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A Guide to the Latest in Mobile Robot Technology at IMTS 2018

The Omron LD2 mobile robot will be demonstrated at IMTS.

September 11, 2018      

CHICAGO — For the first time, the International Manufacturing Technology Show 2018 has completely filled the McCormick Center here. This week’s IMTS show is co-located with the Hannover Messe event and promises more than 2,400 exhibitors, nine conferences and two Emerging Technology Centers. Although mobile robot technology isn’t the event’s main focus, here’s a guide to what you can see between other types of industrial automation.

You’ll be walking a bit between vendors at this huge show, so if you’re in the market for a mobile robot, let me help you organize your time at IMTS 2018.

OTTO Motors OMEGA Lift Truck

OTTO Omega 1

OTTO’s Omega 1 autonomous forklift.

First of all, the biggest mobile robot announcement at the show this week will be happening at the OTTO Motors booth, where the company is announcing its new OTTO OMEGA autonomous lift truck.

OTTO OMEGA uses OTTO Motors’ industry-leading, self-driving control system for material handling vehicles. Its mobile robot line has been proven in the most demanding of industrial environments spanning automotive, medical device, aerospace and logistics.

The self-driving lift truck is also safety-rated for live operation in workplaces where people are present.

“The OTTO OMEGA is a step-function in capability for autonomous lift trucks,” said Matt Randall, CEO of OTTO Motors. “OTTO OMEGA includes the most advanced controls, and we will be developing various ‘skills’ for the platform which will enable it to perform a variety of tasks.”

“When combined with the OTTO 1500, material can now be autonomously handled from the loading dock all the way to destinations anywhere within a facility,” he added.

You can see the OTTO OMEGA at Booth 121424 in the East Building, Level 2.

MiR 500 Mobile Robot

Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) will be officially releasing its new MiR 500 vehicle at IMTS. The MiR 500 was announced this spring, but the vehicle is now available for purchase. With a 500 kg payload capability, the MiR product line has been expanded to handle a wide variety of payloads.

MiR's mobile robot product line

MiR’s mobile robots come in a variety of sizes.

Also at the MiR booth will be a demonstration of a MiR 200 with an onboard UR5 collaborative robot. This demonstration will show how a collaborative robot arm can be autonomously repositioned to operate throughout your facility.

Finally, you’ll be able to see a MiR 200 with the MiRHook, towing up to 500kg. MiR is the only mobile robot to effectively demo an autonomous mobile robot with towing capability.

You can see the MiR 500 and the other MiR demonstrations at Booth 121468 in the East Building, Level 2.

KUKA Robotics mobile robot and arm

KUKA has put its cobot arm on a mobile robot.

KUKA is pairing its iiwa cobot arm with a mobile platform.

Industrial robot market leader KUKA will be demonstrating the KUKA KMP 1500 mobile platform and a mobile robot arm.

In addition, KUKA’s autonomous KMR iiwa robot combines the company’s collaborative LBR iiwa robot with a flexible, mobile platform.

The robot company said the LBR iiwa has positional accuracy of up to ± 5 mm. Its Mecanum wheels are designed for maximum agility, enabling the mobile platform to move omnidirectionally and to execute 360-degree rotations to shorten throughput times and enhance productivity.

You can find KUKA in two booths: North Building, Level 1, Booth 215038 and North Building, Level 3, Booth 236200.


OMRON will be demonstrating its OMRON LD mobile robot at the show (see image above). The OMRON LD is the evolution of the Adept Technology Lynx mobile robot, now in its third generation.

The LD mobile robot will be demonstrating its capability of enabling traceability and flexible manufacturing through the interaction with other OMRON fixed robotics, laser marking, and numerical control technologies.

You can find OMRON in the East Building, Booth 134845.

Other mobile robot vendors

There are three other autonomous mobile robot vendors at the show. They are worth checking out as well:

Mobile robot software and guidance

On the software side for autonomous mobile robots, there are two additional things to check out. First on the list is Humatics, which will be announcing the exciting first step of its Spatial Intelligence Platform™. This platform promises to revolutionize the accuracy of indoor navigation.

Humatics claims that its microlocation technology offers centimeter- and millimeter-scale positioning that is faster, more precise, and more affordable than any existing 3D positioning or location tracking technology on the market. You can find it in the East Building, Level 2, Booth 121226.

Also at IMTS, you can catch the ROS-Industrial Consortium and discuss the evolution of open source operating systems and robot control. You’ll find ROSi at the AMT Emerging Technology Center — North Building, Level 3, Booth 236700.