Sierra Nevada's Success Growing Steadily

Posted by Anne Elmerick on Tue, Aug 12, 2014

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company has been in the news recently with its new state-of-the-art facility and Hartness is honored to have been the Systems Integrator for the brewery's packaging lines.

Sierra Nevada logo and Hartness DYNAC

Take a tour with CBS News of the largest privately owned craft brewery in the USA..


Sierra Nevada chose the Hartness Systems Group for the design of the packaging line at the new factory in Mills River, North Carolina. This bottling line operates at 900 bottles per minute and uses Hartness' mass flow DYNACs for accumulation, line control, and to maximize line efficiency.



Tags: efficiency, DYNAC, accumulation, DYNAC-Centric-Line, craft brewery, Sierra Nevada Brewery

Absolut Approves With 18% Efficiency Gains

Posted by Anne Elmerick on Fri, Jun 06, 2014


Absolut Vodka is one of the most recognized vodkas worldwide and the Premium vodka market leader. Lars Olsson Smith first produced Absolut in Ahus, Sweden in 1879 using a revolutionary new distillation method known as rectification (still used today). Absolut Vodka was launched globally in 1979. The Ahus distillery was built in 1906 and houses state-of-the-art modern technology along with old local distilling traditions. Today Absolut produces 11.6 million cases a year and is available in over 120 countries worldwide.  

Absolut has a culture of excellence in all aspects of the business: ONÖDIGT BRA [even better than good]. That is evident throughout its manufacturing facility as well. A few years ago Absolut's Director of Technical Development and Packaging, Hakan Nilsson, was at an exhibition in Milan, Italy, looking for a solution to help improve the performance of their crowded production lines. It was there that he discovered DYNAC.

In a recent interview, Nilsson recalls thinking as he watched the DYNAC run that this could possibly be the solution he was looking for."With that small Hakan Nilsson Absolut 4crweb 300x210footprint, I can manage to put everything on our existing line.  If we could gain 5% more efficiency on the line, it will repay [pay for itself]."

 After the first DYNACS were purchased and in production, Nilsson was pleased to report “we gained 18% in efficiency. More than three times than [what] I had said to myself!”  Absolut initially installed three DYNACs but have since purchased eight more.


In this video, Hakan Nilsson explains how Absolut uses DYNAC for line control to keep the "masters" of the lines runnig. DYNAC absorbs the stoppages and meters out the bottles back on the line. Absolut makes full use of the DYNAC-centric line philosophy.

Absolut Case Study on YouTube  


“DYNACS are a smart solution that will help a lot of filling companies to achieve better performance." Stated Jasper Hilhorst, Automation Engineer.

 Absolut DYNAC 3web 600x378

We, at Hartness International, recognize that maximizing line efficiency is crucial to our customers’ success. DYNAC’s patented technology and years of experience, can get your production to a competitive edge, while saving your company in power consumption and maintenance costs.


There are over 3,700 DYNACs in operation worldwide. Absolut Vodka is one of our many valued satisfied DYNAC customers. Additional information and brochure are available on our DYNAC website pages or when you contact us .

Tags: efficiency, DYNAC, accumulation, Absolut, Case Study, Hartness

Offset Packaging Revolutionizes Lightweight Water Bottle Packs

Posted by Anne Elmerick on Wed, Dec 18, 2013

The lightweight 500-ml nonreturnable bottle launched a revolution in the bottled water industry, but it posed an intriguing challenge for bottled water manufacturers.

The Packaging Challenge

Over the past 10 years, 500-ml PET mineral water bottle weights have fallen from 25 grams to 9 grams, creating more compressible, environmentally friendly and less expensive bottles. Polyethylene shrink film multipacks, now the industry standard, have been getting larger and heavier, often requiring corrugated trays or pads for package stability, which in turn has added cost and introduced a recycling and carbon footprint negative.  


The Offset Solution

 Offset, or staggered, packages solve this riddle. In offset packaging, alternate bottle lanes are advanced one-half-bottle diameter in relation to each other in a Hartness GlobalShrink machine.

 offset pkg drawingThis creates a honeycomb pattern which results in six contact points between bottles, instead of four, which is typical in a standard rectangular pack. This grid allows greater shrink force between the rows of bottles when the package is tightened. This greatly reduces the bottles’ tendency to move laterally within the package, leading to consistently tight, great-looking, and, most importantly, safe packages. “Offset packaging is a unique value proposition,” says John Loughlin, Hartness market development manager for film products. 

