Hybrid Palletizing SolutionHits Sweet Spot for HersheyIntelligrated integrates Alvey robotic                             a...
production lines required significantly more conveyor                                                                   th...
The Alvey 780 palletizes higher speed SKUs at a rate of up to 37 carton per minute.A Fully Integrated SolutionThe new Hers...
Palletizing System FeaturesBuilt-In Flexibility for Future ChangeThe new palletizing system gives Hershey the capability  ...
Hershey Engineers Beat the Clock                                                                                          ...
Hershey Palletizing System OverviewSystem Overview:                                Conveyor System:• 1 Intelligrated Alvey...
About Intelligrated                                                                    Intelligrated SupportIntelligrated ...
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Int hershey case_study_0

  2. 2. Hybrid Palletizing SolutionHits Sweet Spot for HersheyIntelligrated integrates Alvey robotic and even daily based on demand from the Hersheyand conventional palletizing system to marketing team, retail stores, and consumers.handle Hershey’s wide range of product For a company demanding this much flexibility, its packaging, logistics, and material handling solutionsPlease note: Intelligrated acquired Alvey ® palletizing products must be up to the task. This was the challenge whenthrough its purchase of the North and South Americanoperations of FKI Logistex® in June 2009. the Hershey engineering group looked to an Alvey palletizing solution from Intelligrated (formerly FKIAt the Hershey manufacturing facility where packaging Logistex) to successfully revamp and automate thesystems engineer Alex Diaz works, there is only one palletizing operations at the Hershey facility.constant: constant change. Until 2005, everything at the Hershey plant was hand-The plant manufactures Hershey products for an palletized, resulting in low palletizing rates and highassortment of brands including Hershey®’s, Kit Kat® manual labor costs. “We had three to four peopleand Cadbury®, with a wide variety of low- to mid- palletizing per line, per shift, for three shifts a day,”velocity SKUs that can change seasonally, weekly, says Diaz. “So we’re talking about 12 to 15 people palletizing at once, depending on how complicated the patterns were.” Employees were also doing a lot of heavy lifting — some boxes in excess of 50 pounds — leading to ergonomic issues and safety concerns. When Hershey’s increasingly wide variety of product SKUs and packaging configurations started to require faster and more flexible palletizing, Diaz and fellow Hershey engineers knew it was time to make the switch to an automated system. Automated palletizing promised increased capacity, decreased labor costs, a safer work environment, and the versatility Hershey required for its diverse product line. 2
  3. 3. production lines required significantly more conveyor than they had space to accommodate. Robotic palletizing, on the other hand, offered a more versatile option by enabling Hershey to send three different lines to one robot and palletize in three different positions at once. This greatly reduced the amount of conveyor required, but posed a problem of its own: The robots could not keep up with the production rates of Hershey’s higher velocity SKUs. Alvey Hybrids Gives Hershey the Best Solution The project team quickly realized that a combination of robotic and conventional palletizing was the best solution to meet Hershey’s requirements, given the limited floor space available. They worked together to design a system that sends mid- to high-velocity SKUs to an Alvey 780 case palletizer, and low-velocity SKUsHershey packaging systems engineer Alex Diaz (left) and to one of three Motoman EPL 160 jointed-arm robots.project manager Dennis Empson (right) chose an Alvey hybridpalletizing system to handle a constantly changing product line. A partnership between Intelligrated and Motoman, Inc.Fitting Big Flexibility into a Small Space facilitated Hershey’s transition to robotic palletizing, a technology not previously introduced in this facility. “Most companies focus their expertise onDiaz, along with project manager Dennis Empson either conventional or robotic palletizing,” says Diaz.and staff engineer Matt Eroh, partnered with the “But the experience that Intelligrated has with bothIntelligrated team to design an automated palletizing technologies made the integration very easy and wassystem that could handle Hershey’s low- to mid- the main reason that we chose to use a combination ofvelocity SKUs — ranging from one to 40 cases per both to meet our palletizing requirements.”minute. Keeping in mind that the entire system wouldneed to fit within the tight space constraints of the Intelligrated’s Alvey hybrid design offered Hersheyplant’s approximately 7000-square-foot palletizing the best of both worlds and developed a uniquearea, the team weighed their two best options: palletizing solution for its product line.conventional and robotic palletizing.Almost immediately, it became clear that conventionalpalletizing, while fast and cost-effective, would notwork with Hershey’s space restrictions. To implementa multi-line system with conventional palletizers, youneed enough accumulation conveyor to accommodateup to two full pallet loads on each line, depending onload lengths and production rates and Hershey’s eight 3
