now crucial to business success.
This year, leading global manufacturers and innovators showcased their products at CeMAT. For 2018, Hänel exhibited in three of the event halls, most notably in the Logistics 4.0 hub, where specialists from heavy industry and the intralogistics sector uncovered their newest technology to the public.
A focus for Hänel this year was HänelSoft, a modular software solution that coordinates interaction between the storage system and controller technology. This software ultimately allows the user the ability to create a flexible inventory management system by opting for modules specific to their requirements. Of these modules, Hänel demonstrated their smart batch-picking system, which included a put-to-light solution and integration into portable electronic devices. Stephen Froude, our Systems and Software Manager says, “The idea of smart-picking isn’t a new concept, it’s been around for a while and the HänelSoft solution has a strong advantage; it includes a device agnostic put-to-light system that can be tailored to meet the diverse requirements of modern facilities. Hänel demonstrated this by using a fully mobile put-to-light trolley, which was completely wireless; effectively giving the operator complete freedom to batch pick.”
The new MP-14 N controller was also on display for 2018, featured on both the Lean-Lift and Rotomat; it included a bigger screen, which was particularly beneficial with the new version of HänelSoft, and included Hänel PictureControl; a camera integrated into the storage system to record all transactions. With the ability to access a high level of visual data the user can now locate and store articles with complete ease. It’s the perfect solution for any growing business, especially one that needs to keep on top of a large inventory!
With a real focus on software this year, Hänel also gave a live presentation of order picking with augmented reality (AR) eyeglasses. This new technology allows for direct connectivity with SAP servers via a SOAP interface, meaning that there was no need for middleware! The storage system was operated remotely via AR eyeglasses and transactions confirmed with a barcode scanner integrated into the operator’s glove. It was a completely wireless solution and fully voice controlled, allowing the operator freedom to use both hands when picking. This innovative solution is currently being developed in Germany and an English version should be available soon. Our Project Manager Steve Williamson comments, “Although CeMAT is an international event it’s clear Germany are world leaders when it comes to Industry 4.0 – I’m excited to see what new technology is introduced into the UK this year.”
Hänel really pushed boundaries this year at CeMAT 2018, they showcased automated storage at its best and offered a close-up view of new technologies on the horizon for the UK and Ireland. If you’re interested in becoming an Industry 4.0 champion and bringing your facility into the 21st century, contact us here and let us know how we can help you achieve it.