Packaging: Robot arm lifts cases, reduces damage

To keep the customer satisfied, a leading beverage supplier installs a state-of-the-art palletizing solution to deliver gains in productivity and market share.

By ·

Consumers these days want what they want, how they want it, when they want it. So, to meet the demand and gain market share, especially in the highly competitive beverage market with the number of SKUs constantly growing and order profiles constantly changing, a leading beverage manufacturer needed an order fulfillment, palletizing and distribution strategy that delivered on all fronts.

This beverage manufacturer in the southeastern United States has created an overall strategy that delivers warehouse cost savings, reduces system-wide inventory, and creates a flexible environment that adapts to changing market demands. A major part of that strategy focused on its complex pallet building requirements and the need for daily sales orders to be picked and loaded within an 8- to 12-hour window.

The company installed a new automated solution that integrates pallet-building lines (KUKA Systems), and has provided a major increase in throughput over manual operations.  The system can process 5,000 cases per hour, a rate that is about six times the volume palletized manually. It features an automated high-speed layer-picking system, as well as a layer-forming and mixed palletizing cell. The mixed palletizing cell features a layer pick head on a robot arm that lifts cases from underneath, reducing the risk of product damage.

Not only can the automated pallet-building line handle large volumes, it ensures greater order fulfillment accuracy and less manual lifting for the manufacturer.

“By combining the layer-picking and mixed layer-building technology with strategic order sequencing logic, our system is able to handle peak volume while optimally building and staging pallets for loading onto trucks,” a company spokesperson says. “The equipment’s overall design of layer picking and layer-forming provides a system that works intuitively, reliably and accurately, which is the goal of any world-class automated order-picking system in the logistics world.”


About the Author

Lorie King Rogers
Lorie King Rogers, associate editor, joined Modern in 2009 after working as a freelance writer for the Casebook issue and show daily at tradeshows. A graduate of Emerson College, she has also worked as an editor on Stock Car Racing Magazine.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

KUKA · Load Unitization · Packaging · Robotics · · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Gaining Efficiencies Through End-to-end Warehouse Automation
Warehouse and distribution center managers in B2B and B2C have never been under more pressure to scale up their operations to meet customer demands in the new, digital economy. Warehouse Automation Custom digital issue, Peerless custom Automation white paper. Warehouse Automation research papers.
Download Today!
From the September 2016 Issue
The fashion retailer has used warehouse execution software and automation to create a true omni-channel distribution center.
Lift Truck Tips: Knowledge is Power
Software system gives new facility a competitive edge
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
5 Emerging Technologies Enabling Competitive Advantage for Distribution
Come hear about the latest in each-picking robotics, co-bots, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, sensors, drones and droids that are enabling competitive advantage for distribution.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
American Eagle Outfitters’ omni-channel journey
The fashion retailer has used warehouse execution software and automation to create a true...
The data-driven lift truck
Now that manufacturers and distributors are using the data from their automated systems to drive...

Destination Maternity: Destination Automation
Running short of space in its old facility, Destination Maternity Corp. built a new, highly...
Hibbett Sports: Faster, Flexible and Efficient
A high-speed conveyor and sortation system at Hibbett Sports’ Alabama distribution center speeds...