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Intelligent Control Thanks to MES: KHS Partners with Mark Anthony Brewing Inc. to Optimize Its Production Processes

Press release from the issuing company

  • Beverage group invests in four canning lines and two repackaging lines for variety packs from KHS at its Glendale site
  • Successful automation of the packaging processes thanks to Innoline MES
  • Software system enables automatic media supply and disposal of the lines and relieves the workload on technical personnel

Dortmund – A project of superlatives: Mark Anthony Brewing Inc. completed its new production site in Glendale, Arizona in just 280 days. The greenfield project is among the largest and most modern breweries in the USA. With four canning lines and two repackaging lines for variety packs, the KHS Group is making a major contribution to the success of this ambitious undertaking. The beverage giant benefits from the reliable execution of production orders and impressive system efficiency thanks to the Innoline MES (Manufacturing Executive System) production control system from the full-service provider from Dortmund. The smart digital system supports the processes of the group of companies for the automatic media supply and disposal of the system. This relieves the workload on operating staff considerably.

Mark Anthony Brewing Inc, has been racing from one growth record to another since 2016. Much of this growth has been required to keep pace with production demand due to the spectacular success of Mark Anthony Brand's powerhouse brand White Claw hard seltzer. The group claims a market share of above 45% in the United States with its trend drink in the ready-to-drink segment. The beverage manufacturer worked exclusively with contract bottlers during the first few years to produce its hard seltzer. However, in 2019 Mark Anthony Brewing Inc decided to begin taking their destiny into their own hands and began construction of their Glendale Brewery. They were not done there and in total built three new locations in the USA within 30 months, including sites in Hillside, NJ and Columbia, SC.

Automation optimizes production processes
When it comes to filling and packaging technology for its 93,000-square meter site, Mark Anthony Brewing relies on the expertise from KHS. The full-service provider is contributing four high-performance canning lines. The heart of the systems is the high-performance Innofill Can DVD filler including a Ferrum seamer. The bottler is also investing in an Innopas WICG compact heater, an Innopack TSP tray shrink packer and various Innopal PB NF and AS N palletizers.

The new repackaging system from KHS for variety packs is of central importance for production as the main product White Claw is sold primarily in popular cartons containing up to six different flavors. Previously, the beverage cans had to be transported to another location after filling where they were repackaged mainly by hand – a time-consuming and costly process involving the risk of container damage. Thanks to the new line designed for the production of mixed packs, the cans from the filling lines can be immediately packed into variety packs. As an integrated IT system, the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) aids the customer in planning and executing the relevant orders for the system.

KHS masters complex tasks
After filling, the beverage cans travel to the packaging systems where they are combined to form either variety packs or monopacks. There is also the option of placing the containers on what are known as work-in-progress pallets and storing them temporarily there. The Innoline MES from KHS, which communicates automatically via interfaces with Mark Anthony Brewing’s ERP system, supports the complicated distribution process, as Wolfgang Heßelmann, the responsible product manager at KHS, explains: “The MES system manages approximately 80 different production scenarios or routes through the lines. It helps to continuously distribute the cans to the various packaging systems according to the current on-hand stock and demand.” This not only increases the flexibility, but also boosts the efficiency of the system significantly.

The KHS production control system also plays a decisive role in implementing complex material supply processes by communicating with the self-propelled conveying systems used for palletizing and in Mark Anthony's warehouse and generating transport orders. “What are known as LGVs notify our MES, for example, if there is still a sufficient quantity in stock for a requested material. If not, a replacement material is automatically requested,” explains Heßelmann. This automatically prevents production downtimes.

Workload relieved at all levels
What's more, the KHS productive system substantially reduces the workload on trained personnel. “Operators are able to directly request material and view the status of LGV missions using an MES webpage embedded in the control panel of the system,” Heßelmann points out. It also automatically records all goods movements and forwards the data to the ERP system. This enables the trained personnel to view in real time the current production entries as well as consumption and production figures for all pertinent goods such as empty cans, filled containers, cartons, etc. “Thanks to the automatic inventory check, the staff never loses track of the material flows. This is a great advantage - especially for companies like the Mark Anthony Brewing that have a wide range of products but only limited amount of storage space,” Heßelmann explains.

The Basic Line Monitoring system from KHS integrated in MES provides additional security. The web-based system captures all significant system data that can be accessed at any time via the HMI control panel. In addition, this smart system offers options for fault and long-term analyses. “Mark Anthony Brewing is excellently prepared for the future thanks to our software systems,” says Heßelmann. “As a result of the outstanding cooperation with the customer’s team, we were able to complete this complex task from the initial planning phase to final acceptance in less than twelve months. We have demonstrated that we are a reliable partner in the field of IT for our customers as well.”

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