The UK’s premier logistics solutions and intralogistics technology event of the year – IMHX 2022 – will open for business at the NEC, Birmingham, on 6th September 2022.
Over three days literally hundreds of exhibitors – including Whittan Group, Knapp, Combilift, Geekplus, Cesab, Zebra Technologies, Crown Lift Trucks, Hai Robotics and Swisslog – will showcase the developments that are reshaping the post-pandemic global logistics industry.
IMHX 2022 event director, Rob Fisher, comments: “IMHX 2022 will be the essential gathering place for UK logistics professionals to reconnect with the industry, stay ahead of supply chain trends and source the latest storage and handling solutions from some of the world’s most innovative and influential manufacturers and suppliers.”
“Nothing compares with the power of face-to-face meetings and the opportunity to engage with product demonstrations and interactive displays that a ‘live’, in-person event provides.”
Automation and robotics
The chance to see working demonstrations of the latest automated handling technology – from entry level solutions to fully automated warehouse systems – is just one of the many reasons to visit IMHX 2022.
Interest in warehouse automation has been growing exponentially over several years and the impact of Brexit and the pandemic on the availability of picking staff, forklift drivers and other warehouse personnel has driven demand for the automated guided vehicles, autonomous vehicles and other forms of robotics to new levels as more and more logistics companies seek ways of working that rely less on large numbers of people.
For example, IMHX 2022 will be the place to evaluate the growing range of driverless materials handling solutions that are becoming an increasingly common feature within warehouses and DCs.
Operator-free vehicles undertake every type of task that would be expected of a traditional manually operated forklift – including vehicle loading and unloading, pallet put-away and retrieval in both standard and very narrow aisle racking configurations, as well as pallet and stillage movements throughout the warehouse. In addition to the obvious savings in labour costs, the technology brings a host of other benefits, including reduced damage to goods, racking and trucks, greater picking accuracy and more efficient use of the available storage space.
VisionNav Robotics is among the fastest-growing operator-free industrial vehicle manufacturers in the world and the company will use IMHX 2022 to highlight the range of fully automated, vision-guided forklift trucks and intelligent operating systems that it has produced for the European market.
These days plenty of sophisticated automated handling technology is within financial reach of SMEs as well as the biggest players and a host of pioneering and industry-leading automation providers will be demonstrating solutions that range from entry-level technology to advanced, large scale integrated projects at IMHX 2022.
Exhibitor Swisslog’s automated warehousing technologies include traditional high bay warehouses and innovative robot-based materials handling solutions that provide quality, flexibility and efficiency. Every application is customised to deliver the lowest cost per pick.
Meanwhile Gebhardt – who celebrate their 70th anniversary in 2022 – will show examples of the kind of customised and innovative intralogistics solutions that they have been supplying to customers throughout the world for more than seven decades.
The automated storage, transport, sorting and picking systems supplied by Daifuku include flexible automated guided vehicle (AGV) transport technology as well as rail-guided sorting transfer vehicle (STR) systems, while Knapp’s smart solutions and automated storage systems support the logistics processes of leading companies’ worldwide.
BotsAndUs will show how their fully autonomous robots measure, track and find goods across warehouses without workflow disruption, while visitors will also discover how Exotec’s range of robotics deliver sustainable warehouse productivity gains by enabling human workers and robots to collaborate.
HAI Robotics, the pioneer in Autonomous Case-handling Robot (ACR) systems, will exhibit its highly flexible goods-to-person solutions that are designed to improve operational efficiency and storage density.
Warehouse operators visiting the event can find out how they can enjoy the benefits of Covariant’s robotics solution with minimal upfront costs by signing up for the company’s robotics-as-a-service customised subscription agreements and also learn how Amber Industries Ltd – a company with over 40 years’ experience in the automated mechanical handling and conveyor industry – works to enhance the efficiency of its clients’ operations by providing innovative and expertly tailored conveyor solutions at a competitive price. Visitors can also check out the range of automated storage systems for pallets and bins developed by racking and storage solutions supplier, Stow.
