Bowe UK held its second annual mailing forum to update users on its offerings and gather their feedback, while the parent company, based Augsburg, Germany announced it has taken a majority stake in RFID specialist Solcon.

The mailing forum brought together customers from several print and mail specialists including Go Inspire, Integrity Connect, The Mailshop, Datagraphic, Civica and CustomerKnect, plus representatives of the Strategic Mailing Partnership. Staff from the Bowe’s three divisions – Systec, Intralogistics and IQ – presented updates on their respective ranges and offerings: Systec for the Fusion and G9 lines of inserters, including variable card insertion options and BoxIt postal tray systems; Intralogistics on robot automation for warehouse operations, including both cobot (collaborative robots, working close to humans) and fully caged types, as well as AMR (autonomous mobile robot) and ‘tugbot’ models.

Bowe IQ’s software capabilities in warehouse management systems (WMS) and trolley, parcel or item-level tracking via RFID stickers were discussed and demonstrated; the division’s Nick Craven-Smith explained how WMS in some respects overlaps with or could complement a print MIS by providing physical workflow tracking and dashboard-style analytics of mail packs or other print products through the finishing and fulfilment stages.

The customer discussion revealed a strong desire for more real-time information and tracking of products around the factory, with a need for further bi-directional data interconnection between inserting/sorting lines, finishing equipment and production scheduling systems; limitations in product tracking through Royal Mail’s services were also noted.

Bowe UK sales director Andy Wain commented, ‘We were absolutely delighted to be hosting the Bowe Mailing Forum for the second year running; we see great value in hosting this event which allows us to bring print and mail industry professions together to share the many challenges they face within their businesses. This feedback is highly valuable to the Bowe Group as it allows us to drive our ever-expanding R&D teams through the business and truly support what our customers specifically need.’

The acquisition by Bowe Group of Solcon Systemtechnik of Lübeck, Germany was completed in April 2023. It supports both the Intralogistics and IQ arms of the group and will allow it to expand its portfolio specifically with high-performance, electronic locating (RTLS) and RFID solutions, which are increasingly in demand, both in print and mail intralogistics and in other industries.

‘This new investment will allow us to expand our portfolio with market-leading solution components that round off and improve the ranges presently available from Bowe IQ and Bowe Intralogistics. What’s more, Solcon’s technologies have the potential to enhance software solutions from MOV.AI, our associated company for autonomous mobile robots, and make them more efficient with Solcon’s anti-collision system,’ said Joachim Koschier, managing director of the Bowe Group. ‘In short, this represents the next step in the extension of the Bowe Group’s value chain. The engagement with Solcon fits in exactly with our long-term strategy of becoming the single point of contact for customers in all markets we serve.’