The following Article can
be found on the 2004 August Issue of Product Design and Development.
There's a shift taking place in the
material handling world. In order to boost productivity and reduce
fabrication time, companies are switching to 3D CAD to figure out
manufacturing lines. They want to make sure the equipment they install
fits — without a mismatch. The results have included surprisingly fast
By Bart Eisenberg, Technical Editor
Wearing a hard hat and ear plugs, David Gadberry inspects his company's
handiwork on the line of a Southern California Miller Brewing plant,
where thousands of beer bottles move forward like so many cars on an LA
freeway. It is Gadberry's engineering team at nearby Can Lines Inc. that
designed the custom conveyors that do much of the moving. Empty bottles
are filled, filled bottles are capped, capped bottles are inserted into
six-packs, which are packed into cases, which are arranged for stacking
onto pallets. Aside from a few workers on forklifts, the operation seems
to run itself. To demonstrate, Gadberry reaches into the line and tips
over a filled bottle. It catches on a railing, which shunts it to a
basin. The bottle shatters and is gone with no human intervention
Can Lines Inc.'s custom conveyors handle cans, bottles, paper
towels, tortillas, and numerous other products from such companies as
Pepsi-Cola Bottling, Anheuser-Busch, and Nabisco.
Admittedly, this is not rocket science.
And that's the point. Can Lines is a prime example of how 3D CAD is
bringing productivity gains to industries where the goal is fast
turnaround rather than complex design.......
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