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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Marken

Automate 2024 - Show Recap

Mike Folster from the Industry 4.0 Accelerator speaks with Michael Xu, Business Development Manager with Forward Robotics regardign their new ZpexC1500-L on display alongside the rest of it's AMR suite. Many of our manufacturing partners are looking at autonomous forklifts from ForwardX and others.

Mike Folster from the industry 4.0 Accelerator seaks with Shamil Balapasheve, Marketing Director regarding the growing use of traditional warehouse technology for automation of kitting processes on the manufacturing floor. Exotec recently conducted an open house event at Lane Automotive in Watervliet, Michigan. Many of our corporate partners who discocered rhem at the MODEX show in Atlanta, also attended the open house and were very impressed. The Lane Automotive open house is part of a world tour that continues throughout the year.

Jane Heffner, Vice President of Sales, showed us around a very busy UR/MiR booth. One of the hottest products being introduced was the MiR1200 Pallet Jack, which uses 3D vision and AI to identify pallets for pickup and delivery. Jane offered to host the Industry 4.0 Accelerator and our corporate partners at the new MiR Robots Americas HQ in Novi, Michigan.

Michael Davis, Regional Sales Manager explained Mech-Mind's 3D vision bin picking of irregular-shaped metal parts and other capabilities. Mech-Mind also displayed its capabilities in flatness and height measurement of battery cell lid and tire DOT code reading, utilizing the brand-new self-developed Mech-Eye LNX 3D laser profilers.

It's always great to bump into two of our favorite people at any trade show. Amy Seymour and Doug Maguffee have grown ITS in Fenton, Michigan into a virtual technical documentation powerhouse. Congratulations to them on their recent transition into ownership of the company.

The Industry 4.0 Accelerator is looking forwward to a new strategic relationship with the Pittsburgh Robotics Network. Jennifer Apicella provided an overview of their partnership ecosystem. Michael Magdich was also with Jennifer and PRN at teh Robotics Summit and Expo in Boston earlier in May.


WShitney Sales from ThoughtForge explained how their Active Inference (AIF) Control AI proactively learns from environmental data to predict changes and adapt robots' behavior safely in real time to accurately perform tasks. ThoughtForge's approach enhances robotic systems by unifying state estimation, control, and planning for safe eand accurate robot collaoration.

Congratulations to our good friends from Snowbotix who won the Automate Startup Challenge. Sasi Prabhakaran and his team are from Detroit and received a lot of design help from the Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Tech University.

A big thank you to Sanaa El Maazi from the Quebec Delegation in Chicago for inviting us to their breakfast luncheon at Automate. A panel of experts from MxD, AMD, EY and Vooban shared their perspective on the convergence of digital technologies in the 4th Industrial Revolution. Quebec was also well represented on the show floor at Automate with many interesting exhibitors including Mecademic, CKS, Creaform, Haply Robotics, Vooban, Vention, and many more.

Multiway was one of many exhibitors showcasing an autonomous forklift. There was also interest in their counterbalanced stacker. Headquartered in Shenzhen, China, Multiway has production facilities in Heifei and subsidiaries in the United States, Germany, Japan, and South Korea.

MuL feature their mobile autonomous robotic cart (MARC) and demonstrated how it could be programmed in less than 2 minutes. MuL promotes the MARC as having the advantage of flexibility and simplicity with all of the benefits of sophisticated technology at an affordable cost.

David Guy and the team from UnitX provided an update on their software-defined vision system (OptiX) and AI compute platform (CorteX) for defect detection. UnitX continues to gain market traction in the EV and Li-ion battery space. They have raised significant new funding over the last year.

Gary Jackson (CEO), Matt Joes (VP, Sales) and Joe Petrmale (Sales Engineer) provided Michael Cukier from Whirlpool with an update on new capabilities within their MIRAI platform. MIRAI was recently honored with the 2024 VSD Innovators Award by Vision Systems Design Magazine.

Jacop Vingless from Prophesee (Paris, France) explained event-based vision system to Michael Magdich from the Industry 4.0 Accelerator. Prophesee also announced a collaboration with AMD to run on their FPGA-based Kria KV260 Vision AI Starter Kit.

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