Attend PACK EXPO – this year’s can’t-miss event in Chicago, Oct 23-26.
Discover solutions from 2,000+ exhibitors to advance your operations and network with colleagues at PACK EXPO International.

Beverage makers speak at Packaging Automation Forum

In Part 3 of our PAF report, wine and brewing industry speakers speak out on how to implement automation to achieve business requirements.

Doug Gray, Director of Process Control and Manufacturing Information Systems, Coors Brewing Company
Doug Gray, Director of Process Control and Manufacturing Information Systems, Coors Brewing Company

Beverage packaging automation: the glass is half full

In Part 2 of our Packaging Automation Forum coverage we learned about the pharmaceutical industry perspective. This week beverage industry players chime in.

Enabling the plant floor team

Brian Hemphill from Clos du Bois Winery addressed the need to achieve plant floor buy-in for change from a staff that had been doing things the same way for a long time.

Hemphill’s first task was to demonstrate that data collection to identify areas for improvement would not be used to ‘beat up’ on shop floor personnel. Then he needed to overcome old assumptions about how to operate the plant.

Doug Gray of Coors echoed the need to develop systems and processes that enable shop floor people to make the right decisions. Coors has implemented what’s described as a world class operations framework to integrate manufacturing systems with business requirements. It has helped personnel reduce setup time for product SKU and package format changes.

Coors starts with a business requirements document that all operations people must sign off on before detailed technical design can begin. Gray said that it’s proven to be a powerful tool to drive consensus across functional groups. At first this was very difficult to do but now he said it is a way of life at Coors.

Dealing with SKU proliferation

For Larry Trunek of Miller Brewing some 1 SKUs mean that changeover is a big business issue. And with high speed networks and the ability to connect controllers into MES systems Trunek can now access production information up to the second. He can analyze machine stops and starts machine speeds OEE and manufacturing efficiency.

His objectives are to increase design efficiency by 50% and reduce maintenance and training costs by up to 20% while creating scalable systems that use the same code base.

Gray reported on a recent bottling line implemented at a Coors facility to handle multiple primary and secondary package types.

Standardizing across control platforms

Trunek’s firsthand experience at Miller includes chairing the PackML PackTags committee to help standardize tag naming conventions a fundamental building block for data collection.

Coors’ Gray has applied PackML and the ISA 88 principles in the new line project. The main objective was to achieve data consistency to assure a valid basis for making production decision up into the MES level. He urged the need to convince OEMs and systems integrators to implement standards.

Next: replacing ‘geek speak’ with business speak

Next week the fourth and final installment of our PAF report series covers successful strategies for selling automation technology to corporate management. So watch this space!

If you found this report useful you may also want to read the PAF report Part 1 and Part 2.

This report is brought to you courtesy of ELAU a proud charter sponsor of the Packaging Automation Forum. Maker of the PacDrive™ automation system ELAU is the world’s only automation supplier to focus exclusively on packaging.

For more articles on packaging automation visit

Test Your Smarts
Take Packaging World's sustainability quiz to prove your knowledge!
Take Quiz
Test Your Smarts
The top conveying tips
Read best practices to ensure efficient product handling.
Download Today
The top conveying tips