EVENT PREVIEW: Materials Handling Middle East 2015

A biannual event not to be missed, Materials Handling Middle East starts this week, creating a rare opportunity to network with the industry’s biggest names.
Material Handling Middle East 2015
Jasmeet Bakshi is show director for Materials Handling Middle East.
Jasmeet Bakshi is show director for Materials Handling Middle East.
Navin Narayan, owner, ACEM Group.
Navin Narayan, owner, ACEM Group.
Frédéric Zielinski, general manager, Swisslog Middle East.
Frédéric Zielinski, general manager, Swisslog Middle East.
Mario Ammann, general manager, BITO Storage Systems Middle East.
Mario Ammann, general manager, BITO Storage Systems Middle East.


RELATED ARTICLES: Survey reveals materials handling automation potential l Investments driving renewed materials handling activity l Human-robot interaction demos for Materials Handling ME

Recent research by analysts Frost & Sullivan of more than 200 logistics end-users from various industries across the GCC region revealed ‘strong intent’ to adopt automation in warehousing and transportation in order to improve operational efficiency and processes.

According to the survey, forklifts are the most popular forms of mechanisation in the GCC logistics industry, with 37% of respondents indicating they use this equipment, followed by coding and labelling devices (34%) and warehouse trucks (26%).

The overall opinion within the GCC logistics market, however, is the level of penetration of automation is low, with over half of respondents saying they don’t use automated technology in their logistics operations because such systems are deemed too expensive.

Looking to reverse this trend and capitalise on the latent demand for automated and semi-automated technologies will be the world’s leading materials handling systems suppliers at the eight edition of Materials Handling Middle East, taking place from 14-16 September, 2015, at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

As the hub between Asia, Europe and Africa, Dubai is a natural choice for a central meeting place, and more than 150 exhibitors from 17 countries are scheduled to presenting their products and services at the biennial three-day event.

Headline companies confirmed include UAE-based powerhouses Kanoo Group, Al Futtaim Motors, General Navigation and Commerce Company (GENAVCO), SPAN Group, and Al-Futtaim Auto & Machinery Company (FAMCO). Indeed, a long list of exhibitors are returning this year, joined by notable international newcomers, such as Belgian company Alphaplan, Bulmor Industries from Austria and German warehouse pallet manufacturer CABKA.

Exhibition space for the wider region’s only dedicated trade and networking event for intralogistics, warehousing, supply chain management, freight and cargo sold out back in July, prompting its organiser Messe Frankfurt Middle East to surmise that the multi-billion dollar investments in GCC-wide commercial and civil infrastructure projects are having a positive impact on the materials handling sector.

The Gulf region awarded $86 billion worth of infrastructure projects in 2014, fuelling demand for providers of logistics, transportation, materials handling, and supply chain solutions.

“The continued growth in the sector can be not only be attributed to the continued infrastructural development across the region but also to increasing demand for a streamlined supply chain and logistical framework from a growing number of regional businesses,” Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, commented.

“As the premier trade event in the region for the industry, Materials Handling Middle East provides exhibitors and trade buyers with a dedicated networking platform and unmatched business promotion and development facilities,” he added.

Al Futtaim Motors’ Commercial Vehicles division will be at the event to showcase its Hino Trucks and Toyota Material Handling equipment, including Toyota and Raymond Forklifts, and BT Warehouse Equipment.

Vladimir Knezevic, managing director of Al Futtaim Motors Commercial Vehicles, said: “Thanks to the wide range of products offered by Hino Motors and Toyota Material Handling, we are able to provide customer tailored solutions for each business segment, and hence our target customers varies from small and medium enterprises, to large distribution companies, from FMCG and logistic companies to construction and governmental institutions.

“We in Al Futtaim Motors are excited to participate at Materials Handling Middle East 2015, one of the most important exhibitions of its type in the UAE and the region.

“This event is vitally important to our business growth, as it allows us to present a live product demonstration and promote rental and other services to potential business partners from relevant industries.”

