First Robotics Applications Conference Shares Expert Insights With Commercial Robot Ecosystem

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.—Industry experts on robotics standards, multiple use cases, and integration spoke at yesterday’s first annual Robotics Applications Conference. Close to 400 registrants viewed the live keynote and four sessions, which are now available for viewing on demand.

“We appreciate that so many robotics users from Fortune 1,000 companies and technology suppliers, as well as investors and researchers, tuned in to our event during a busy time of year,” said Eugene Demaitre, editorial director of Robotics 24/7 and moderator of a few sessions.

“It validates our approach of representing the end-user point of view and applications at RAC ’22,” he added. “Other events focus on vertical markets or specific technologies, but our audience responded strongly to the discussions about how businesses can benefit from automating certain tasks and processes today.”

Robotics 24/7 and Peerless Media LLC presented the one-day, virtual event.

Keynote tackles today’s hot robotics trends

Aaron Prather, former senior technical advisor at FedEx Express and current director of the Robotics & Autonomous Systems Program at ASTM International, delivered the keynote address. He explained how warehouse and logistics companies are increasingly turning to automation to deal with labor shortages, supply chain challenges, and heightened competition.

Aaron Prather, ASTM International

ASTM International’s Aaron Prather

Prather also described the types of systems that are available, pitfalls for adopting robots and software, and promising systems that are coming soon. In addition, he described how standards developed by ASTM and numerous experts can benefit everyone across the industry.

“We need your voice—those of you that are out there working in this industry are in the field, seeing how the technology is working or not working,” he said. “A standard is only as good as its use. … We’re moving so fast, and we have new technologies coming on so quickly, our challenge on the standards side of the robotics industry is how do we keep up with that speed? We are doing a lot more acceleration work.”

Prather also answered live questions from the audience.

Other speakers discuss a range of robot uses

The “Goods-to-Person Systems Keep Workers in the Loop” session discussed criteria for evaluating robots and goods-to-robot systems, as well as how to determine when automation should not be added.

That panel included John Santagate, vice president of robotics at Körber Supply Chain Software; Bill Twickler, vice president of solutions at GXO Logistics; Kyle VanGoethem, head of network planning at Stord; and Andrew Lockhart, director of strategic engagement and warehouse solutions for North America at Vanderlande.

The session on “Truck Unloading and the Next Frontiers for Robots” featured Tyler Wilson, an internal logistics engineer and engineering manager at Toyota North America.

“The discussion served as an opportunity to learn how the automaker takes advantage of mobile robots in its operations,” noted Cesareo Contreras, associate editor at Robotics 24/7 and moderator of that session.

Sandeep Sakharkar, CIO of GXO Logistics, and Jake Heldenberg, senior manager for North American warehouse sales consulting at Vanderlande, spoke in the RAC ’22 session on “Piece Picking Gets Faster With Robotic Perception.” They explained how simulation can help with planning and training robots and chatted about the importance of data analytics to getting value out of robotic picking.

The panel on “Machine Tending and Welding With Cobots” examined the potential of collaborative robotics and the robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) model in manufacturing. Speakers included Josh Pawley, vice president of business development at Vectis Automation; Brian Havey, director of sales at VersaBuilt Robotics; and Al Youngwerth, CEO of VersaBuilt Robotics.

Watch the Robotics Applications Conference

The Robotics Applications Conference is still available on demand, and registration is free for all sessions. Robotics 24/7 will continue covering the topics discussed at the event throughout the year.

Peerless Media is already planning next year’s conference, and companies can learn more about sponsorship opportunities by contacting Publisher Tom Cooney at tcooney@peeerlessmedia.com.

Robotics Applications Conference has free registration for sessions on demand.

About Peerless Media

Founded in 2010, Peerless Media is the leading provider of independent business content and information serving the supply chain, logistics, materials handling, and design engineering industries.

Its brands include Robotics 24/7Digital EngineeringDigital Engineering 24/7Logistics ManagementModern Materials HandlingSupply Chain Management ReviewSupply Chain 24/7, and Material Handling 24/7. They offer business-to-business coverage through Peerless’ websites, newsletters, and conferences.