Here’s a look at some of the robotic announcements made this week at Modex 2024

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

March 14, 2024

5 Min Read
John Deere's new autonomous two tractor was announced at this year's eventGetty

From Schneider Electric’s new collaborative robot range to John Deere’s collaboration with TractEasy, Avidbots’ autonomous floor-sweeping robots and more, here are just some of the robotic products on display at this year’s Modex show in Atlanta.

Schneider Electric’s Collaborative Robots 

Schneider Electric released two new collaborative robots (cobots) at this year’s event, while announcing a third model will be released later this year.

The company said the new models enable high-speed motion and control of up to 130 axes from one processor, designed to solve manufacturer “production, flexibility and sustainability challenges.”

The cobots are controlled by Modicon motion controllers, which connect PLC, motion and robotics control functionality on a single hardware platform. 

All of the new models are also compatible with Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Machine Expert Twin, a digital twin software suite that creates virtual copies of the robots and allows businesses to simulate and perfect operations.

“As U.S. manufacturing increases, the demand for smart machines is growing,” said Christine Bush, Schneider Electric’s robotics center of excellence leader. “Customers are requiring robots with digital twin capabilities that validate machine performance to help them quickly increase production consistently, efficiently and sustainably.

Related:Schneider Electric Collaborative Robots Debut at MODEX 2024

John Deere Selects Autonomous Tow-Tractor from TractEasy

John Deere has selected TractEasy’s autonomous tow-tractor, ‘EZTow,’ for its product range.

TractEasy was awarded the contract after an initial proof of concept last year, where an EZTow moved combine harvester cabs from staging to the assembly line at John Deere Harvester Works in Illinois. 

EZTow is outfitted with a range of sensors and cameras with real-time processing to navigate mixed traffic and winter conditions. 

The vehicle can tow up to 44,000 pounds autonomously and TractEasy said it is the most-deployed autonomous tow tractor in the world, including for several major automotive manufacturing plants and logistics centers, as well as in major airports around the world for baggage handling and cargo operations.

“We are delighted to be chosen to join the John Deere supply base,” said Richard Reno, TractEasy’s CEO. “Manufacturing flows that include exterior routes are ripe for automation and we’re thrilled to be leading the way with John Deere.” 

Avidbots’ Autonomous Cleaning Robots

Avidbots showcased its autonomous cleaning robots at this year’s show, designed for industrial and commercial spaces.

Specifically, the company will be showcasing its floor scrubbing robot, Neo 2W for industrial spaces as well as its Kas model, which is designed for autonomous floor scrubbing in commercial environments and is capable of moving through narrow spaces.

Neo 2W is currently available on the market, while Kas will hit commercial markets this summer.

“Our groundbreaking robots allow organizations to simplify their cleaning process, becoming more efficient, productive, and cost effective,” said Mark Stoll, Avidbots’ CRO. “Thanks to breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, machine learning, sensors and more, our robots blend seamlessly into a variety of dynamic environments.

“Whether you’re a retailer looking for a solution to clean both your warehouse and store or a distribution center, manufacturing plant, educational institution, or transit station, Avidbots offers flexible cleaning options.”

The new models join Avidbots’ existing floor-cleaning robot, Neo.

Plus One Robotics Expands Automation With Depalletization, Gripper Tech

Plus One Robotics announced two product updates at Modex to enhance its automation capabilities and expand into new markets.

The new features include updates to depalletization and induction capabilities, which Plus One said offers “significant advancements” for businesses seeking to streamline and optimize fulfillment operations. 

The new depalletization feature leverages AI and enhanced vision capabilities to enable accurate identification of stock, such as groups of densely packed, shrink-wrapped food and beverage items. 

"This new depalletization feature is a game-changer for the grocery industry," said Shaun Edwards, Plus One Robotics’ CTO. "By leveraging innovative vision technology, we can now seamlessly automate the handling of various case pack configurations, significantly improving efficiency and throughput for our customers in the grocery segment."

Plus One also introduced a new gripper design. The Individual Cup Control Gripper (ICC Gripper) leverages Plus One’s PickOne vision software to grasp and separate parcels. 

"The new Individual Cup Control Gripper exemplifies our unwavering focus on continuous improvement and efficiency," said Erik Nieves, Plus One’s CEO. "This software-driven innovation, tightly coupled with our PickOne software and AI detection, empowers users with unparalleled control and adaptability, regardless of the package type, whether it's a box, polybag, envelope or irregular."


Fortna’s OptiSweep Robotic Solution to Automate Post-Sorting Process 

Fortna, a logistics automation and software company, has launched Fortna OptiSweep, a robotic solution to automate the consolidation and transportation of products in high-volume eCommerce and distribution centers. 

The solution leverages Geek+ robots to autonomously collect orders and bring them to specially designed goods-to-person locations. 

Fortna’s WCS software is leveraged to manage and optimize the workflow, connecting the mobile robots and communicating with sorter and consolidation stations to maximize efficiency and balance product flow.

“Labor challenges are ubiquitous across supply chains and this post-sorting process is a prime example, marked by frequent over- or understaffing,” said Rob McKeel, Fortna’s CEO. “Businesses need automation solutions that provide consistent outcomes and can scale to match the spikes and dips of eCommerce. 

“OptiSweep exhibits how Fortna is merging robotic proficiency with unmatched design and implementation capabilities to effectively address issues related to labor dependency, variable throughput demands, capacity constraints and more.”

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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