McDonald’s shares reach record high as it launches new wave of automation

Fast-food restaurant chain McDonald’s shares have reached record highs last week, gaining 26 per cent, as the company announced a new round of automation at 2,500 of its outlets in the US. 

The global icon of American enterprise says it will replace cashiers with digital ordering kiosks and introduce mobile ordering at a total of 14,000 locations across the US.

The extensive automation plan is part of the company’s “Experience of the Future”, according to a report on CNBC.comContinue reading McDonald’s shares reach record high as it launches new wave of automation

Acorn shortens supply chain with Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer


Acorn Sales, a specialist in customized, handmade rubber stamps and embossing seals, says it has significantly shortened its supply chain by deploying Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer at its facility in Richmond, Virginia.

Family-owned and operated for over three generations, Acorn is a self-described “small business operating in an Amazon world”.

With Sawyer, the company says it has maintained throughput, improved quality and reduced its reliance on outside suppliers, results that even five years ago would have been nearly impossible for a company of its size to attain affordably.  Continue reading Acorn shortens supply chain with Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer

SAP logistics boss says ‘robotics and automation are the future’


The head of logistics at software giant SAP says the future of the digital supply chain is robotics and automation. 

SAP is one of the world’s largest software companies in any sector, with more than 300,000 clients in around 190 countries, and its logistics division has customers such as luxury automaker Porsche, and large transport operations such as Trenitalia.

In an interview with, Hans Thalbauer, SVP of extended supply chain and IoT at SAP, says industries are becoming smarter because of these technologies.

However, Thalbauer adds that robotics and automation needs to be effectively integrated into the overall business processes, otherwise they won’t work.  Continue reading SAP logistics boss says ‘robotics and automation are the future’

How supply chain professionals can help create a smart factory 


Bob Davies, international operations manager of obsolete components supplier, EU Automation, discusses the role the smart supply chain plays in the factory of the future 

In the animal kingdom many animals store food to see them through the difficult winter period, but in the case of the Gray Squirrel it has been shown that 74 per cent of their buried stores fail to be recovered.

In the age of accelerated industrial obsolescence, some manufacturers have taken a similar approach, stockpiling spare parts for their industrial automation systems in case of equipment failure later on. Using a more modern approach can streamline this process by maximising factory space and minimising waste.

When German industrialists created the concept of Industry 4.0, they played heavily on the idea of the smart factory, in which the whole facility is integrated, connected, intelligent analytics orientated and focussed on reducing downtime and waste.  Continue reading How supply chain professionals can help create a smart factory 

BMW demonstrates future autonomous and connected logistics technologies

BMW i models at the Port of Bremerhaven, Germany

BMW has been showing off and testing its latest technologies for the future of autonomous and connected vehicles for the logistics industry, although the innovations are intended for application in its own supply chain. 

The company says it will increasingly rely on innovation, digitalisation and sustainability for logistics in the future.

A fully-networked supply chain, autonomous transport robots and the use of existing vehicle information for the delivery process will make logistics even more flexible and efficient, says BMW. Continue reading BMW demonstrates future autonomous and connected logistics technologies

Igus introduces its largest energy chain for light robotic applications


Motion plastics specialist says new energy chain allows for easy assembly and cable routing

Igus has launched triflex TRLF.125, extending the TRLF family to include its largest 125mm nominal diameter e-chain, in addition to existing 65, 87.5 and 100mm internal diameter sizes.

These TRLF energy chains are ideally suited for robotics and other applications that require electrical power cables, data cables and hoses to remain secure and protected during multi-axis movement.

The company – which likes its name written as igus, with a small i – that with this new 125mm size, even stiff or large hoses, or indeed large numbers of individual cables, can be inserted quickly and easily, reducing labour costs and assembly time.   Continue reading Igus introduces its largest energy chain for light robotic applications

Honeywell to buy Intelligrated

honeywell intelligrated

Honeywell has signed an agreement to acquire privately held, supply chain and warehouse automation provider Intelligrated for $1.5 billion from a company backed by the Permira funds.

The purchase price translates to approximately 12 times Intelligrated’s estimated 2016 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. The company’s 2016 sales are estimated to be approximately $900 million.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the third quarter, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory review. Upon approval, Intelligrated will be part of Sensing and Productivity Solutions in Honeywell’s Automation and Control Solutions business.  Continue reading Honeywell to buy Intelligrated

Autonomous vehicles ‘major attraction’ at CeMAT logistics fair

cemat 2016

Autonomous vehicles were a major attraction for visitors this year at the annual logistics trade fair, CeMAT

Deutsche Messe, which owns and organises CeMAT, says this year’s event was one of the biggest and most successful ever, and certainly the most innovative in the sense that there was a huge amount of interest in new technology such as autonomous vehicles.