GENAVCO, which supplies high-tech industrial and construction equipment, will also showcase some of the world’s leading brands in warehousing equipment, racking and shelving systems, including Crown, JLG, Weiro, and Flexi articulated trucks.

Asif Khan, general manager of GENAVCO Equipment Business Unit, said: “Instead of providing just a product, we provide a solution to our customers covering their requirement of warehousing equipment, racking and shelving systems. Having a diversified product range improves a dealer’s ability to adapt. If one is not doing so well, the others can compensate and fill in those gaps. It makes our overall business more robust in the face of market fluctuations,”

UAE-based Aikah Establishment, a distributor of engineering products, is launching Italian brand OMG, which has a wide range of materials handling equipment ranging from warehouse applications to rough terrain applications.

Riaz Ahmed, general manager of Engineering Products Division at Aikah Establishment for General Trading, revealed: “We believe that by taking part in this exhibition we would be able to attain new customers while at the same time enhance our brand’s presence across the region. Currently we are focusing on the UAE but are looking at expanding our footprint across the GCC.”

Now in its eighth edition, Materials Handling Middle East 2015 will set out to bring into sharp focus the rapid progress of automation across all sectors of the materials handling industry and shine a light on a wide range of solutions and cutting-edge innovations being presented by participating exhibitors.

Among the headline names at Materials Handling Middle East with automation featuring prominently in their portfolios are Daifuku from Japan, and SSI Schaefer from Germany. The powerhouses are the world’s top two materials handling systems suppliers, and the only two providers that surpassed US$2 billion in revenue in 2014.

Other top 20 worldwide materials handling systems suppliers with a strong focus on automation include Spanish company Mecalux, Swisslog and Kardex Remstar from Switzerland, and US-headquartered Bastian Solutions.

Meanwhile, Austrian first-time exhibitor LTW Intralogistics will introduce to the Middle East for the first time its turnkey intralogistics systems, including stacker cranes, conveyor systems, and software.

CEO Konrad Eberle said the region is ready for its cutting-edge technology: “The Middle East is a fast growing market where we are expecting growth of 15% every year. We think the Middle East intralogistics market is ready for the technology we offer, and we’re seeking firms in every sector that wish to optimise their warehouses with regard to automation, in particular pallet warehouses with high capacity and turnover.”

Automated storage and retrieval systems provider Kardex Remstar will be launching its latest range of warehousing features, including a shuttle vertical lift automated storage system, vertical carousel automated filing system, and mechanical mobile shelving filing system. Robots interacting with humans will also be a big attraction – ‘Automated Item Pick’ is developed by Swisslog in partnership with parent company KUKA, integrating Human-Robot-Interaction (HRI) with Swisslog’s AutoStore automated storage and picking system.

New features at this year’s event include the inaugural Warehousing and Materials Handling Conference, a two-day summit analysing key growth drivers and restraints, emerging trends and their impact on the regional materials handling industry, and the first Materials Handling Middle East Awards.

Meet the organisers

Jasmeet Bakshi, show director, Materials Handling Middle East, answers our questions about this year’s event

For anyone who has not previously attended, how would you describe the event?

Materials Handling Middle East is the region’s only dedicated trade and networking event for intralogistics, warehousing, supply chain management, and freight and cargo industries. Trade buyers throughout the Middle East – from manufacturers, retailers, and third party logistics providers, to shippers, construction companies and freight and warehousing companies – can meet and interact with the world’s leading suppliers of warehousing, materials handling and lifting equipment.

This year we have six of the world’s top 20 materials handling systems providers on board, along with top global manufacturers of warehousing equipment – forklifts, warehouse trucks, packaging, pallets, telehandlers, scissor lifts and so on. Crucially it’s the only time every two years where the entire industry can congregate under one roof and get a feel of the latest trends and developments in the regional and global materials handling industry.

