Covering all the Latest Control Technology: Automate 2023

May 25, 2023 by David Peterson

The second day of Automate 2023 in Detroit was a huge success! The Control Automation engineering and sales team met with a number of companies to discuss and explore the exciting, innovative demonstrations.

The second day of Automate 2023 in Detroit was a huge success! The Control Automation engineering and sales team met with a number of companies that were demonstrating their exciting innovations.



There are a LOT of robots at the show, and each one must have a method for interacting with the workpieces and objects to be moved. SCHUNK designs grippers and manipulators powered by electrical actuators, pneumatics, magnets, and even the interaction of molecular forces.


Schunk grippers


SCHUNK Gripper


For each task, there is guaranteed to be some sort of creative solution to grab even the most awkward or unusual of objects.



OnLogic is a popular manufacturer of industrial PCs (IPCs) using platforms from the entry-level Raspberry Pi to the ultra-rugged Karbon series that makes use of the Intel 12th generation chipset. More recently, the IPC lineup adopted the Helix series, with faster processors and a tough, fanless enclosure.


OnLogic IPC


OnLogic IPC


OnLogic also recently announced its release of an edge server–a special computer designed to store and process machine data right at the virtual edge of the shop floor. It has far more computational power than a PLC, yet removes the total reliance on off-site computers and servers to store confidential system information.



ForwardX is a mobile robotics manufacturer with an extensive lineup of platforms. The payloads are usually mounted on the top, but the systems include automated forklifts for shelving products. One of the most recent product announcements from ForwardX is the Lynx, with payload capacities of up to 1500 kg.


ForwardX Lynx


ForwardX AMR


These AMRs use a combination of cameras and AI processing to evaluate obstacles and continuously improve the analysis of the surroundings. In the past, path planning was a purely algorithmic process, but recent years have brought massive improvement in the field of machine learning to enhance the adaptive ability of object sensing.



Mobile robotics, just like industrial robots, are not very effective if they are unable to interact with the objects to be moved. For mobile robots, the payload is likely to be a set of shelves or a loaded pallet lifted directly above the mobile base. Seeing a lack of standardized product lines available to end users, ROEQ was founded to create standardized lifting platforms that can be installed on multiple makes and models of AMRs.


ROEQ Platform


ROEQ Platform


Currently, the ROEQ products are designed for MiR and Omron AMRs only, but expansion is expected in order to provide solutions for the wide array of AMRs entering the market continuously.


Universal Robots

As a pioneer in collaborative robotics, UR creates a system of tools that work seamlessly with their robot arms, both in terms of hardware and software add-ons. This system allows end users to choose from among a wide variety of common robotic tasks, greatly easing the time and burden of getting a process running. Many of the application kits from UR+ partner companies are represented in the UR booth.


UR Spot Welder


UR Welder



SICK is a well-known name in the world of sensing, from basic object presence (proximity) detection to their most advanced applications for visual image processing that include object recognition–even for safety applications! Some of these camera applications can detect the quality of barcodes, QR codes, and physical surfaces on objects passing by at high speeds.


SICK Camera


SICK Camera


The most impressive highlights from SICK’s Automate booth included cameras that provide 3D images and point clouds for solutions, including 3D bin picking, palletizing and depalletizing, and even safety applications. These safety sensors do not only detect the mere presence of people inside a safety boundary but provide a point cloud, making them an excellent solution for mobile platforms.



Suhner designs finishing tools for robotic processes, including sanding, grinding, and polishing. However, the highlight of the demonstration wasn’t the grippers, but rather the coupling between the gripper and the robot. This coupling device, called an electric force compliance tool, allows flexibility between a workpiece and tool, compensating for impacts and motions that might otherwise create faults in the robot.


Suhner Compliance


Suhner Compliance


By providing carefully monitored flexibility through electrical control rather than pneumatics, the process can be maintained while torque, position, and force are all carefully regulated.


Looking Ahead

Although this is only a sample of the technology demonstrated at the Automate show, we can expect to see massive advancements in AI, vision systems, mobility, robotics, and sensing abilities over the next year! You can be certain that Control Automation will be eagerly reporting on it all.