16 August, 2015

Humans and robots working side by side: the future of automated warehouse solutions arrives in the Middle East

Live demo of human-robot interaction at Materials Handling Middle East 2015 to show power of automation in intralogistics

Dubai, UAE: Robots interacting seamlessly with humans will be one of the big attractions at the Materials Handling Middle East exhibition next month, as automation takes another step toward revolutionising the regional warehouse and intralogistics landscape.

‘Automated Item Pick’ is developed by global warehouse and distributions solutions provider Swisslog in partnership with parent company KUKA, integrating Human-Robot-Interaction (HRI) with Swisslog’s AutoStore automated storage and picking system.

The system – which is the first-ever interactive human-robot picking station – features KUKA’s collaborative lightweight robot, LBR iiwa, picking items from AutoStore’s storage ports and placing them in delivery bins, as commanded by a human operator.

Visitors to Materials Handling Middle East 2015 will see live demonstrations of the ground-breaking system in action when the three-day trade show opens from 14-16 September at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The demonstration will underline the enormous potential of the latest warehouse automation technologies that provide customised storage and distribution solutions for a wide range of industries with high throughput, including retail and F&B.

“We are very excited about bringing Automated Item Pick and the incredibly popular AutoStore to Materials Handling Middle East,” said Frédéric Zielinski, General Manager of Swisslog Middle East.

“The growing importance of automation in the region, particularly in the retail and F&B business, makes our latest product offering very pertinent.  Some companies are already using the latest automated warehousing technologies, and the increased cost of land, the development of manufacturing, and more demanding customers have triggered the need for more warehouse automation.”

Automation in materials handling has been a significant theme in the build-up to Materials Handling Middle 2015, the region’s only dedicated trade and networking event for intralogistics, warehousing, supply chain management, freight and cargo.

A recent survey by analysts Frost & Sullivan indicated that logistics end-users across of a range industries showed a strong intent to adopt automation to help streamline operations, however the initial expense was the main barrier.

Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, the organiser of Materials Handling Middle East, said education was key to increasing awareness of its benefits: “Automation of the entire spectrum of materials handling processes and delivery modes, is one of the key trends driving the industry globally.

“It’s important to show the benefits. Automation has a cost but companies can achieve competitive advantages due to higher productivity, increased throughput and flexibility with scalable solutions.

“With more than 150 brands from 17 countries, Materials Handling Middle East 2015 will feature a range of automated solutions that can work to the advantage of various industries, from retail, hospitality, FMCG and pharmaceuticals to oil & gas and automotive,” added Pauwels.

UAE-based SPAN Trading is another major exhibitor at Materials Handling Middle East which will demonstrate automated solutions that enable the intelligent utilisation of vertical space.  They will also highlight several machines from their new generation of materials handling equipment.

Walid Daniel, Managing Director of SPAN Trading said: “Rising competition across industries in the MENA region has encouraged all businesses to evolve and optimise their warehouse logistics and supply chain, in order to meet the ever-growing complexity of customer service.

“Being leaders in advising and implementing innovative logistics and material handling solutions, SPAN Trading has seen a tremendous growth in the past few years by partnering with our customers around the region, and growing with them.”

Other notable exhibitors showcasing automated solutions at Materials Handling Middle East include German companies SSI Schaefer, Unitechnik Systems, and Kardex Remstar; Japan’s Daifuku; and USA-headquartered Bastian Solutions.

A new feature at Materials Handling Middle East 2015 is the inaugural Warehousing and Materials Handling Conference, a two-day summit from 15-16 September, analysing key growth drivers and restraints, emerging trends and their impact on the regional materials handling industry.


  • 2015