Visitors can connect with leading industry experts and profit from their knowledge and experience, while of course, expand their business relationships. Visitors will certainly see the latest cutting-edge technology in materials handling and warehousing solutions on the show floor, with exhibitors lining up live demonstrations of their latest products to entice regional buyers.

For regular visitors, what has changed and what is new this year?

There are crucial sectors in the Middle East economy that rely heavily on the materials handling industry, and this year we wanted to highlight some of the products and services on show at Materials Handling Middle East that cater to these critical areas.FMCG, logistics, automotive, retail (in particular e-commerce), pharmaceuticals, and oil & gas are all examples of important sectors that rely heavily on effective materials handling processes to optimise their operations. Anyone involved in the supply chain and logistics within these sectors would benefit from a visit to Materials Handling Middle East 2015.

Automation is another key word that rings out ahead of the show this year, and many of the 150+ exhibitors will showcase their latest automated and semi-automated warehousing solutions.

We’re also introducing the inaugural Warehousing and Materials Handling Conference, a two-day summit analysing key growth drivers and restraints, emerging trends and their impact on the regional materials handling industry.

Why should companies attend the event?

Market dynamics are changing and the continued growth of the regional economy, driven by economic diversification and huge investments in commercial infrastructure, means businesses need to upscale their operations to maintain growth and stay competitive.

Various industries such as pharmaceuticals and F&B are also under pressure to increase throughput whilst complying with strict government regulations and the flow-on effects for warehousing and supply chain solutions is that they need to be updated and modernised. The good news is that the latest technologies will be on display by the world’s leading suppliers at Materials Handling Middle East.

The show has always been a great platform for regional businesses to source products and services that add value to their current and future business needs. People use the Materials Handling Middle East to avail technical guidance, consultancy, and to find reliable and knowledgeable business partners with whom they can be associated in the long term.

What excites you about this year’s event?

A lot of exhibitors are planning to deliver live demonstrations of their products and services, and we’re going to see ground-breaking intralogistics technologies seen for the first time in the region at Materials Handling Middle East 2015. One highlight will be a robot and human interaction for warehouse auto-picking and storage solutions, which will be very appealing for retail and e-commerce customers whose operations have a high throughput that requires picking accuracy, flexibility, and fast delivery.

We’re excited to see some of the biggest names exhibiting this year; SSI Shaefer from Germany and Daifuku from Japan are the world’s top two materials handling systems providers, while other exhibitors are among the world’s top 20, such as Spanish company Mecalux, Swisslog Switzerland, German manufacturer Kardex Remstar, and US-headquartered Bastian Solutions.

At the same time, regular UAE-based powerhouses are taking part – Kanoo Group, Al Futtaim Motors, General Navigation and Commerce Company (GENAVCO), SPAN Trading, and Al-Futtaim Auto & Machinery Company (FAMCO) will all be showcasing their latest products and brands.

How was the feedback from 2013 participants?

It’s been very positive and more than half of the companies participating at Materials Handling Middle East 2015 are repeat exhibitors. There are many companies that exhibitors might not have be able reach normally, but you’ll find them at Materials Handling Middle East. They know this is an excellent platform to build brand awareness among existing and new customers, launch new products in the market, and keep abreast with the latest trends and technologies available in the market today.

What can you tell me about the range of exhibitors this year?

It’s a very interesting mix, from some of the world’s largest materials handling systems providers and warehousing equipment manufacturers to UAE-based SMEs. We have exhibitors from 17 countries taking part, including more than 30 from the UAE.

This year’s event will give trade visitors a close-up look at new developments in automation and seamless handling systems that have the potential to transform the way they run their business.

The big UAE-based exhibitors taking part are Kanoo Group, Al Futtaim Motors, GENAVCO, SPAN Trading, FAMCO, and ACME, and they will all be showcasing their latest portfolio of products, from forklifts and articulated lift trucks, to pallets, packaging, shelving and retrieval systems.

