Wisconsin State Journal Looks at Seegrid Robotic Industrial Trucks and American Packaging Corp.
Pittsburgh, PA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/04/2012 -- Barry Adams of the Wisconsin State Journal recently reported that American Packaging Corp.'s Rotogravure Printing & Laminating Division is in the break room.
Adams reported by using 75-foot-long, two-story-high printing presses, ink by the barrel and computerized systems operated by skilled workers with a keen eye for color, APC creates millions of colorful packages and labels a year. The majority are for familiar food products like Klondike Bar, Pringles potato chips, M&M's, refrigerated dough by Pillsbury and Tyson chicken.
"It has to look like you want to eat this label," said Jeff Koch, the company's operations manager, as he pointed to what will become a beef fajitas package for John Soules Foods.
A nearly completed $17.5 million expansion at the plant means those realistic-looking images will be made here for years to come. The project, which began in March 2011, includes a 100,000-square-foot addition for warehouse space and room for a $7.5 million Italian-made rotogravure press capable of printing 1,500 lineal feet of paper, film or foil per minute.
The addition will mean 47 new jobs for the company and capacity for $30 million a year in additional sales. In 2012, the Columbus division is expected to have $150 million in sales, more than double from 10 years ago, and it will produce more than 1 billion lineal feet of packaging products, said Koch.
"This plant has consistently delivered on the ROI (return on investment)," Koch said. "We execute. What we say we're going to do, we've done. We have proven over 40 years that this group and this team is a very good investment."
And more projects are being discussed, reported Adams. There is talk of further expansions in three years that could eventually add two more of the massive rotogravure presses, which use a series of metal rollers, each assigned its own color and etching, to build an image during the printing process.
The current expansion included the purchase of eight acres and the conversion of a 60,000-square-foot former Wausau Paper Corp. building into production and warehouse space.
A corridor with natural light was built around the plant to allow unmanned robotic forklifts to move labels and printing rolls from station to station, reducing forklift traffic in primary production areas, Koch said.
Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Seegrid Corp. (http://www.seegrid.com) brings robotic vision-guided technology to the material handling industry. Seegrid offers solutions that optimize workflow processes by increasing productivity and reducing costs, creating economic and operational advantages.
The American Packaging project, which increased the plant to 400,000 square feet, includes space for a 4,000-position, 50-foot-high storage rack to hold the 5-foot-long rollers used on the printing presses. The mechanical rack system, when completed in May, will increase storage capacity to 19,000 rollers.
Seegrid technology has helped American Packaging transform 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. The following video link shows Seegrid in action: http://www.seegrid.com/viewvideo/33/how-it-works-and-more/look-at-your-robot-now-back-at-me.html.