Tested and Proven

To confirm that the offset package was stronger and more stable, the Hartness GlobalShrink team and Hartness Robotic Palletizing engineers visited the Clemson University Center for Flexible Packaging (CEFPACK) with a number of bottled water customers. Offset multipacks were packed on Hartness GlobalShrink high-speed shrinkwrap machines. The packs were then palletized and run through a series of ISTA-3 pallet tests, including random steel vibration, compression, incline impact and a specially designed corner-drop test. The tests included packages of 24, 28, 32, 35 and 40 lightweight PET bottles.


The results were unmistakable. Offset papallet imageckages were tighter than the traditional packages and had increased pallet stability. “For some package sizes, it’s possible to palletize one more pack per layer per pallet,” Loughlin says. That means fewer transport trucks. The increased stability and strength of the package eliminates the need for corrugated cardboard to stabilize large water multipacks, making the package more environmentally friendly, and, in some cases, allowing Hartness customers to double stack pallets in the warehouse, saving valuable warehouse space.

             Pallet stability test at Clemson University



John Loughlin Consulting VsmHartness engineers made one more key finding: Bottles in the offset packages stayed tightly packed even after a progressively greater number of bottles were removed from the package. “The packages look better on the store shelf because of their increased tightness, which increases the customer’s chances of selling all the packages on the shelf,” Loughlin says. The tighter package conferred another advantage: Workers can carry the remaining packaged bottles safely as they load refrigerators, vending machines, or other storage locations.

John Loughin tests offset pack handling as bottles are removed from package.


“The increased package strength leads to safety and increased pallet stability, while the stronger package gives a more attractive on-shelf appearance,” says Loughlin. It’s a stronger, smaller package that makes storage safer, use easier, and distribution more efficient. The reduced cost from eliminating the corrugated cardboard is just the cherry on top.


Tags: Hartness International, Botled Water Pallets, Clemson CEFPACK, GlobalShrink, offset pack, shrinkwrapping, light-weighted plastic bottles, lightweight bottle, Palletizers, Hartness

Hartness International Welcomes One of Twelve

Posted by Anne Elmerick on Fri, Aug 23, 2013

How many companies have been in business for over 100 years and are a Fortune 200? The answer is only a few and Illinois Tool Works (ITW) is one of them. ITW is a leading diversified manufacturer of specialized industrial equipment, consumables, and related service businesses. As an evolving international company, ITW is bringing in competent young individuals with diverse backgrounds and personalities. ITW created a rotational program named Emerging Leadership Development Program for recent college graduates. The mission of this program is to develop the participants into leaders for the future through exposure to the different businesses. The management group of ITW carefully selected twelve participants with high potentials out of thousands of applicants. One of them is Chi Leong, a.k.a.Terry.

Terry photo

Chi named himself Terry after a video game character because it was the only English name he could enunciate at the time. He was born in 1989 in the City of Macau, which was colonized by the Portuguese and it is currently the Las Vegas of China. He migrated to Chicago without his mother when he was 16 years old knowing only the English alphabet. As one of the few Chinese students attending a public high school in the racially divided and crime-infested part of Chicago, he quickly realized the only way out is to become successfully academically. Challenges such as language barrier and racism failed to diminish Terry’s desire for success. Through hard work and perseverance, he was accepted by a Big Ten university, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in 2008.

            The transition of being surrounded by skyscrapers in a major city to being surrounded by corn fields in the middle of nowhere spurred an agricultural interest in Terry. He chose to major in Technical Systems Management. This major is simply a combination of agricultural technologies and business principles. Terry was doing well academically but he realized that his introverted personality hindered his path to success. He decided to take control of his social skills by striking up conversations with a minimum of five strangers daily. With positive thinking and perseverance, he finally grasped the social skills he needed and he has made three best friends. The social skills Terry has developed in the first two years of college marked a turning point of his career.

