Kevin Underwood first hung out a shingle for his company, Underwood Ammo, in 2013 after recognizing he could fill a gap in the market for better ammunition at a reasonable price. Since then, the brand has parlayed the quality of its product into a premium reputation, and now some of the world’s leading target shooters and hunters, as well as law enforcement and military, swear by the ammunition. And they’re willing to tell their friends and peers about it.
But like many newer brands, regardless of industry, that are making ultra-premium products at lower initial volumes, Underwood Ammo didn’t start out with a heavily automated, lights out-style facility. That was particularly true of the packaging piece. As recently as a year ago, most packaging operations, including cartoning, labeling, and case packing, at the ammunition company’s Sparta, Ill., headquarters was done entirely by hand. Some automation was in place for placing rounds of ammunition into injection-molded plastic trays via an Ammo Tray Loading Machine (ATLM), and operators used an automatic case taper for closing corrugated shippers, but that was about it. Meanwhile, the brand’s growing popularity created a demand that, considering the limited availability and high cost of labor, could only be met with automation.
Continue to the full article here: Ammunition Automation Overshoots Today’s Needs to Future-Proof Growing Business