Living in a more connected world, where consumer demand seems to ratchet up by the minute, creates the need for more connectedness along the entire supply chain. Capitalizing on recent acquisitions as well as organic growth, Honeywell has had its eye on logistics, bringing the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud software and services, and increased automation to warehousing, distribution and retail channels.
Honeywell has acquired 15 companies over the past 10 years. The two latest acquisitions last year—Intelligrated and Movilizer—were both instrumental in growing Honeywell’s footprint in supply chain markets. Intelligrated is a key player in supply chain and warehouse automation, and Movilizer’s cloud software is used in remote workforce activities in warehousing, service and maintenance, and other areas.
Emphasizing this connection, Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions (SPS) chose the newly acquired Intelligrated facility in Mason, Ohio, as the backdrop for the release of some 50 new product offerings in a recent live broadcast event called “The Future of Supply Chain, Today.”
Not all of those products are relevant to manufacturing automation, but even those aimed at retail stores demonstrate the kinds of technologies that can be used in manufacturing as well to boost worker productivity, including an automated 3D dimensioning system and handheld computers.
In addition to its string of acquisitions, Honeywell SPS has been growing organically in edge technologies, cloud software and platforms, and automation, “the next frontier of productivity and growth for businesses,” said John Waldron, president and CEO and Honeywell SPS.
“The e-commerce boom and growing consumer expectations have put a spotlight on operational inefficiencies and disconnects,” Waldron said. “To stay competitive, businesses need to deploy the Internet of Things, cloud solutions and automation throughout their supply chains.”
SPS has released several connected solutions for a range of customer challenges.
AutoCube 8200, aimed at shipping activities, is a fixed dimensioning system. The 3D depth-sensing technology instantly, automatically and precisely captures the volume of an object to eliminate time-consuming and error-prone manual measurements. “It quickly and accurately measures parcels, and it does it in a way to reduce bottlenecks and space optimization in a warehouse,” said Lisa London, president of Honeywell Productivity Products.
The compact and flexible design, small footprint and absence of a separate power supply puts AutoCube in direct contrast with existing automated dimensioning systems, according to London. “Today, they’re big, bulky and very expensive,” she said. “A typical warehouse can only afford one, maybe two.”
Operational Acuity is a software suite that uses data collection, aggregation and predictive modeling techniques to show operations managers exactly how their distribution centers are operating and how best to improve them. This is a technology that seems well-suited to material distribution in manufacturing settings as well.
In conjunction with the data being gathered by Honeywell Vocollect voice technology, Acuity adds cloud-based analysis on events that occur during work, such as shorts, prompt rates, workflow dialogs, prompt lengths, trouble spots, device restarts, and battery warnings. Through detailed reports, management gains performance insights that allow them to make better operational decisions.
The CK75 handheld computer is an ultra-rugged, lightweight device optimized for warehouse, distribution center and manufacturing environments. It is an update to the CK71, including longer battery life and an upgrade to the Android 6 operating system, noted Keith Bernhardt, mobility product management leader for Honeywell. “It allows warehouse workers to scan barcodes and manage inventory in a highly efficient way,” he said, adding that the simple upgrade process enables CK71 users to maintain all their current infrastructure.
Honeywell SPS also highlighted its Movilizer acquisition, showcasing cloud-based mobile solutions on the Movilizer platform. Movilizer technology handles more than 1.5 million transactions a day by mobile workers performing field service, maintenance, sales and distribution activities.
“We provide the infrastructure and platform for mobile applications to be developed for an enterprise,” noted Taylor Smith, president of Honeywell Workflow Solutions, “with online and offline connectivity so the operator is always up and running.”
Movilizer can be used for work order management, and also track and trace, with end-to-end supply chain traceability to meet regulatory requirements, Smith added.