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Moving a new product to market. Retail moves fast, and reducing costs is always a priority. Vestcom helps retailers maximize the shelf edge as it serves more than 70 percent of retail food, drug and mass merchants in the U.S. It identified an opportunity to reduce labor costs for hanging shelf tags for weekly retail price change activities.

A CASE STUDY: MOVING A NEW PRODUCT TO MARKET

Retail moves fast, and reducing costs is always a priority. Vestcom helps retailers maximize the shelf edge as it serves more than 70 percent of retail food, drug and mass merchants in the U.S. It identified an opportunity to reduce labor costs for hanging shelf tags for weekly retail price change activities. The challenge was Vestcom’s innovative new product could not be produced in volume without automating production facilities at sites strategically located throughout the U.S. Unfortunately, Vestcom had difficulty finding an automation solutions partner. That is, until it called us.

the-pointPROJECT DETAILS

Project duration: The first system was operating in six months, with dozens of systems installed over 15 months.

Team
Client: 2 engineers
Concept Systems: 4 engineers

Concept Systems’ time on site: 90 days

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The problem

Vestcom specializes in digital printing for the nation’s leading retailers, and guarantees that it will meet retailers’ schedules, so error-proof production processes are essential. For a new product, it required a flexible system that would allow tooling changes as many as six times in each 10-hour shift to print tags on-demand. The solution needed to work with Vestcom’s existing production lines, including retrofitting a bar code scanner to an existing laminator system. Not only were speed and accuracy critical in producing the labels, but Vestcom also required a quick installation process.

The solution

Concept provided a single robot work cell for each of the production lines to pick preprinted labels and stack them on discharge conveyors. A FANUC delta robot, modified with shorter arms for higher speeds, and fitted with a custom designed high speed vacuum pick head, was used for the pick-and-place process to separate the preprinted labels. The robot controller was seamlessly integrated into the existing laminator control system; the robot communicates with EthernetIP to a Point IO block and the laminator that feeds the system sheet, and screens were added to the existing HMI.

The results

Once our team arrived on-site, the prototype system was up and running within 48 hours. Dozens of additional lines were rolled across numerous production facilities in the US over the next 15 months. Our automation results produced bottom line results for Vestcom, which underscores the priority we place on our clients’ business success.

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