The range of brands that GENAVCO will showcase include its Crown and Flexi Lift Trucks, Stow international storage solutions, JLG Aerial Work Platform equipment, and Shantui Diesel forklifts.

Span Trading will demonstrate its new technology related to the intelligent utilisation of vertical space through automated systems, and they will also highlight some of the new technologies introduced by its partner Jungheinrich within the material handling equipment range.

Some big-name debut exhibitors at Materials Handling Middle East 2015 include Bulmor Industries and LTW Intralogistics from Austria; German pallet manufacturers Cabka and Craemer; and Spanish storage and packaging companies, Mecalux and Nefab.

To demonstrate the variety of exhibitors this year, the UAE-based Barcode Gulf is a leading Auto-ID & Mobility Solutions Providers in the Middle East. With a customer profile including prominent logistics, banks, retailers and government organisations, they will present their products at Materials Handling Middle East for the first time.

Meet some of this year’s exhibitors

ACME Group

Navin Narayan, owner of ACME Group, discusses his company’s participation in the three-day event

Give me an overview of Acme’s products & services

Acme designs, builds and supplies warehousing and industrial automation solutions to suit operational demands of a wide range of industries.

Working in food & beverage, retail & trading, wood & metalworking, marine & process, and logistics, we have supplied thousands of successful bespoke solutions, such as our racking systems, warehouse automation solutions, material handling systems, sortation systems and conveyor solutions.

Having over 40 years of regional knowhow, we are able to support large regional and global companies from the GCC to North Africa and India. We undertake all key disciplines for a successful project – facility planning and mechanical design, software and control, build, development, installation, commissioning, training and after sales support – in-house.

What do you hope to get out of Materials Handling Middle East?

The show gives us the ability to network with our industry peers, launch new products and survey attendees about new solutions. The show also is a great opportunity for us to build and reposition our brand and generate publicity.

We intend to showcase new cost effective warehouse automation technologies that are quick to implement with a quick turnaround, as well as order sortation systems and automated picking. We will also showcase Schmalz Manual Material Handling Solutions and high quality conveyor belts catering to every material movement requirement of the industry.

How important is this event to Acme?

ACME has been participating at MHME for many years and has seen the show grow with each edition. The quality of exhibitors as well as the number of qualified visitors have improved over the years. We feel that MHME is the right show for the logistics industry to showcase new technologies.

Will you be unveiling any new products?

We plan to launch a variety of order picking and sortation solutions catering to the e-commerce and retail industry.

What is the significance of the Middle East to Acme?

Though UAE remains our number one market, we have been able to create substantial inroads in the other GCC markets as well as India.

We expect that by 2017, Africa and India would cater to 50% of our top line.


Frédéric Zielinski, general manager, Swisslog Middle East, on what visitors can expect this year

For anyone who has not attended, how would you describe the event?

The exhibition is the number one trade show in the Middle East region for integrated materials handling warehousing solutions and a valuable source of information for supply chain leaders. Visitors get to see the newest technology from the logistics industry and get inspired on how they can optimise their warehouse.

How important is this event to Swisslog?

The exhibition is very important for us. The visitors can meet possible providers and we can meet our target group very efficiently. Additionally, it gives us the opportunity to show our latest intralogistics technologies and solutions to a broader audience and show our commitment to the companies in the Gulf region.

What is Swisslog particularly forward to about this year’s show?

We are very much looking forward to present the power of automation including our new Automated Item Pick concept and the popular AutoStore Solution with a live presentation. Visitors will get their first opportunity to see a groundbreaking system, which integrates robotic picking with Swisslog’s unique automated small part storage and picking system AutoStore. Furthermore, we are delighted to be presenting best practice examples of how automation can support expanding businesses.

Can you tell me about the technologies & products you will be exhibiting?

We will demonstrate the AutoStore in combination with the Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) concept named ‘Automated Item Pick’. This will be the first time we demonstrate this concept integrated with AutoStore to a broad public. The concept combines AutoStore with KUKA’s collaborative lightweight robot, LBR iiwa, to create the first-ever interactive human-robot picking station.

