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Artificial intelligence and automation high on the agenda at IMHX

The growing role of artificial intelligence, automation and robotics within the modern supply chain will be reflected at 2019’s International Materials Handling Exhibition.

“The Barclays UK Logistics Confidence Index 2017 highlighted that the logistics sector is taking all forms of technology seriously and that automation, robotics and AI are going to have a bigger impact than ever before as warehouse operators look to optimise their intralogistics operations over the next five years,” said IMHX 2019 event director, Rob Fisher.

He continued: “Automation, for example, represents one of the biggest opportunities to reduce cost and increase efficiency within a warehouse or distribution centre and the predicted post-Brexit labour shortages are strengthening the case for automation as firms seek to make their operations less labour-intensive.

“High demand and opportunities for further market growth are driving optimism among automated intralogistics solutions suppliers and the bookings we have already taken and the interest being expressed in IMHX 2019 from some of the leading names in the field is clear evidence of the sector’s confidence.”

Dave Berridge, secretary of AMHSA (the Automated Material Handling Association) supports this view. “Demand is being fuelled by the availability of funding and advances in technology that are increasing the scope of automation so that now some form of automated or semi-automated approach is an attractive proposition even to smaller companies.”

As part of IMHX 2019’s emphasis on new technology a Future Technology Zone is being planned that will provide an opportunity for the UK’s top universities that are working on artificial intelligence, robotics and automation to demonstrate some of their logistics-related projects.

“UK universities have long been hotbeds for top scientific talent and these institutions are homes to pioneering research and the next generation of innovators in the industry. We intend to make IMHX 2019 a platform where they can demonstrate their ideas alongside the commercial offerings from some of the leading companies in the field,” continued Fisher.

A tri-annual event, IMHX is the largest and longest running exhibition in the UK for the logistics and supply chain industries and over half of the available floor space at IMHX 2019 has already been allocated. The show, which is sponsored by Investec Asset Finance, takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, on 24-27 September 2019.

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