The Hershey Company  

The Hershey Company robotics system
The Hershey Company robotics system

At the Hershey manufacturing facility where packaging systems engineer Alex Diaz works, there is only one constant: constant change.

The plant manufactures Hershey products for an assortment of brands, including Hershey’s®, Kit Kat® and Cadbury®, with a wide variety of low- to mid-velocity SKUs that can change seasonally, weekly, and even daily based on demand from the Hershey marketing team, retail stores and consumers.

For a company demanding this much flexibility, its packaging, logistics and material handling solutions must be up to the task. This was the challenge when the Hershey engineering group looked to an Alvey palletizing solution from Honeywell Intelligrated to successfully revamp and automate the palletizing operations at the Hershey facility.

Until 2005, everything at the Hershey plant was hand-palletized, resulting in low palletizing rates and high manual labor costs. “We had three to four people palletizing per line, per shift, for three shifts a day,” said Diaz. “So we’re talking about 12 to 15 people palletizing at once, depending on how complicated the patterns were.” Employees were also doing a lot of heavy lifting — some boxes in excess of 50 pounds — leading to ergonomic issues and safety concerns.

Learn more about why Hershey engineers are calling the system’s performance the “latest and greatest” in the company’s material handling systems, with the help from Honeywell Intelligrated.