With environmental issues very much to the fore, IMHX 2022 will also be the place to examine the advanced lift truck power sources, such as lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen fuel cells, that are remodeling the way that many companies operate their intralogistics processes.
Rob Fisher says: “With heightened environmental concerns, the market for low – or zero – emission fuel technologies is growing significantly and many of the companies at the forefront of the low emission lift truck revolution will be highlighting their latest models at IMHX 2022.”
For example, Intelligent Energy, a leading fuel cell development and manufacturing business, will showcase the new “H2 E-Pack” – a plug-and-play battery replacement that uses the company’s IE-LIFT™ MHE fuel cell module at its core.”
With the H2 E-Pack, when a hydrogen-powered piece of equipment is running low on hydrogen the tank is simply refilled at a unit similar to a forecourt petrol pump. The refilling process typically takes just a couple of minutes, which is much faster than the several hours it can require to recharge a traditional lead-acid battery.
“Unlike batteries, which create power from the energy they have stored inside, fuel cells make electricity from fuel delivered via an external tank. So, while a battery will require lengthy recharging, a fuel cell will keep generating electricity as long as fuel is supplied,” explains Adam Keenan, Business Development Manager at Intelligent Energy
“This makes it a great power source for large forklift fleets operating within busy distribution and manufacturing centres, providing significant OEE improvements,” he adds.
Intelligent Energy is among the sponsors of a brand new feature of IMHX 2022 – the Sustainability Zone. Combining physical displays, augmented reality, and virtual reality demonstrations, the IMHX Sustainability Zone will give visitors a ‘deep dive’ into the many steps that companies operating in the supply chain space can take to make sure they perform as sustainably as possible.
Prominently located within the main IMHX exhibition hall, the ground-breaking zone, which is being delivered in partnership with SEC Storage, will provide visitors with an insight into an array of adoptable sustainable initiatives. Set across 300 square metres, it will allow visitors to take away everything they need to develop an effective sustainability policy or benchmark their existing strategy against examples from some of the most successful companies in the industry.
Harry Watts, Managing Director of SEC Storage, says: “Sustainability is the new frontier on which companies must compete and it is going to have a significant impact on every business’s long-term viability. Increasingly we will see that a positive approach to social and environmental issues brings financial reward, so ‘doing good’ will have a direct impact on a company’s ability to ‘do well.’
“It is no longer enough to ‘green wash’ your company’s environmental performance or treat issues such as diversity and inclusion in the workplace as another ‘box ticking exercise’.”
Of course, embracing sustainability is not just a corporate social responsibility issue – it can be the catalyst for driving operational and financial efficiency and optimising supply chain performance.
For example, logistics companies are among the biggest users of cardboard packaging material and the internet shopping boom has resulted in a substantial and sustained hike in the amount of cardboard required to construct the boxes that protect e-commerce orders in transit. Indeed, the industry uses an estimated 5 billion corrugated boxes in the UK alone each year
But a simple way to slash the volume of cardboard used across the sector is to ensure that, when goods are being packed prior to leaving the warehouse, they are put into an appropriately sized cardboard box.
Sparck Technologies (formerly Packaging by Quadient) will use IMHX to demonstrate its eco-conscious packaging technology that creates fit-to-size boxes for every consignment quickly and efficiently. For example, Sparck’s CVP Impack automated packaging solution can pack up to 500 parcels per hour and requires only one operator while the CVP Everest model packs up to 1,100 parcels per hour with two operators.
Sparck’s fit-to-size box maker is among a plethora of systems and solutions specifically developed to meet the distinct needs of online retailers and their fulfillment operations will be under the spotlight at IMHX 2022.
Narrow Aisle Ltd, for example, will demonstrate the benefits of the Easi-Pick, a compact ride-on electric-powered vertical order picker designed specifically with e-fulfillment operations in mind.