  4. 4. The Alvey 780 palletizes higher speed SKUs at a rate of up to 37 carton per minute.A Fully Integrated SolutionThe new Hershey system includes a wide range of times they force their limited product line intotechnologies offered by Intelligrated, including an application instead of applying the bestthe Alvey 780 case palletizer; photo-eye Accuglide available solution.accumulation conveyor, gravity roller conveyors; chain-driven live roller (CDLR) conveyors and motor-operated One of the biggest challenges of the project wasturntables; a high-speed, laser-positioned transfer car; finding an end-of-arm tool for the robots that couldand high-speed V-Belt live roller (VBLR) conveyors. handle Hershey’s wide variety of SKU sizes andThe stand-alone PLC control system features fully weights. Although Intelligrated typically designs andcustomized code work by Intelligrated. manufactures the tooling for the robots they integrate, the team decided to outsource the end-of-arm toolDiaz and his crew were especially impressed based on the product specifications for this project.with the photo-eye Accuglide powered roller conveyor, They chose to use a UniGripper® flexible vacuum toolwhich provides zero-pressure accumulation of cartons. from Tepro Machine & Pac System, which activates“The Accuglide conveyors are excellent,” says Diaz. specific vacuum areas to create the necessary lifting“And the fact that the Intelligrated team was able to forces for each package, based on the shape andintegrate all these conveyors with their equipment location of cases programmed into the system. “I’vemade it much easier for us to get the complete installed some other robots, and this was by far thepackage.” easiest-to-use and most versatile end-of-arm tool I have ever worked with,” says Empson.Intelligrated maintains the breadth of product linethat allowed Hershey to choose the equipment thatbest suited their requirements for the lowest cost.A lot of integrators make the same claim but many 4
  5. 5. Palletizing System FeaturesBuilt-In Flexibility for Future ChangeThe new palletizing system gives Hershey the capability analyze the new pattern requirements, ensure thatto easily integrate the remaining hand-palletized lines existing patterns would not be adversely affected,into the automated system by adding a spur conveyor program the changes, and then upload the codeand possibly a fourth robot based on future demand. back to us. With the Intelligrated pattern generation software, the Hershey plant operator can directlyThis built-in flexibility is something that Diaz agrees program the new pattern into the palletizer, test it,should be standard on all material handling systems. and have it operational in a matter of hours.”“Most of the SKUs that we started the project withwere not being produced by the time we got the The software is controlled by an easy-to-use touchsystem running,” says Diaz. Three new patterns screen display directly connected to the Alvey 780.were added to the Alvey 780 palletizer before on- After entering a password-protected “utility” mode,site work began, and up to 50 percent of product Hershey plant operators can add new patterns andsizes and patterns were changed before installation make changes in real time. “The pattern generationwas complete. Because of these packaging changes, software is a recommendation I would give anyone forHershey commissioned the installation of pattern this type of system,” continues Diaz. “It gives us thegeneration software for the Alvey 780, which Hershey flexibility to make changes ourselves and get the newhad chosen not to include in the original system design. packaging configurations up and running quickly. With six new SKUs it pays for itself.”“At first, when our packaging department cameto us with a new pattern we had to send it to theIntelligrated team to make changes to the PLC code,” Training for Hershey Plant Operatorsexplains Diaz. “This process required an engineer to As part of the contract, on-site Alvey palletizer training was provided to more than 30 Hershey employees, including all of the plant’s forklift operators and electrical technicians. Select Hershey mechanics also visited Motoman for additional training on the robotic palletizers. “Once we reached the point where the operators were comfortable with the system, we’ve been running efficiently,” says Diaz. “The fact that we have yet to call Intelligrated to make adjustments to the system is a testament to just how well the training worked,” adds Empson.An Intelligrated laser positioned rail running transfer car bringscompleted loads from the robots to a turn table that directsthem to the stretch wrapper. 5
  6. 6. Hershey Engineers Beat the Clock From the KitchenThe integration team faced an aggressive timeline to the Consumerfor installation of the new palletizing system. In the main hallway of the Hershey manufacturing facility,Once the installation process began, the Hershey an overhead system of conveyorsteam tore out conveyors, vacuum lifts, and other and merges bring cartons of finished Hershey products to thehand-palletizing equipment and employed hand palletizing room from various production operations aroundpalletizing in other areas throughout the plant. the plant. Hershey has used Alvey palletizers forCrews worked multiple shifts and overtime in a more than 30 years. The Alvey Series SKUs with high production rates 300 automated palletizer, introduced enter on the high-speed line,very tight space, but their hard work paid off. “We which leads directly to the Alvey in 1959, is shown here handling casesinstalled the entire system in five weeks and had it 780 case palletizer. A bar code of Hershey’s Kisses ® in the 1970’s. scanner identifies each SKU andcommissioned in three and a half weeks,” says Diaz. its associated pattern, letting theWorking long