Top Takeaways from Modex 2020

Talk of the Floor: How to Help in Times of Crisis

The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 occupied the thoughts of show-goers. Many we met agreed that material handling will be key to distribution centers and warehouses during possible shutdowns and national emergency situations. Material handling can play an important role in helping relieve supply chain issues and by making the convenience services they provide businesses easier to obtain.

Rapid Prototype Is a Fast Favorite

Flexcon debuted its rapid prototype system at Modex—the first of its kind at the show. It was no puppy (see below) but many visitors to the Flexcon booth said that seeing the system in action was a highlight of the show. In addition to being fascinating to watch, the technology allows all the parties involved in production—customers, integrators, automation suppliers and Flexcon team members—a precision prototype to test and review prior to production. Since its introduction, Flexcon’s rework-reissue rate has dropped from 2% to 0%.

Forklifts and Pallets for the Future

Even standards like these are open to improvement. Automated and hand-controlled unmanned forklifts present new options for easier and more efficient pallet movements. Even pallets are receiving a modernizing makeover; APR unveiled these metal pallets available in custom sizes.

Count on Material Handlers to Make the Best of Any Situation

Mysterious container pyramids appeared in vacant exhibitor booths around the show, courtesy of Flexcon’s merry pranksters. Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost was also on hand to preside over the MHI industry night. He quipped that he had no idea what Modex was, and only showed up because he thought it was the name of a vaccine.

Robots Part I: Amazon’s Monopoly on Robotics Gets Modex’d

While Amazon has been the front-runner in this field, they have kept most of their advances to themselves. Thankfully, numerous companies have stepped in to fill the void. Many of their autonomous robots and other automated systems were on display at Modex this year.

Robots Part II: Robots Stepping Up

Exhibitors powered up the case for the advantages of automation at Modex 2020. Robotics continues to be the trend for an increasing variety of uses from moving product alone to moving complete shelves loaded with products. The show featured reactive robots that receive orders from a WMS and instantly dispatch to carry them out. We also manufacturers juicing the speed of the latest evolutions of AS/RS and automatic picking systems.

Robots Part III: Relief for Today’s Labor Shortage and more

Robots are doing more—but they’re also doing more for their human coworkers. Models at Modex demonstrated safety benefits, as they can support heavy loads and pose no risk of injury to human operators. Many have advanced sensors to prevent them from colliding with people. Their suitability for menial, repetitive work also reduces the physical and mental load on human operators, who can be moved to other tasks.

Award for Best Tradeshow Giveaway: Puppy Love

The floor-weary and sleep-deprived had a chance to escape and unwind at Bastian Solutions’ Puppy Lounge. Funny how therapeutic petting a dog can be. (Maybe that’s why they call it puppy power.)