Briefing: Westfalia Technologies, Inc. Automates Pepsi Beverage Company's Tampa Facility

The Pepsi Bottling Group is the largest manufacturer, seller and distributor of Pepsi beverages, with over 100 plants worldwide and 545 distribution centers.  Among the brands they handle are Pepsi, Aquafina, Aqua Minerale, Tropicana, Lipton Iced Tea, Starbucks Frappuccino, Dole juices, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist and the SoBe line of beverages.

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Case Study: Westfalia Technologies, Inc. Automates Pepsi Beverage Company's Tampa Facility

Challenge: Integrates High Speed Layer Picking & Mixed Case Palletizing

The Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG), located in Tampa, Florida, needed a warehousing solution that would maximize their storage space and increase efficiency at peak times. Without this, production wouldn't be quick enough to keep up with the increasing demand of their products. Turning to automation would allow the company to keep up with their customer needs.

Solution: Going Green with Automation

PBG partnered with Westfalia to install a flexible, high density automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS)  for their Tampa facility to meet their need for maximum storage and high throughput. The AS/RS provides a buffer for handling peak production from their bottling plant, and aids in preparing various types of pallets to ship to customers. It was decided that a   made the most sense for PBG's unique needs. Westfalia’s Savanna.NET® warehouse execution system (WES) manages and controls all product flows throughout the facility from receiving to order fulfillment. It is a complex system as PBG requires full layer and mixed layer palletizing in order to have ‘store ready’ pallets loaded onto their straight and bay trucks. The company needed the system for product arriving from their own facility as well as outside bottling operations. Among the technologies controlled via Savanna.NET® WES are the two Storage/Retrieval Machines (SRMs) in the AS/RS, conveying systems for pallets and cases, five KUKA robots for layer picking and palletizing, pallet squaring stations, stretch-wrapping, and print and apply labeling. Westfalia's Satellite® technology allows each S/RM to handle two pallets at a time, which makes for lower energy consumption and lower system maintenance for the company.

Pepsi’s commitment to the environment, and to the ‘reduce waste’ principles of Six Sigma, attracted them to Westfalia’s Go Green with High Density AS/RS design.  Compared to a conventional warehouse, the multiple deep design has major financial benefits as storage space is maximized, which translates into reduced construction costs, lower sustainable operating costs (reduced energy, labor and product waste costs), as well as increased inventory accuracy. An addition to the existing facility, this new compact warehouse uses only 30% of the footprint of a conventional facility, thereby having less impact on the environment too. 

From the bottling lines, palletized products are delivered to the AS/RS for storage.  As pallets are needed for order selection, they are placed by the SRMs into pick and build positions, and transferred via Westfalia’s single transfer car into a buffer zone serviced by a KUKA Linear Gantry. Known as a high speed layer pick (HSLP) system, the gantry picks single SKU layers at the rate of 3,000 cases per hour utilizing two robotic layer grippers suspended from an overhead gantry.  Two additional robotic gantry grippers are used to remove and replenish the empty pallets.  Another component of the automated system is the mixed layer pick (MXLP) system, which through manual pick-to-light case picking, automated material handling conveyors and robotic palletizing form and build layers of mixed SKUs by like package type cases, at a rate of 2,000 per hour.  These HSLP and MXLP rates are over five times the manual pick rates of PBC’s traditional warehouses.  KUKA Systems’ unique layer forming software is used to build the layers, and all product movements and robot missions are tracked and managed by Savanna.NET WES. 

With all of these new benefits the company has received by turning to automation, their success and productivity will significantly increase.

System Features:

  • Technology:

    • High Density AS/RS with 2 S/RMs operating in a single aisle
    • Savanna.NET Warehouse Execution Software integrates with PBG’s existing EPR and WMS
    • Integration with KUKA full layer palletizing and mixed layer palletizing robots
    • 3-rail system
    • WES 
  • Size:

    • 13 levels holding over 12,000 pallets
    • smaller building footprint (less impact on the environment)

System Benefits:

By teaming up with Westfalia, Pepsi Bottling Group has:

  • Increased productivity
  • Decreased human labor
  • Decreased number of errors
  • Decreased costs and maintenance
  • Become more eco-friendly

Our Mission: To deliver unparalleled warehousing solutions by earning the trust of our customers, understanding their business needs and honoring the commitments we make.