Simulation software cures bottler bottleneck

March 22, 2007
Software that simulates the operation of a palletizer, conveyor lines, and stretch wrappers let PepsiAmericas Inc. eliminate backups in its Austin, Ind. bottling plant without adding a stretch wrapper.

Filled and sealed cans make their way into the packaging area and then into one of three packaging options: a six-pack bound by plastic rings; a 12-pack fridge-mate or a 24-pack cube. Simulation of the conveying and packaging process with Rockwell Arena software let PepsiAmericas eliminate product backups without installing another stretch wrapper.


Software that simulates the operation of a palletizer, conveyor lines, and stretch wrappers let PepsiAmericas Inc. eliminate backups in its Austin, Ind. bottling plant without adding a stretch wrapper.

Problems arose when the bottler installed a second filler that feeds-product to a pallet conveyor. The extra load backed up the conveyor and overburdened stretch wrappers at the end of the line. But rather than add another stretch wrapper, Pepsi first simulated the existing equipment and production process on an Arena simulation package from Rockwell Automation. Developing an interactive model of the conveyor let engineers simulate the process with different flow rates, product volume, conveyor speeds, and so forth.

Simulations also let engineers review programming code for the line controller. This led them to discover a way of eliminating backups and handling more volume by tweaking the code governing movement of pallets from the palletizers to the stretch wrappers. The fix ultimately saved having to buy another $150,000 stretch wrapper.

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Rockwell Automation,
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