The motto for this year’s CeMAT was “Smart Supply Chain Solutions”, and the fair organisers say there was a “substantial growth in the number of foreign visitors”.

From 31 May to 3 June, roughly 1,000 exhibiting companies from 44 countries (exhibitors from outside Germany: 55 percent) presented solutions for efficient and intelligent management of logistics chains.

During the four days of the show, visitors saw for themselves that the intelligent warehouse is already reality. Stephan Weil, Premier of Lower Saxony, opened the trade fair.  Continue reading Autonomous vehicles ‘major attraction’ at CeMAT logistics fair

SAP to showcase logistics solutions featuring augmented reality glasses at CeMAT

sap s4hana-cloud

CeMAT Update: SAP, the business software company, will be making its debut as a participating exhibitor at CeMAT 2016, which opens its gates to the public from 31 May to 3 June in Hannover, Germany.

The company will present its new software for logistics operations which feature augmented reality smart glasses and is ready for highly automated warehouses with autonomous vehicles.

The company’s stand will occupy a prominent position in Hall 27, a popular visitor destination that houses the Logistics IT displays. The theme of the SAP presentation is “Networked Logistics”.

Dr Andreas Gruchow as the responsible member of the managing board at Deutsche Messe, says: “This is SAP’s contribution to the keynote theme of this year’s CeMAT, namely ‘Smart Supply Chain Solutions’, which focuses attention on the digitalized and networked value-adding chain. Visitors to the next CeMAT will get a clear sense of the way innovative IT systems are revolutionizing logistics and opening up new possibilities within the sector.”  Continue reading SAP to showcase logistics solutions featuring augmented reality glasses at CeMAT

CeMAT theme to be smart supply chain solutions


CeMAT Update

Automatic guided vehicles that optimize their own routes. Warehouses that automatically recognize missing inventory and order refills in real time. Systems that develop into complete service providers, thanks to innovative IT. CeMAT 2016 brings all the fascinating trends in intralogistics together at the same time and place.

The future belongs to the Smart Factor – but only after perfectly integrated logistics processes create the necessary preconditions. This makes the intelligent control of inventory flows an absolute must.

Manufacturers, dealers, service providers: All of these are on the lookout for new technologies and ideas. And CeMAT is the only place that brings together groundbreaking solutions for the entire supply chain – under the keynote heading of Smart Supply Chain Solutions.   Continue reading CeMAT theme to be smart supply chain solutions

‘Smart manufacturing is all about an intelligent connected supply chain’

gatehouse logistics small

Lars Mohr Jensen, product manager at GateHouse Logistics, looks into the challenges of  the next industrial revolution and the implications on the connected enterprise

As it stands, factories are dumb – or at least far less intelligent than current technology could actually make them. The current industrial production is inflexible and too expensive and a root cause is supply chain invisibility.

But that’s about to change thanks to Industry 4.0, an initiative with its roots in Germany that aims to bring about the fourth industrial revolution. It heralds the era where manufacturing becomes intelligent and every link in the supply chain talks to each other and is connected.

The smart factory concept means industrial or manufacturing processes will be organized in a smart way compared to tired, traditional methods. In opens the era of intelligent manufacturing where the entire production chain, including suppliers, logistics and product life cycle management are connected across frontiers.  Continue reading ‘Smart manufacturing is all about an intelligent connected supply chain’

CeMAT 2016 puts spotlight on digitization and automation

cemat preview

CeMAT, which describes itself as the world’s leading tradeshow for intralogistics and supply chain management, expects to attract more than 1,000 exhibitors from around the globe 

Logistics is as complex as it sounds, and CeMAT, which takes place from31 May to 3 June, aims to explain all the latest developments.

Numerous individual elements come together in logistics to make a functioning whole, as increasingly dynamic production and logistics processes become ever more closely intertwined.

Anyone who wants to compete successfully in the logistics growth market needs to consistently update their own holistic concepts and systems for optimized material and information flows – with an emphasis on solutions.  Continue reading CeMAT 2016 puts spotlight on digitization and automation