Systems for fast wireless charging, multi-format packaging, and automatic and anonymous analysis of manual work processes: Those are the three innovative standouts honored this year with the prestigious LogiMAT BEST PRODUCT 2020 award.
An independent jury of scholars and journalists reviewed a total of 115 submissions and chose three winners that fully live up to the name of LogiMAT BEST PRODUCT as outstanding manifestations of the award criteria: They enhance productivity, reduce costs, and streamline operations. The award-winning companies, through their products, are helping to make processes more stable yet flexible in adapting to changes. By improving efficiency, they are ultimately boosting the productivity of the logistics industry.
Originally, the winners were to be announced around 10:30 this morning during the gala opening ceremony of LogiMAT 2020 and honored live at the event in Stuttgart. But the increased and accelerated spread of the coronavirus in Germany, with the region of Stuttgart among those particularly affected, proved detrimental to the feasibility of this industry event. An official injunction last week forced the cancellation of LogiMAT 2020. “We regret this development, which is forcing the cancellation of countless major events, heavily impacting global supply chains, and seriously damaging the economy. As President of the LogiMAT BEST PRODUCT jury, I regret even more that I cannot be on hand live in Stuttgart to honor the winners, which include two exciting start-ups. But this in no way detracts from the outstanding achievements for which they are being given this prestigious award in their respective categories,” explains Dr. Johannes Fottner, Chair of the Institute for Materials Handling, Material Flow, Logistics at the Technical University of Munich.
“It is very important to us as the organizers of LogiMAT to announce the three winners to the general public today, on what was to have been the opening day of LogiMAT, thereby appropriately honoring their outstanding achievements. All three more than deserve it. Naturally, we will still be giving out the LogiMAT BEST PRODUCT award and presenting the medals and certificates in person at a later date in an appropriate setting,” announces LogiMAT Exhibition Director Michael Ruchty from the Munich-based event organizer EUROEXPO Messe- und Kongress-GmbH.
In the category of “Order Picking, Conveying, Lifting, and Storing Technology,” the award goes to the startup Wiferion GmbH for its inductive fast-charging system etaLINK 12000. The scalable energy solution is the world’s first wireless battery charging system with 12 kW of charging power and an efficiency of 93%.
etaLINK 12000 enables “in-process charging” of lithium-ion batteries in automated guided vehicles, forklift trucks, and mobile robots. This allows for flexible integration of charging processes into the intralogistical workflows. The scalable energy solution is the world’s first wireless battery charging system with 12 kW of charging power and an efficiency of 93%. In-process charging keeps the vehicle battery power at a constant high level. This reduces battery capacity requirements by over 30% in most cases with no change in vehicle performance, significantly cutting battery acquisition costs. With the elimination of additional charging breaks and the downtime this entails, vehicle availability increases by up to 30%. Once a vehicle heads to the charging point from any direction, the charging process begins automatically in less than a second. An integrated CAN interface transmits data on battery status and energy level to the fleet management system. etaLINK 12000 is compatible with all available battery systems.
In the category of “Identification, Packaging and Loading Technology, Load Securing,” the award goes to Kern AG for its PackOnTime 2box multi-format packaging system for tailor-made packages.
Kern AG has really captured the spirit of the time with its PackOnTime 2box concept. One element in ensuring smooth shipping processes for a wide variety of goods is to optimize and automate shipping logistics. This requires sophisticated packaging strategies and systems that provide the right packaging at the right time. The multi-format packaging system is a smart, “made on time” design using sustainable, recycled corrugated cardboard and eliminating the need for additional filling materials. A 3D scanner measures all types of single- and multiple-item orders and inserts the contents into custom-fitting packaging. The box is produced on demand in the precise dimensions required, after which the order items are automatically fed into the box and packaged. The innovative system is designed to address the booming global parcel delivery market driven primarily by the continued strong growth in e-commerce. Precision packaging makes it possible to render the entire supply chain process greener. This goal is achieved by using recycled cardboard, cutting down on filling materials, and utilizing delivery vehicle capacities more efficiently, which in turn shrinks the carbon footprint.
In the category of “Software, Communications, IT,” the award goes to the startup MotionMiners GmbH for its Manual Process Intelligence (MPI), a first-of-its-kind AI solution that enables the automatic, anonymous analysis of manual work processes.
Conventional methods of analysis, typically carried out by trained process engineers with the traditional tools of clipboards and stopwatches, are extremely complicated and time-consuming. The new MPI method equips employees performing a wide range of activities with mobile sensors and smartphones. Miniature radio beacons are placed in the relevant storage areas, communicating with wearable mobile sensors in tandem with smartphones to anonymously track the location of employees. Each individual work step is automatically reconstructed from the process data and made available for further analysis. The data collected in this way is analyzed using highly specialized MotionMiners AI algorithms that apply pattern recognition based on machine learning. The movements, postures, and even the work situations are detected and associated with the tasks and regions defined in the work process. The motion detection catalog currently encompasses more than 50 different activities, including walking, wait times per region and machine, picking, handling times per shelf—even healthy and unhealthy bending. MPI enables the holistic analysis and optimization of the efficiency of a process and lets you identify ergonomic risks in production and logistics. Customers get a complete set of measuring equipment and access to an analysis dashboard. The projects carried out so far have shown measurable savings of 10% to 15% percent with peak savings of 40%.