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MODEX 2018: Top 10 Mobile Robot Exhibits to Catch

MODEX 2018 will be in Atlanta next week. Credit: Chuck Koehler, via Flickr

April 05, 2018      

If you’re heading to MODEX 2018 in Atlanta next week, then you know how huge this event is going to be. Bring your most comfortable walking shoes because you’re going to need them if you want to visit the more than 900 vendors at the show!

If you’re specifically looking for automation for manufacturing and supply chain, the list below should help. I’ve done all of the hard work to sort through the MODEX 2018 exhibitor list and highlighted 10 that I think you’ll want to see from April 9 through 12.

Kiva substitutes

Back in 2012, Amazon.com Inc. acquired Kiva Systems, which it has renamed Amazon Robotics. The number of autonomous robots to fill that void for the rest of the warehouse and order-fulfillment space has been growing. Two companies from Asia will be exhibiting at MODEX 2018 for the first time.

Geekplus Technology (Booth B621): Geek+ is a Chinese mobile robot startup that is now expanding into North America. Unlike some other products, its goods-to-person solution is already commercially available, with thousands already in service in China and Southeast Asia.

Logic Robotics Ltd. (Booth B871): Another goods-to-person newcomer is Logic Robotics (Asia ) Ltd. It has received funding from Asian investors and has its headquarters in Hong Kong.

Delta Electronics (Booth B4487): Delta Electronics (Americas) has a huge product line, but what’s exciting at MODEX 2018 is its new line of wireless battery chargers for mobile robots. The company has claimed that its new 30kW offering can deliver an industry-leading efficiency of up to 93%. Wireless charging could be the future for autonomous mobile robots. Delta has several partnerships in the works, so expect it to announce a wireless charging system for your favorite mobile robot soon.

6 River Systems (Booth B4978): 6 River Systems just announced Series B funding of $25 million, which it plans to use to accelerate software development and double its staff by the end of 2018. The Massachusetts-based company will be displaying its “Chuck” logistics robot in its booth.

InVia Robotics (Booth B4339): InVia Robotics offers its goods-to-person automation through a robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) business model. InVia innovated the RaaS model in the warehouse market, and it’s exhibiting for the first time at MODEX 2018. The Agoura, Calif.-based company says it can completely automate the storage and retrieval of boxes/totes in your warehouse without needing to change the shelving or layout.

NextShift Robotics (Booth C2363): NextShift Robotics is a new entrant in the warehouse robotics market. It plans to display its mobile warehouse robot, which it describes as “robotic staff augmentation” for e-commerce order fulfillment.

Waypoint Robotics (Booth B4835): Waypoint Robotics, formerly known as Stanley Robotics, is introducing its flagship mobile robot. Vector is a compact, ROS-native, omni-directional, mobile robot, suitable for the laboratory or factory floor.

Bleum Robotics (Booth B5063): Bleum Robotics designs and delivers robots for the manufacturing and supply chain industries. It will be introducing its first two robot models for use in warehouses.

Sitback Vehicles (Booth B3736): Sitback Vehicles manufactures collaborative, automated carts for materials handling. Sitback is still a young company, but its automatic guided carts add intelligence to the classic use case, making them a mix of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and automated guided vehicles (AGVs).

Swisslog (Booth B4047): Swisslog, together with KUKA, is introducing a new generation of its CarryPick solution. CarryPick uses a swarm of AMRs to store and retrieve racks for goods-to-person processes.

AI for mobile robots

Brain Corp. (Booth C2435): Brain Corp. has built an operating system for mobile robots. Its first solution to market is a line of autonomous floor-care vehicles. However, the core of its technology is BrainOS, a cloud-based AI platform for self-driving robots.

A maturing marketplace

I don’t want to leave out the industry veterans that will also be exhibiting autonomous mobile robots at MODEX 2018. While they haven’t yet made any new product announcements, they will be demonstrating their robots in their booths. Be sure to stop by and check out these companies:

We’ll look next at providers of cobot arms, grippers, and automated storage and retrieval systems, and our coverage of MODEX 2018 will continue next week.