Industry association MHI presented its annual Innovation Awards on the opening day of PromatDX, honoring companies that are delivering solutions that address labor, sustainability, and the accelerating e-commerce landscape.
MHI’s CEO John Paxton announced the three award winners during Promat’s opening keynote address Monday. They were chosen from a field of 93 entries by an independent panel of judges and represent three categories: best new innovation, best IT innovation, and best innovation of an existing product.
Best new innovation went to ThruWave for its 3D millimeter wave imaging technology, which provides manufacturing and supply chain operators with automated inspection capabilities that can drive process improvements across their operations. ThruWave’s mmWave sensors can see through opaque packaging, such as corrugated boxes and plastic totes, to automatically dimension items, count items, and detect anomalies, all without opening sealed packaging, according to Matt Reynolds, chief scientist and co-founder of ThruWave. The technology works like an X-ray, but is human-safe without shielding, has unlimited sensor life, and requires minimal maintenance.
Best IT innovation went to 4Front Engineered Solutions for its 4Sight Connect Digital Gate dock scheduling and gate management software. The technology provides end-to-end shipment visibility and eliminates the bottlenecks that often occur at the loading dock due to poor scheduling, early or late arrivals, or lack of communication. The system automates the scheduling process and provides a touchless check-in and check-out system for drivers, contributing to the “smart, connected warehouse.” Among its other benefits, the technology allows companies to proactively schedule docks for loading and unloading, and send drivers to the to the right location, based on availability and upon arrival--minimizing wasted time drivers often spend trying to figure out where they need to go, according to program manager Rhonda Reece, who accepted the award on behalf of 4Front.
Best innovation of an existing product went to right-sized packaging company Packsize for its X7 Automated In-Line Packaging and Fulfillment Solution, which allows companies to create and pack right-sized boxes quickly and reliably, on-demand. New features include customized document insertion, inline scales for capturing weight, and a smaller footprint. Packages feature a new easy-open tear strip that allows users to more easily recycle the box or use it for returns. Connor Pehrson, director of product management at Packsize, said speed and reliability are the hallmarks of the newest iteration of the X7.
“We really focused on the market and tried to listen to those customers that needed a high-speed, reliable packaging machine,” Pehrson said, adding that the new version is built on 20 years of experience in developing the original product.
PromatDX: 2021 takes place April 12-16 online.