Moving 200 million pounds per year with automation
In the fall of 2007, Ventura Foods consolidated three of its Southern California plants into one new 675,000-square-foot facility. Ventura Foods processes a broad range of branded and private label products including edible oils, shortenings, dressings, margarine, sauces and flavor bases.
With a fleet of automatic guided vehicles (AGVs), the company has reduced operating costs, streamlined processes and increased productivity.
Before implementation, a feasibility study determined the most efficient method to move finished goods from production to the warehouse (a distance of 1,400 feet) with a mix of conveyors, lift trucks and AGVs. The study also included potential equipment layouts, equipment quantities, time studies and pros and cons of each option. Ultimately, the company chose to automate the warehouse with AGVs. They offered scalability, flexibility, easy software integration and required no building modifications. In fact, the AGVs actually freed up floor space.
“If we didn’t have the AGVs, there would be a lot more traffic and lot more potential safety issues,” says Tom Rochester, maintenance operator for Ventura Foods. “There’s a huge improvement in cost savings.”
The system operates for 16 hours a day and moves about 200 million pounds of product each year. The system includes five AGVs with dual-load roller beds and one fork-style AGV. The dual-load AGVs transport two 2,500-pound pallets of salad dressings and oils one quarter mile to a temporary storage area. The fork-style AGV moves single pallets from the production line to the stretch wrapper.
Read more from the 2013 Casebook.