Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Seegrid Corp. (www.seegrid.com)
According to Robotics Trends, American Packaging Corporation (APC), a packaging supplier for major brands such as Pringles, Betty Crocker, and Planters, has invested $150 Million in the last 13 years on new equipment and facility upgrades. Following a $17.5 Million expansion of their Columbus, Wisconsin facility, APC needed to move its packaging materials across much longer distances in less time. APC chose to automate the transportation process with Seegrid robotic industrial trucks rather than Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) once it was determined that the labor costs associated with traditional forklift operations were not optimal and AGVs would be more difficult to integrate.
The programming flexibility robots provide met the wide variety and responsiveness required throughout APC operations. APC can train a new route with Seegrid robots and it’s operational within minutes; that is impossible with AGVs, which are traditionally guided by magnetic strips. Because the Seegrid robots consistently follow a predetermined, programmed route, facility workers have found them safe and easy to integrate into daily operations.
Initially, operators worried the robots would either take their jobs or force them to work at an unsustainable pace, but forklift operators have been better utilized for value added tasks in the plant. No jobs were lost; employees were reassigned to new functions to improve the productivity and effectiveness of the company.
Seegrid technology has helped American Packaging transforms industrial vehicles into unmanned, automated pallet trucks and tow tractors that operate without a need for wire, tape, laser or other automated guided vehicle guidance systems.