Beverage Distribution Case Studies

Arcadia Farms

Key System Solutions: E24EZ Zero-Pressure Conveyor, CREZD

Product Handles: Non-carbonated juices, drinks, and teas


In 2004, Arcadia was looking for a way to decrease fork truck traffic while increasing efficiency. Hytrol and the integration partner developed a solution by utilizing palletizing equipment: accumulation, transportation, and turntables.

"Our first system that we had put in took us from approximately six people on a line down to three," said James Ward, Arcadia Plant Manager. "We went from 8000 gallons of product to 16 and 20,000 overnight pretty much once we had installed the system."

A primary concern for Arcadia Farms was to maximize its space to increase productivity. Hytrol and the integration partner created a multi-level system. The unique solution uses a filling operation for individual products, which are transported to a case pack as finished goods. Quality is consistently checked.

Gaps are pulled as the finished goods travel to the second level on Hytrol conveyor. Three lines transport cartons on Hytrol's minimum-pressure accumulation conveyor, while the fourth line uses E24EZ zero-pressure conveyor to accumulate packaged cases. Cartons and cases are then palletized and lowered to chain transfers. Zero-pressure CREZD chain-driven live rollers accumulate before singulating the pallets to automated stretch wrappers. Pallets are then transported for pickup.

Fedway Associates

Key System Solutions: Pivot WCS, RBE24EZ, ProSort 400, EZLogic® Accumulation

Product Handles: Wine and spirits


Fedway worked closely with Hytrol’s integration partner to design a new warehouse system that would increase accuracy and throughput, incorporate a WCS, and decrease product breakage, which had recently increased from changes in the packing industry. Because less supportive packaging was becoming the standard, it was imperative that the conveyor system design provided little to no movement of items within the cartons.

The collaboration between Hytrol and the integration partner resulted in a brand-new warehouse that includes an additional 106,000 square feet of space on an elevated mezzanine for sorting and staging. Fedway’s conveyor system features cartons traveling on belt-over roller conveyors, from picking to a 60-foot sliding shoe sorter, to a double-stacked roller transfer, and finally to a 24-volt spur, where the packages wait in waves to be loaded for delivery.

Hytrol individualized the conveyors to help meet the specific needs of Fedway. Rubber tires were placed on the divert wheels of the roller transfer for better support and diversion. A herringbone roller design was utilized to stop cartons from hitting the conveyor guardrail and two-inch rollers on the roller beds offered a smoother ride for the cartons. These steps resulted in a reduction in breakage of more than 70 percent.

Hytrol’s state-of-the-art warehouse control system helped with product traceability and inventory accuracy. Cartons are tracked throughout the warehouse and sorted to be loaded on the trucks in reverse delivery sequence. The system ensures that the correct cartons are shipped by utilizing an alarm that triggers belt stoppage to remove wrong picks.

Southern Wine & Spirits

Key System Solutions: ProSort SC, E24™, EZLogic® Accumulation

Product Handles: Wine and spirits


Hytrol and the integration partner worked closely with Southern Wine & Spirits to produce an automated and modular material handling system capable of accommodating current business demands, while also allowing for future expansion. The new system provides additional throughput capabilities and an increase in accurate order fulfillment. Due to the increase in productivity and employee morale within the new facility, Southern Wine & Spirits was also able to implement a four-day delivery schedule.

Shawn Youmans, Vice President of Operations at Southern Wine & Spirits, said the system cleared up several issues. "We have increased our throughput capacity of sortation by close to 38%," said Youmans. "We’re able now to convert to a 4-day delivery schedule, whereas with the old system that wasn’t even something we could consider.

The multi-level system incorporates many unique applications of Hytrol equipment. A prime example is the use of the ProSort SC to sort product to one of four lanes according to destination. This horizontal belt sorter allows for an efficient and reliable method of tracking product to each divert station. The system also provides energy-efficient accumulation of product through the use of E24™ and EZLogic®. By using these advanced Hytrol technologies, Southern Wine & Spirits has the flexibility to grow and change with the industry, while reducing their total cost of ownership over time.

Oregon Liquor Control Commission

Key System Solutions: ProSort SC, Pivot WCS

Product Handles: Distilled spirits


Hytrol and the integration partner worked closely with the OLCC to design a system capable of expanding their capacity while maintaining current demands. Cases are loaded onto simple line conveyor, then orders are combined on a mezzanine level sawtooth merge. From there, product moves to Hytrol's ProSort SC, which then diverts orders into one of four shipping lanes. In just six months, the new material handling system has dramatically increased the hourly throughput.

To meet the customer's unique requirements, Hytrol and the integration partner implemented Pivot, Hytrol's warehouse control system. Pivot has helped OLCC go from a manual operation to a fully automated solution. This solution gives OLCC full visibility of their operations such as the daily order status and wave management, as well as performance metrics for specific parts of the system. With this information, the customer can respond to real world expectations and keep product flowing to their customer base.

"Where we were shipping 900 to 1,000 cases an hour, we're now increased to 1,300 to 1,500 cases an hour, which has decreased our shipping time by 3 to 3.5 hours per day,” said Barbara Feathers, manager of distribution operations. “This system thrives on volume. So the more we throw at it, the more it can do and the more it produces for us. So orders are getting to liquor stores quicker, there's no delay in delivery and we're able to meet the line haul needs of our carriers. And there's a reduction of out-of-stock items on the shelves, being able to get everything to the stores in a timely manner."

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