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Lion Beer Australia has future-proofed its supply chain and manufacturing operations at its Tooheys Brewery in Lidcombe, NSW, with Dematic Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs).

The Tooheys facility brews up to 300 million litres of beer per year and produces up to 120,000 cartons of product per day, which is equivalent to two million litres per day. 

With the beverage supply chain running in a 24/7 cycle, Lion’s core motivation for streamlining supply chain and manufacturing operations with AGVs was to help the company meet the needs of its consumers, while also looking after its own employees by providing a safe and well-managed workplace.

According to Tim Symons, Tooheys packaging manager, the AGVs have given the company the confidence that its products are accurately and safely delivered to the end consumer with ease.

“The implementation of AGVs was part of a widespread initiative to optimise operations within the Tooheys Brewery and across the entire business,” explains Symons.

“While the number of products we make across our beer business continues to grow, we needed a definitive way to improve our productive to keep up with demand.

“To achieve this, we invested in AGV technology as a way to better deliver services to our core assets – our people, brands, production facilities and suppliers – and to generate better value for our customers.

“The AGVs have helped give us real dependability for our end of the line process. By deploying Dematic’s AGVs, we are able to work within an area of operations that was once problematic – the transportation of pallets from palletising to despatch.”

Since implementation, the AGV solution has supported Lion to provide a consistent measurement of product picking time, as well as eliminate any wastage, inaccuracies or mistakes made by human error throughout all phases of the product picking process.

Additionally, the AGV solution has enabled Lion to introduce a predictable logistics strategy. This has allowed Lion to gain insights into the number of vehicles in action within the warehouse, and how many pallets can be produced per day, per shift and per year – as opposed to a manual forklift environment, which can create unpredictable outcomes such as injuries and staff availability. 

“Using AGVs greatly improves reliability, as they are capable of working non-stop, 24/7, every day of the year, thereby, streamlining operations to deliver a return on investment in under two years,” says Tony Raggio, GM of sales, AGVs, Dematic.

“The deployment of AGVs at the Tooheys Brewery has enabled Lion to improve the efficiency, productivity and accuracy of its operations, thus minimising mistakes, product damage and workplace accidents, which additionally provides significant improvements to occupational health and safety standards.” 

Following the success of the Dematic AGVs at the Tooheys Brewery in Lidcombe, and the operational benefits and improved throughput already achieved, Lion will look to deploy more AGVs at other breweries across Australia in the near future.

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