All eyes on LogiMAT: experts expect these four key themes to dominate

Ahead of the big event in Stuttgart from March 19-21, we caught up with a number of experts in the field of intralogistics to learn what they think the prevailing themes will be at this year’s conference.

This year has the potential to be an exciting one for the Warehouse Distribution (WD) sector, so interest in the annual LogiMAT industry conference has never been higher.

Certainly, their choices tended to mirror the conference’s slogan  ‘Shaping Change Together: Sustainability, AI, Ergonomics’ – but with a few wildcards thrown in as well.

In no particular order, they predict the key topics at LogiMAT 2024 will be:

  • AI-powered digitalisation & software
  • Innovative warehouse robotics
  • Sustainability
  • Dark Warehouses


There’s no doubt in the mind of Peter Altes, the Managing Director of AIM DACH, that Digitalisation & AI will be one of the key topics at this year’s LogiMAT – and many more editions to come – as the WD sector gravitates towards more digitally interconnected and intelligent systems:

“At the end of the day, all future technologies will be related in some way to AI. And we have to see what this means for our industry in particular.”

In recent years, Altes has keenly observed how AI has been creeping up on AIM DACH’s sector of focus, the Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) industry, and this year he expects AI and digitalisation to play a key role in further developing “AIDC’s push to advance Industry 4.0 in smart factories and across the entire value chain”.

Certainly, AIDC technology will be a focal point at LogiMAT, where close to 80 providers will be showcasing innovations such as scan-free ID solutions and wireless collision warning systems​​.

Interest at LogiMAT will be particularly high in software solutions that enhance warehouse performance and implementation times – most notably apps, IT platforms, cloud solutions and AI algorithms designed for efficient process control, simulations, and smart data filtering and analytics.


Interest will also be high at LogiMAT in AI-powered warehouse vehicles, including autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and automated guided vehicles (AGVs).

In the space of just one year, vast progress has been made in their development – most notably in the area of sensor technologies.

Guido Follert, Researcher and Consultant at Fraunhofer IML, concurs it will be a big conference for AI, forecasting there will be a “keen focus on robotics and the integration of artificial intelligence – most notably vehicles and robotic arms”.

Dr Ronald Müller, the CEO of Vision Markets and Board Member of the European Machine Vision Association, has a sneaking suspicion that LogiMAT will offer confirmation that 2024 might see “the broad adoption of fully autonomous forklift trucks for indoor operations”.


Advances in autonomous vehicles lend themselves well to increasing sustainability efforts in the WD sector, according to Altes, who envisages “a perfect routing system of no double routes, ensuring you never have two vehicles in the same place”, thus enabling reduced energy consumption.

Sustainability is set to be a major theme at LogiMAT, agree all three experts, and interest will be high in energy-saving technologies and innovations in packaging technology that use more environmentally-acceptable materials, reduce waste, and encourage more recycling and reuse.

Sustainability needs to be a theme, explains Altes, because there is still a widespread reluctance to invest in measures that many just see as costs:

“They will resist investment until there is a law forcing them to do – even though it’s inevitable and investing early will put them ahead of the game.”

Follert is also despondent about the lack of governance and is unimpressed by the industry’s recent efforts – despite talking big 15 years ago about the need to embrace sustainability, little has happened.

He maintains there are two major incentives to become what he describes as an “early mover” – a company that is able to provide potential customers with a comprehensive account of its energy consumption within the supply chain.

Firstly, investors will reduce their OPEX, as energy-saving innovations will save them money.

Secondly, as more customers become concerned about the carbon footprint left by products, the demand for such data will only grow, points out Follert.

Warehouse operators who ignore sustainable concerns run the risk they might be overlooked by businesses seeking facilitators or potential collaborators who share their sustainability vision.

“All warehouse operators, sooner or later, will be asked to provide this data. Today, they might say they have other problems. And other challenges. But this will change.”



Very possibly the most anticipated theme at this year’s LogiMAT promises to be ‘Dark Warehouses’ – the warehouses of the future, where the handling will be fully autonomous, enabling operators to turn the lights off (and heating down) because they won’t be needed.

Many might argue that Dark Warehouses is the logical sum of LogiMAT’s thematic parts: AI and digitalisation, automation and robotics, and sustainability, but Follert is not too sure they are always a perfect marriage:

“I don’t see fully Dark Warehouses without manual interference happening, as that would result in a limitation of the characteristics of the products we want to have.”

Follert concedes that something resembling a Dark Warehouse could certainly handle standardised products – from a producer like Procter & Gamble, for example – where the emphasis is “full pallets in, full pallets out”, but invariably “a human touch” will be needed.

Nevertheless, Dr Müller is confident the industry is signed up to the notion of Dark Warehouses as a solution for the “gradual replacement of humans”, once it has had the chance to fully the digest its potential. Conferences like LogiMAT are a vital part of this process:

“2024 is still too early for what is a slow-growing field. The reliability of the systems needs to be proven further and the cost needs to come down for a clearer business case,” asserts Dr Müller.

“DWs are certainly the dream of erasing human error, union strikes, sick-days, shiftwork etc. But the applicability is currently limited to warehouses with a rather low product variety and larger goods that are easy to handle and store.”

Altes is likewise optimistic based on what he has seen so far – hybrids such as the semi-dark warehouse operated by Jungheinrich, an exhibitor at LogiMAT – and what he has learned from his members at AIM DACH, whose AIDC, track & trace and picking technologies will play a huge role.

It leaves him in no doubt about their future potential as “complex operations where several autonomous processes interact with one another” – albeit with many variables: “Where your products are low-end or high-end, you’re B2B or B2C, or your packaging is uniform or irregular.”


All three experts are confident that Dark Warehouses will enhance current sustainability efforts.

Dr Müller anticipates some major emission savings in the absence of human workers: both the air they exhale and the reduced need to heat the warehouse. The typical indoor temperature of a Dark Warehouse can be turned down from 18+ degrees Celsius to somewhere between 5 and 10, he points out.

And without workers, adds Altes, there won’t be any journeys to and from work, which will further save on emissions.

But is one of the overall aims of Dark Warehouses – speedy material handling – in conflict with future sustainability, questions Follert:

“Same-day delivery, deliveries in two hours and all those other concepts – it gets me thinking whether all this focus on speed is really necessary.”


Widely considered to be the number one intralogistics conference for exhibitions in Europe, if not the world, LogiMAT promises to be an exciting occasion this year as thousands of industry decision-makers descend on the Stuttgart Trade Fair Centre for expert-led seminars, demonstrations and discussions that will inform opinions, policy-making and investment decisions over the year to come. Among them will be our team of BEUMER Group experts, so seek us out at Stand 5C51 in Hall 5 to discover how your intralogistics processes can be further simplified and optimised.

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