"This was a record year for the AGVS industry," explains Sarah Carlson, marketing director at Daifuku Webb and spokesperson of the AGVS Industry Group. "In 2013, we saw a shift to more new systems in manufacturing and fewer vehicles per system. The economy is improving and more companies are looking to add automation to increase productivity and lower operating costs."

According to its latest figures, manufacturing operations remain the primary end use of AGVS, accounting for 85% of all systems sold last year.

"It is clear that based on these numbers that manufacturers of automation solutions, namely AGVs, are seeing a substantial interest in this technology and the many benefits companies can achieve through its use," adds Gary Forger, MHI’s AGVS industry group managing executive and managing director of professional development. "I believe this can be attributed not only to an increasing acceptance of this technology but also because of its proven efficiency and cost effectiveness."

Elsewhere, the MHI has appointed Daniel Stanton to the position of vice president of education and professional development. He joins from Caterpillar Inc. where he served as a supply chain performance engineer, program manager and technical fellow.

"Daniel has an impressive background to meet the demands of MHI’s growing business model that includes an emphasis on education," said George W. Prest, MHI’s CEO. "His experience will be a tremendous asset to MHI as we advance our strategic initiatives in education and professional development.