Automation Advances: Companies strive to meet needs with new tech solutions

With trade shows like ProMat and Automate approaching, it is a season for thinking about new warehouse products and services. Some of these offerings also fulfill automated needs as the industry continues to advance.

This month, Material Handling Network talked to two of the companies that have launched new products and services for the industry in recent years.

Smart logistics offering “solutions on top of systems”

CoEvolution is a global company providing smart logistic solutions via software integration. The company’s approach is different from many others, according to Dr. Lijun Zhu, CEO. He said CoEvolution can partner with a variety of different robotics and described the technology as “solutions on top of systems” capable of handling diverse processes within a warehouse.

The business’ fleet management software offers an open control system that talks directly with the machines, allowing robots from that vendor to communicate and work together, according to the CoEvolution site, which noted the company was named one of the 50 top startups in 2022 by the San Francisco-based publication The Information.

The company’s products aim to complement multiple aspects within an operation, allowing all components to function together smoothly.

While warehouses often have mixed materials, like totes, bins, or various-size pallets all requiring separate automated solutions, CoEvolution’s technology ensures they can be integrated together, according to Zhu. “We believe it is highly efficient and also saves a lot of space,” he said.

CoEvolution’s flagship products are Co-pick and R-start, which are designed for manufacturing environments, according to the business website. The R-start software offers a highly flexible process configuration tool, according to Zhu. “We know that in manufacturing, the material flow process is complicated. Every factor has its own process,” he said.

“Traditionally, there are custom-made solutions for each factor. Because we integrate different types of robotics, we can configure these processes using the software,” said Zhu, who described the operation as working as simply as with “a click of a button.” He said the company’s solutions on average take less than a month to set up.

“A key feature is it directly connects and controls different types of automated equipment. You don’t have to spend extra effort to integrate with different types of robots,” Zhu said.

CoEvolution typically works with medium to larger-sized warehouses, according to Zhu, who said in the past year the Hangzhou, China-based company has implemented several overseas projects. The business is planning to expand into the U.S. market.

“We see a significant demand for this type of technology,” said Zhu, who said CoEvolution representatives will present at ProMat in March 2023. Zhu worked previously in logistics at Amazon in the U.S. and in Chin

CoEvolution's solutions allow mobile robots from multiple vendors to be integrated into automation solutions image
CoEvolution’s solutions allow mobile robots from multiple vendors to be integrated into automation solutions.

a at Alibaba, according to the business website.

“I believe the U.S. has a strong need for new types of automation solutions,” Zhu said, noting how it can be difficult to find the correct fit in solutions for specific workflows, and CoEvolution’s software helps negate that difficulty.

Asked about the changing dimensions of warehouses as some companies seek to be closer to end users, Zhu noted a CoEvolution project in South Korea in a 1,000-square-meter warehouse with some materials on high levels.

In this type of scenario, the CoEvolution technology allows for collaboration between different types of robots, like one operating in storage and another in picking. “You can achieve high space utilization,” said Zhu, noting how this is especially helpful for businesses like e-commerce.

“You can predict what’s going to sell very well,” said Zhu, who said the CoEvolution software can accommodate high throughout-put easily. Zhu said company leaders envision future growth for CoEvolution’s solutions. “We believe this market is really big and we believe that automating warehouses and factories is the future,” he said, adding that he foresees increased industry-wide collaboration. “We believe in this new eco-system we will play a very important role. We are building a basic infrastructure for this new era of automation,” Zhu said.

He noted that CoEvolution’s software is not meant to replace the software of traditional robotic vendors. “We believe the customer needs that. We want to decouple hardware and software so we can build a novelty solution in your business. We think more from the business-oriented point of view,” Zhu said.

Robotic cleaning with “flawless navigation”

At Avidbots Corp., the focus is on a vision of making robots ubiquitous to unlock humanity’s potential with a hyper-focus on autonomous cleaning, according to Faizan Sheikh, CEO and company co-founder, in an email to Material Handling Network.

The Kitchener, Ontario-based company launched its first version of Neo, a fully autonomous floor-scrubbing robot, in 2016. Now organizations including warehouses, manufacturing sites, malls, universities, and other commercial spaces are using Neo to automate their cleaning, according to Sheikh.

“Avidbots has deployed over 1,000 Neos and is rapidly expanding its product and customer base in over a dozen countries and five continents,” he said.

Sheikh said the technology is advantageous in meeting the cleaning needs of continuous production environments. “By having Neo take the time-intensive task of maintaining an expansive warehouse and factory floors, management can reassign labor to other high-value tasks, saving both productivity and efficiency,” he said.

Additional benefits are generated in terms of safety, according to Sheikh. He said the Avidbots Command Center reports on real-time data based on Neo’s cleaning patterns, making maintenance schedules easier to track.

And the Avidbots Autonomy ensures “flawless navigation,” so Neo understands its operating environment and can avoid anyone or anything in its path, Sheikh said.

The technology is employable in almost any warehouse, according to Sheikh, who said a single Neo can clean over 40,000 square feet per hour and run as much as 6 hours on a single charge.

The aisle width required for operation is at least 6 feet, with an exit at the end of the aisle, according to the business. “Neo is a master in handling dynamic environments. With the latest software update, Neo is able to clean even more of the warehouse space beyond the racking and what other solutions in the marketplace can today,” said Sheikh, who said Neo delivers a fully autonomous clean in both racking and bulk environments.

Robots like Neo are easy to deploy and maintain and do not require a special facility or staff, according to Sheikh. “These are out-of-the-box solutions that will drive value from the first day they’re deployed,” he said.

Leaders at Avidbots believe the importance of sanitation within facilities will continue to increase. “Across the world, artificial intelligence is being used to simplify everyday tasks. With Neo and cleaning automation, companies can focus on getting their core jobs done,” said Sheikh, who added that there is reassurance for companies using the Neo technology that they are investing in products that will keep employees safe.

Sheikh dubbed the current environment a “robotics revolution” akin to that of computers. “Multi-application robots will become commonplace across almost all industries,” he said, noting that ongoing labor challenges are driving the need to do more with less. Multi-application robots will help organizations meet operational needs, according to Sheikh. “In Neo’s case this includes high-touch surface disinfection in addition to floor care,” he said.

“As a society, we’re well on our way to making robots commonplace, finding true value in the work they do, and letting us focus on what we do best,” Sheikh said.

About the Author:

Eileen Mozinski Schmidt is a freelance writer and journalist based in the Greater Milwaukee area. She has written for print and online publications for the past 13 years. Email  or visit to contact Eileen. If your company would like to be featured, email  


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