At the recent Hannover Fair industrial trade show in Hannover, Germany, more than 130,000 attendees from across the globe came together to experience the latest technology and products over the five day event. Visitors to the huge Microsoft booth were able to explore four key areas for the future of manufacturing: empowering a connected workforce, fueling intelligent engineering and factories with the industrial metaverse, building agile supply chains, and accelerating sustainability.
Dominik Wee, Corporate VP, Manufacturing and Mobility Industry, explained that “powering these trends is artificial intelligence, which offers more potential for our industry than anything we’ve ever experienced, and we are just scratching the surface of what’s possible.”
I spoke with Jonas Wilberg, Manager, Sales Support, for Toyota Forklifts, which had some of its capabilities displayed in the booth, highlighting the ability for the two companies to optimize fulfillment with warehouse automation.
“We interact with Microsoft, with our ERP, the warehouse management system (WMS) and how they’re keeping track of the pallets, where they’re supposed to be, and the manufacturing process. Let’s say you work in the WMS, and you want to have a pallet transported from point A to point B,” explained Wilberg. “Normally, if you have a manual process, you would have the WMS send that transport request to a manual driver, it pops up on the display. But in this case, we have a pre-integrated solution where the Microsoft solution would send it to the Toyota solution; and we would, with our ADVs, come and pick up the pallet and move it to the destination instead.”
Wilberg said that Toyota’s technology in this area has been around for quite some time, but that the collaboration with Microsoft is fairly new — giving engineers working with warehouse management system plenty more to think about in the future.
Filed Under: Warehouse automation, ALL INDUSTRY NEWS • PROFILES • COMMENTARIES