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Hidden Gems at Automate/ProMat 2013
The Automat 57th Street and Sixth Avenue
Small companies with ideas that are far bigger than their booths
By Tom Green

Automate  ProMat
January 21-24, 2013
McCormick Place, Chicago

By far they are not the biggest names at Automate/ProMat nor do they have the splashiest booth displays. You won’t find them with robotic arms lifting monster weights, serving Cokes to the 30,000 passersby or slickly dealing blackjack. Rather, it’s the ideas that they have on display that are compelling; ideas that are far bigger than their booths.

Some of these idea merchants have journeyed a very, very long way in January to a frozen Chicago to see and be seen, to hopefully grab attention and engage with others who really get their reason for coming.

Cool ideas in a cold city

At Robotics Business Review we’re fascinated by these cool ideas and the gutsy people who have a passion about what they’re doing with robotics. We went looking for these humble, out-of-the-way hidden gems in order to chat with the good folks manning the booths.

Into the massive fray of humanity and machines at McCormick Place, we sent out our native Chicagoan, Phil Britt, to seek out this year’s hidden gems. The Netherlands, Italy, Canada—the little country of Ohio—and a lady from New York with an interesting perspective were for us this year’s Gems of the Show.

Although these high-tech roadies are wrapping the show, packing crates and wheeling everything out to the frozen streets of Chicago, check out the ideas that they brought for everyone to see. We wish them all our best.

The representative companies: Codian Robotics, Elettric80, Robotiq, Recognition Robotics, and Weiner, Edrich, Brown.

There’s a common thread that binds them all. Can you find it? We call it new-gen, new-look robotics.

Here are some thumbnails of what they are about…just to warm you up for Phil’s in-depth articles.

A trio from Automat

Codian Robotics
The Netherlands

Offers: PC-based control systems that cost-effectively replace expensive dedicated robot controllers with an off-the-shelf controller and standard software that can actually control the entire machine, including the robotic portion of the application.

Gem: Controllers Power Codian’s 50% Growth

Recognition Robotics

Offers: The Robeye system that breaks the historic paradigms of machine vision with true visual recognition. Recognition Robotics Inc developed its visual recognition technology stemming from its discovery of how the human visual process functions.

Gem:  With Robeye Seeing is Believing for a Robot


Offers: Two new products unveiled for the first time. Wow. The first is a new member in the Adaptive Gripper family. The second one is a Kinetiq accessory from Robotiq.  How will they aid flexible manufacturing and, presumably, robotic manufacturing among small and medium-sized businesses with shorter production runs?

Gem: Innovative Robotiq Gripper Addresses Growing Market Need

A duo from ProMat


Offers: Freeway systems, flexible, reliable and fast, enable planning and controlling production, storage and shipping activities for LGVs and robotic palletizing systems like Silkworm wrapping robots from partner BEMA(industrial automation robots).

Gem: Elettric 80’s Robotic Freeway for the Beverage Industry

Weiner, Edrich, Brown
New York

Keynote: “The Future of Material Handling, Logistics and Supply Chain” Edie Weiner, president of consulting group Weiner, Edrich, Brown.

Weiner: “I will set the backdrop for which the future of materials handling, logistics and supply chain will unfold.  I’ll talk about why our thinking is stuck in yesterday, and why we have to break away from that and see the world for where it’s really going, not from where we think it is. Because the way we see the future is really colored by everything that we’ve ever learned, so it’s important to start fresh and new.”

Gem: Making Sense at ProMat 2013: Futurist Edie Weiner

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