The Easi-Pick delivers hugely improved productivity and increased safety for warehouse staff as they carry out a range of picking duties at both lower levels and at height within warehouse aisles. Its ability to work in very narrow aisles (VNA) means 30% more pallet and shelving locations can be designed into storage systems compared to traditional wide aisle operations.
Meanwhile, a range of storage and picking technology ideal for equipping ‘dark stores’ – the new breed of micro-fulfillment centres that are widely regarded as one of the most exciting online retail developments to emerge from the pandemic, will be highlighted by Bito Storage Systems.
Of course, with global energy prices soaring, the commercial incentive for operating in an environmentally-conscious way has never been greater. With many of the world’s leading MHE manufacturers highlighting the latest developments in power sources and fuel cell technology, IMHX 2022 will be the perfect opportunity to see the latest carbon-reducing offerings from many of the world’s leading forklift brands.
For instance, environmental benefits have long been at the forefront of Crown Lift Trucks’ product development plans and IMHX 2022 will see the company highlight its family of reach truck models that deliver industry-leading energy savings.
In addition to the full exhibition floor, IMHX 2022 will host a multi-track series of educational seminars, talks and workshops, with each covering key industry themes and trends. The full agenda, which is supported by Cranfield University as the official Academic Partner, will feature some of the industry’s most influential, innovative and pioneering minds as conference speakers.
Rob Fisher comments: “The main conference at IMHX 2022 will focus specifically on sustainability, while the Logistics Solutions agenda will dive into how advancements in technology and product design are driving key efficiency gains.”
“As new supply chain challenges continue to emerge amidst the demands of an ever-growing population, both the conference and exhibition at IMHX will provide the ultimate opportunity for this important industry to prepare and protect their operations,” he adds.
IMHX 2022 enjoys cross-industry support from the UK’s leading logistics industry associations and trade bodies, including: Automated Material Handling Systems Association (AMHSA), the UK Materials Handling Association (UKMHA); and the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA).
Dave Berridge, Secretary of AMHSA, comments: “As the world realigns post-pandemic, vibrant business events like IMHX 2022 will provide vital meeting places for logistics professionals to reconnect and discover new ways of improving their businesses.”
Clare Bottle, CEO of the UK Warehousing Association, says: “IMHX is a melting pot for all elements of the third party logistics, supply chain planning and materials handling industries. It is the perfect place to connect manufacturers and suppliers of a host of products and services with the organisations that have the most to gain from them.”
UK Materials Handling Association CEO, Tim Waples, says: “A visit to IMHX is always a great chance to see the complete range of materials handling equipment, from conventional fork lift trucks and pallet movers to state-of-the-art intralogistics solutions, all under one roof. This is a wonderful opportunity to understand how modern technology can integrate with conventional handling solutions to deliver the operational benefits supply chain bosses are looking for.”
One of the highlights of the show is likely to be the special presentation and networking reception that is being held to mark the inauguration of The Supply Chain #NextGen.
Thirty of the brightest and most talented logistics professionals aged thirty years old or under who are considered to have made an impressive start to their supply chain careers and who look set to go on to play a key role in the sector’s future will be revealed at the celebration.
All finalists will be invited to take part in a number of exciting opportunities including roundtables, speaker panels, podcast episodes and more that will ensure that they maintain a high profile in the months ahead.
Rob Fisher comments: “The purpose of The Supply Chain #NextGen is to give the young leaders of tomorrow the chance to gain recognition through an official industry seal of approval that acknowledges both their early success and long-term potential. It is very much open to all. That means school-leavers who have made a positive impression among their colleagues as well as graduates who may have entered the industry in a managerial capacity.”
Rob Fisher adds: “After Covid it will be great to be back at the NEC and I look forward to welcoming visitors and exhibitors alike to an event where it is certain that a lot of business will be done. Every aspect of IMHX 2022 will be relevant for the challenges and opportunities presenting themselves to companies in the logistics and supply chain sectors today.”
IMHX 2022 will take place from 6 – 8 September at the NEC, Birmingham and admission is free-of charge. To register for your free exhibition entry pass please visit imhx.net.