Cargill Completes Installation Of Retrotech Automation System

Partnership delivers project on time with no surprises.

Victor, NY and Schuyler, NE: Cargill Meat Solutions’ Schuyler, NE beef processing plant replaced its manually operated system with a new Retrotech Inc-a specialist in the modernization and optimization of automated material handling equipment-automated box handling and shipping system.

The new system, which went live as scheduled over two consecutive weekends, was made possible due to a unique partnership between the two firms. This partnership has evolved over the last decade as the two firms have collaborated on multiple projects for Cargill, including the company’s Friona, Texas; Dodge City, Kansas, and Plainview, Texas facilities.

Thirteen months earlier, the teams from Cargill and Retrotech met to discuss the details of this project, assign responsibilities and create milestones which set in motion an innovative approach to project design and a true partnership between client and vendor.

The new order fulfillment system automates box handling down stream of the case sealers. It receives and buffers boxes upstream of shipping. As orders are processed boxes are automatically retrieved in a precise sequence and either automatically palletized or directly loaded on a semi-trailer clean, cold, correct and on time. The new system supports 53,000 storage locations and can deliver boxes either as pallets or as a box stream to be floor loaded and can build mixed SKU pallet loads.

Additionally, the system has been designed to manage a variety of production and shipping scenarios without interrupting customer delivery schedules.

Retrotech designed and installed customized software which links the activities of the individual sub-systems while simultaneously integrating them into Cargill’s business system. The plan required installation of software three to four months ahead of the designated completion date. This allowed Cargill employees to become familiar with the software before it went live. Cargill provided subject matter experts from their other facilities who had familiarity with the system to help train the Schuyler employees on the new software, significantly reducing the learning curve.

“As they have in the past, Retrotech delivered on the promises they made said,” Brett Walters, project manager for Cargill “The project went live on the date as promised 13 months ago and within two weeks we set a single day shipping record of more than 39,000 cases,” Walters continued. “The system is currently operating at incredible levels of order accuracy greater than 99 percent.”

Peter Hartman, Retrotech president states, “What started as a modernization project in 1993 has blossomed into a long-term strategic partnership which leverages the strengths of each company. Cargill has been a model customer and we look forward to continuing this partnership for years to come.”