Vintage Wine Estates is a family of independent wineries and producers that distribute 5.5M cases of wine each year throughout Washington, Oregon, and California. They represent more than thirty brands including Qupé, Laetitia, Owen Roe, B.R. Cohn, and Clos Pegase. In addition to their vineyards and tasting rooms dotting the West Coast, Vintage Wine Estates operates warehouses to support the bottling, custom labeling, and corporate gifting components of their business.
In November 2019, Vintage Wine Estates approached Engineered Products about their warehouse facility in Sonoma County, California. They were planning to undergo a 356,000 square foot expansion that would require a total of sixteen dedicated operators, eight per shift, for two 10-hour shifts each day. They were looking for the best automation solution for their specific operation in order to reduce the number of employees required and the associated expected labor costs.
We recommended an automated tug and trailer system to automate long-haul transport within the facility using Balyo robotic tuggers and carts with a conveyor interface for automatic loading and unloading. Hyster tuggers with Balyo robotics integration offer a travel speed of up to 4.5 mph and a 15,000 lb. tow capacity that adequately met the needs of the intended application. The route flow would begin at the palletizer conveyors where the carts with a conveyor interface would be loaded automatically. They would follow an automated route to the racking area where they would be unloaded and reloaded to continue the route to the shipping area for final unloading.
Implementing a solution that was both flexible and scalable was important as Vintage Wine Estates may continue to expand or use the equipment in new ways as future business needs arise. The Balyo robotic trucks offer an infrastructure free set up that makes it easy to change the truck’s route if needed in future by updating the route within the software. This eliminates the need to make any costly changes like they would need to if they used wire guided, magnetic tape guided, or reflector guided vehicles.
The Balyo robotic tug and trailer system addressed all of Vintage Wine Estates challenges they faced with the facility expansion. The solution we provided reduced the number of employees needed per shift to save $978,360.00 in labor costs over five years. Vintage Wine Estates return on invest will be realized in just under 20 months.
Interested in learning more about how warehouse automation solutions can help save you money? Our custom automation solutions will help you streamline operations and reduce labor costs. Contact the experts at Engineered Products today to learn more.