When Kansas City, Mo.-based Boulevard Brewing Co., now a part of Puurs, Belgium-based Duvel Moortgat, realized that the craft brewing business it had been building since 1989 was outgrowing its infrastructure and equipment, the company knew it needed to turn to automation to support its growth. In nearly 20 years of business, the company expanded distribution to 19 states and built its own three-story brewhouse in 2006, according to a recent case study released by Intelligrated, Mason, Ohio. However, until just before the company’s 20th anniversary milestone, all of the company’s palletizing was done by manpower.
The company’s 11 employees on the floor produced 300 bottles a minute, but the three workers that alternated the manual end-of-line palletizing operations stacked cases of the beer at a rate of 12 cases a minute, according to the case study. This discrepancy in palletizing was compounded by fatigue from stacking cases weighing up to 30 pounds each, creating a bottleneck in the production line, it notes.