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Automated/Robotic Beverage Packaging Line

Project Summary

Our Client: Worldwide producer and distributor of malt beverages
The Project: Installation of $75M high-speed, robotic draught beer keg line and associated control, utility, and support equipment.
APS' Mission: During line construction and startup over a period of 6 months, prepare over 30 operations and maintenance personnel and supervisors to safely and effectively operate and maintain a complex new automated packaging line for preparing and filling draught beer kegs, including robotic depalletizing and palletizing operations.
The Challenges: No as-built and very little line-specific technical documentation was available at the time the training materials had to be prepared in order to support the line training and startup schedule.  Equipment was manufactured in Europe and was not available for observation, hands-on research, or photography until after installation.  Many documentation items were not in English.  Equipment manufacturer (OEM) provided very limited technical support, information, or assistance with design questions.
APS' Approach: APS formed a project team with previous first-hand experience with the type of equipment employed on the new packaging line and also with the OEM.  Sufficient documentation was obtained from various sources to enable preparation of detailed operation and maintenance training manuals to support initial training, startup, and OJT.  Training documentation was revised to be line-specific following startup and commencement of production.

APS designed and developed training materials and technical documentation for the following:

  • Keg destacker

  • Robotic keg depalletizer

  • Robotic keg palletizer

  • Pallet and keg conveying systems

  • Keg external washer

  • Rotary keg washer & sterilizer

  • Rotary keg filler

  • Process quality monitoring and control equipment

For each of the above pieces of equipment, APS developed the following documentation:

  • Operations training manuals & instruction materials

  • Maintenance training manuals & instruction materials

  • Job performance aids

  • Job qualification checklists

The operations training manuals described the major components, functions, theory of operation, and routine evolutions such as start-up and shutdown for all major pieces of line equipment.

The maintenance training manuals described routine maintenance, lubrication requirements, equipment troubleshooting, electrical power distribution, PLC control system network, control system input and output devices, integrated process management system architecture, and unique control valves, valve positioners, and flow meters.

APS also delivered over 200 hours of classroom and hands-on training and assisted the client with on-the-job training.

The Results: APS completed the development of all training materials on time and on budget. All classroom and OJT was conducted during line startup and initial operations.  The line started up and began production on schedule.  APS continues to assist the client with a variety of training initiatives.
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