hours, Hershey engineers checked the wiring of the entire system in less Alvey 780 immediately palletize up to 37 cartons per minute.than three days, an impressive feat. Intelligrated customer service engineers (CSE’s) Positively driven, heavy-duty chain-driven live roller (CDLR)provided Hershey with technical support during installation and commissioning to help conveyors and a motor-operatedthe team get the project completed. turntable direct each complete load to a stretchwrapper capable of handling up to 60 loads“We had a CSE come out who was excellent on both the conventional palletizer and the per hour.robot,” says Diaz. “He got up to speed very quickly and worked with us to move the Lower-velocity SKUs enter theproject to completion.” palletizing room via three lines of case conveyor. Cartons are scanned and sorted at up to 25 cartons per minute by air-Safe, Reliable, and Easy-to-Maintain operated right-angle pushersSolution Provides a Real ROI into seven lines feeding three Motoman EPL 160 jointed-arm robots, or bypass the robots to an optional hand-palletizingSince the completion of the project in June 2006, Hershey has seen increases in lane. The robotic portion of the system uses a laser-positionedpalletizing speed and efficiency, and has had no major problems with the equipment or rail-running transfer car tothe system to report. The equipment, which has proven to be reliable, is saving Hershey transfer the palletized loads to the turntable with high speeda great deal of money on manual labor costs, as well as greater potential savings from and accuracy. The turntable thenreducing ergonomic complaints. directs the palletized loads to the stretchwrapper.Hershey engineers are happy with the system’s performance, and Empson has called The entire system feeds a single drop-off point, wherethe palletizing solution the “latest and greatest” in Hershey material handling systems. fork trucks take the loads toIntelligrated’s team agrees that this has been a very successful project for everyone the storage area until they are shipped to a distribution centerinvolved and looks forward to continuing to provide Hershey with the best material (DC) for direct retail to masshandling solutions on the market. markets. All the products in the automated palletizing process are palletized on cardboard slipThroughout the course of his first major material handling project, Diaz says he learned a sheets instead of traditionallot about adapting to new technologies and being prepared for future change. “Basically, wooden pallets. “By removing a pallet dispenser we saved twonearly everything you plan has changed by the time you implement it,” notes Diaz, things: space and money,” Diaz explains. “We do not ship onreferring to the constant packaging changes he faced during the project. “Change pallets, so the forklift operatorscomes quickly- and you have to adapt to it as quickly as possible to be successful.” only need to drive one type of forklift now instead of two.” 6
  7. 7. Hershey Palletizing System OverviewSystem Overview: Conveyor System:• 1 Intelligrated Alvey 780 case palletizer Intelligrated with slip sheet dispenser• 3 Motoman robotic arms with Robotic Arms: UniGripper intelligent vacuum tools ® Motoman• Intelligrated Accuglide conveyor• Intelligrated belt conveyor Intelligent Vacuum Tool:• Intelligrated V-Belt live roller Tepro Machine & Pac System (VBLR) conveyor• Intelligrated E-Z Set® live Controls & Programming Software: roller conveyor Intelligrated• Intelligrated gravity roller conveyor• Intelligrated chain-driven System Design: live roller (CDLR) Intelligrated• Intelligrated merges• Intelligrated laser-positioned transfer car System Integration:• Intelligrated motor-operated turntable Intelligrated• Intelligrated air-operated pushers• ITW Muller Octopus stretch wrapper 7
  8. 8. About Intelligrated Intelligrated SupportIntelligrated is a leading American-owned supplier The in-house Customer Service and Support (CSS)of automated material handling solutions with program offered by Intelligrated backs all of ouroperations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. products. Services available include:Headquartered in Mason, Ohio, a northern suburbof Cincinnati, Intelligrated is a manufacturer and • Individual repairssolutions provider of high-speed sortation, conveyor • System auditsand material handling software and controls—all • Scheduled maintenancesupported by 24x7 Customer Service. • On-site operator training • Spare partsThe acquisition in 2009 of automated materialhandling supplier FKI Logistex® ( • Modificationsexpands the Intelligrated product line to includeAlvey® palletizers, Real Time Solutions® order CSS is available 24/7 to provide all of the servicesfulfillment systems, and Crisplant® tilt-tray needed to keep your equipment running atand cross-belt sorters. peak efficiency. Whether it’s on-site support or troubleshooting via our hotline, Intelligrated has the most comprehensive customer support programIntelligrated provides world-class material handling in the for the warehousing, distribution, consumerproduct manufacturing, airport, post andparcel markets. Service and Parts Hotline Phone + 1 877.315.3400 www.ontimeparts.comIntelligrated Productsand Services• Systems Integration• Sortation Systems• Conveyor Systems• Palletizing Solutions• Software & Controls• Order Fulfillment Systems• 24x7 Technical Support Headquarters in Mason, Ohio• Design & Build For more information, contact: 7901 Innovation Way, Mason, Ohio 45040 + 1 866.936.7300 www.intelligrated.comCSH01 9.09 © 2009 Intelligrated. All rights reserved. Alvey® is a Registered trademark of Intelligrated Inc.