At Materials Handling ME, we will show how the robot picks goods from the AutoStore ports and puts them in an order bin or directly into the hand of a visitor. It allows humans and machines to work together seamlessly and without cumbersome protective barriers.

AutoStore is a unique automated storage and picking system. Since 2010, we have sold over 50 AutoStore projects globally. AutoStore efficiently picks and stores single items and small cases to make better use of available space and increases efficiency at integrated goods-to-person workstations. Robots with transport and lifting functionality operate the system. Equipped with a lift, they retrieve the required bins from the AutoStore grid and present them at the integrated picking stations, led by a controls and location management system. The key differentiators of the system to other solutions are:

• provides better use of the available space than any other automated system;
• easy to integrate into existing buildings;
• future-proof through scalability of strictly modular design;
• favourable TCO (total cost of ownership) through energy efficiency and low maintenance costs;
• low investment through efficient processing at integrated goods-to-person workstations.

What do you hope to get out of attending?

We definitely want to support supply chain directors and industry leaders in the transition of manual to automated warehousing solutions by explaining the benefits of our single source approach and solutions. At Swisslog Middle East, we offer integrated systems and services from a single source – from consulting to design, implementation and lifetime customer service. By attending the exhibition we want to increase awareness and promote our solutions. It’s a great chance to get in contact with clients and potential clients, discuss issues directly and widen our network. On the second day of the exhibition, we will hold a special booth event for supply chain directors and industry leaders who will get the opportunity to ask questions to our experts on-site, and chat about logistics challenges and solutions.

BITO storage systems

Mario Ammann, general manager, BITO Storage Systems MIddle East, on the firm’s participation

How important is it to bito to exhibit at the event?

The Materials Handling trade show is the show where all the major players of the industry come together and present their innovations of the last two years. Therefore, BITO is going to present innovative storage solutions with a focus on shipment and distribution topics like e-commerce, home delivery, and internal outlet distribution to be more efficient and economic.

As a one-stop solution provider, we present ourselves as a German manufacturer with innovative storage systems for high quality standards.

What were your reasons for choosing this event & what do you hope to get out of it?

In the Middle East most of the business happens face to face and not via e-mail or phone. Therefore, we are happy to participate in this event, to meet existing clients, great prospects and potential partners/associates and present innovative products that will take forward the industry of material handling. Finding time and talking about future ideas without the daily rush is what the show is about.

Will you be unveiling any new products?

We are going to unveil a fantastic new product that is absolutely original in terms of features and handling options. Our product engineering team in Germany had mastered previous ideas and designed a stronger, rigid, and simply better, foldable BITO box named EQ. It will be a product that is especially attractive for supermarkets, pharmacies, retailers, 3PLs and secure logistics companies and all companies that search for a cost optimisation product to ship and store its products. In addition we will present our new BITO XL motion bin. The BITO XL motion is one of our reactions on the rising automation in warehouses. This innovative high volume bin is optimised for fully automated mini loads and runs extremely quiet on conveyor systems.

What can visitors expect from bito?

Attendees can expect original German products with a focus on best quality, high usability, quick ROI guarantee and overall efficiency. As one of the leading manufacturers of storages solutions in Europe, BITO is going to present solutions to reduce transportation cost, minimise cost of material handling, minimise cost of damage during the distribution process, decreases order picking time and maximises overall storage space.

What is the significance of the Middle East to bito storage systems?

The Middle East is a growing and fast-learning market that annually increases its standards for quality. In future, especially the UAE and GCC will adapt to international standards to strengthen its role of being a logistic hub that is reliable and on time. Therefore, all logistic processes require highly cost efficient material handling and storage solutions that secure internal infrastructure. BITO focuses on industry oriented solutions that have been proven to be efficient and reliable, whether customers require innovative plastic bins, shelving, pallet racking or any other tailor made storage solution manufactured by us.