A large robotics trade show is leaving Chicago after nearly a decade to return to Detroit.
Automate, dubbed by organizers as the largest automation show in North America, will be staged at Detroit's Cobo Center starting in 2021, said Bob Doyle, vice president of the Association for Advancing Automation, or A3, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based trade association that produces the biennial event.
The free show, set for May 17-20, 2021, is expected to draw more than 20,000 people and 500 exhibitors from around the globe, including many robotics firms with North American headquarters in suburban Detroit, including Rochester Hills-based Fanuc Corp., Shelby Township-based Kuka Robotics Corp. and Novi-based Nachi Robotic Systems Inc.
The date overlaps with NPE2021, which is May 17-21 in Orlando, Fla.
A3 first began hosting a robotics show at Cobo in the 1980s, Doyle said. It moved to Chicago in the 1990s and to the McCormick Place convention center in 2011. It was originally relocated from Detroit to give it a refresh and join forces with Promat, a supply chain and distribution show that takes place alongside the robotics show. In tandem with its move back to Detroit, Automate's partnership with Promat is ending.
Organizers announced the venue change April 9 during the convention in Chicago.
"We're bringing it home," Doyle said. "We've grown 40 percent every year, and this year, we ran out of space at McCormick Place. We knew in order for us to continue to grow, it was time for us to move."