Materials Handling Middle East eyes automation and Industry 4.0

Robotised and data-driven solutions to be a focus of suppliers at the intralogistics, warehousing, and supply chain management exhibition

A view across the exhibition floor at Materials Handling Middle East 2015.
A view across the exhibition floor at Materials Handling Middle East 2015.

Automation and Industry 4.0 will be among the central themes focused on by suppliers to the intralogistics, warehousing and supply chain segment at the upcoming Materials Handling Middle East 2017 exhibition in Dubai from 11-13 September 2017.

Automation was a core topic at the previous edition of the show, but according to industry professionals, the next step in materials handling is Industry 4.0 – the merging of automation and data exchange in the segment through the Internet of Things, the cloud and cyber-physical systems.

Frederic Zielinski, GM of Swisslog Middle East, said “Industry 4.0 has the potential to reshuffle the cards in how businesses operate. With networked intelligence and self-organising production processes, the 'factory of the future' will see a quantum leap in productivity, flexibility and efficiency.

“The focus in the future will no longer be on the manufacture of purely mass-produced goods, but on customised product manufactured to customers’ requirements.  This evolutionary step can only succeed, however, if we finally break down the barriers between the digital and real worlds.”

Swisslog is already a world leader in robot-based and data-driven intralogistics solutions, but will be launching several new offerings incorporating Industry 4.0 at the 2017 materials handling show.

Zielinski added: “Warehouse management software will be the key in the age of Industry 4.0, so we’ll demonstrate our latest offerings in that direction as well.”

GENAVCO, one of the UAE’s leading suppliers of warehouse storage and material handling solutions, will also be showcasing new end-to-end ‘warehouse solution engineering’ capabilities at the show.

Neeraj Mahajan, president of GENAVCO, noted: “The rising need for global production companies to automate operations and foster flow of goods in an efficient manner is the key force driving growth in the materials handling equipment market.

“The main challenge for customers in this region is to get a complete solution from a single source, as at present they have to approach two or three companies for a complete warehouse solution.

“This process itself is time consuming and most of the time they are facing great difficulty to get an optimised solution meeting their needs, and here we play a vital role by offering end-to-end solutions with our warehouse solution engineering to overcome this challenge.”

The 9th edition of Materials Handling Middle East arrives as analysts Frost & Sullivan estimate the GCC’s materials handling equipment market to grow by 4% annually through to 2020, when revenues will reach between $4.8bn to $5.0bn.

Saudi Arabia, with a 46% regional market share, and the UAE with a 35% share, make up the largest markets in the region and are expected to continue to lead market expansion going forward.

Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, the organiser of Materials Handling Middle East, said: “Automation and the merging of digital and intelligent processes and systems will steer the future of regional intralogistics and materials handling.”

“By implementing fully integrated, effective, future-proof automation solutions and keeping their facilities modernised, companies can not only speed up their processes and satisfy changing customer needs, but also stay profitable by adding greater productivity to their supply chain.

“At Materials Handling Middle East 2017, the spotlight will shine on the latest technologies that solve key challenges that warehouse and supply chain managers face today.

“These range from eco-friendly pallets, automated storage and picking solutions, and warehouse mapping using 3D virtual reality, to more traditional equipment such as warehouse trucks, telehandlers, tow tractors, cranes, and packaging.”

Materials Handling Middle East 2017 will also feature the 2nd edition of the Supply Chain and Logistics Forum, which will bring together industry professionals and policy makers to discuss key challenges and growth opportunities for logistics in the Middle East.

The event will also return with the popular Forklift Operator of the Year competition, which will see the UAE’s most skilled forklift jockeys go head to head to be crowned the country’s most skilled, safest, and efficient forklift operator. 

Others leading suppliers of equipment and services exhibiting at the show will include the locally based SPAN Group, Acme and United Motors & Heavy Equipment, alongside international exhibitors including the world’s top ranked supplier, Daifuku from Japan, and Kardex from Switzerland.

The biennial three-day event is being held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, and see more than 130 exhibitors from 21 countries present 250 industry brands.

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