            Through many social interactions, Terry has gained the ability to present himself confidently to college recruiters. He was offered internships for companies including John Deere and Caterpillar throughout his remaining college years. All of his internships were marketing related and this exposed him to projects including date analysis, event planning, and market research. In his free time, he does kickboxing to sharpen his mental determination and Latin dance to maintain his positive attitude.

The first corporate assignment for Terry is to support the marketing team of Hartness International, a business unit of ITW, in Greenville, South Carolina. ITW believes this assignment will be a perfect fit for the professional and personal development of Terry. He will participate in projects including website management, tradeshow support, and marketing assessment tool development.

Look for Terry at Pack Expo in Las Vegas in September 23-25 at the Hartness International booth #C-3525. 

Tags: Hartness International, Hartness Blog, Hartness, ITW, Illinois Tool Works

Pharmaceutical Executives Seek Innovation, Efficiency Solutions

Posted by Scott Smith on Thu, Apr 25, 2013

Recently, I had the unique opportunity to speak at an Executive conference sponsored by the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers  (ISPE) in Philadelphia.  The topic was interesting.  Pharmaceutical Executives were seeking manufacturing and quality "best practices" from other manufacturing segments, such as beverage and aerospace. Why? I wondered.

Many of us who work in manufacturing have long considered the pharmaceutical industry a bit of an anamoly, and with good reason.  As Hartness had been a supplier to the pharmaceutical industry for some years, I had several pre-conceived notions about the industry:

  • there is always a vast supply of capital to build new packaging lines, therefore many companies are not particularly concerned with efficiency improvement 
  • innovation spend goes toward new product development (not new package development)
  • there is very little competition for large drug makers, so cost-reduction is not critical. 

Hartness' Scott Smith shares his insights with ISPE membersThough I came to Philadelphia to educate, I learned every bit as much as I taught. It's safe to say that things are rapidly changing for the pharmaceutical industry, and especially for the industry leaders.  

As an ITW company, Hartness has a number of packaging solutions that have helped other manufacturing sectors improve efficiency and improve flexibility.  That's why Nancy Berg, the President and CEO of ISPE, invited us.  We joined Boeing and several other well-known companies as speakers. 

While presenting our innovative DYNAC technology, which improves packaging line efficiencies in a compact footprint, I learned that the pharmaceutical industry does recognize the need to be more innovative in both its packaging and its supply chain. I also learned that it's not that simple: 

  • Capital is less readily availble today.
  • Operating margins are decreasing for many companies due to competition from generics and increased governmental scrutiny. 
  • Consumers are looking for more sustainable packaging. 
  • Pharmaceutical companies are having to consider the consumer experience for an aging population that is more concerned about sustainable packaging and "ease-of-use" than ever before. 

In many ways, I could have been speaking to a group of beverage executives who are worried about on-shelf differentiation, sourcing sustainable packaging material like thinner-walled PET and pouches, and who are lamenting the price pressure due to the rise of store brands, all of which is driven by cost-conscious consumers. The ability to innovate remained a concern for many of the executives, primarily due to three factors: a culture that does not reward innovation, high risk involved with making changes, and governmental regulations that require massive amounts of compliance documentation i.e. significant hidden cost to innovate.  Obviously we, as consumers, want to be safe, but pharmaceutical executives with whom I spoke, discussed the need for a healthy balance between the public safety and innovation.

In the end, my final message was this:

There are innovative solutions such as DYNAC accumulation/buffering technology and Robotic automation that are being used successfully in other manufacturing sectors like beverage, home and personal care. These innovations can improve efficiency, increase flexibility and effectively handle light-weighted packages. Hartness' solutions are just two examples of a multitude of technologies being used successfully in other industries. If innovative manufacturers can scale and price these technologies appropriately for the pharmaceutical industry, there are great opportunities to help this industry accomplish its operational goals.

Tags: Hartness International, Hartness Blog, pharmaceutical, supply chain, sustainable, sustainability, packaging, efficiency, DYNAC, accumulation, robotics, Scott Smith, ISPE, Hartness, ITW, Innovation

Straub Picks Vertique for their Warehouse Automation

Posted by Scott Smith on Fri, Jul 27, 2012



Recently I sat down with Rick Sweeney, the general manager and executive Vice President of Straub Distribution Company and asked him to share some of this thoughts on the industry and trends in supply chain and distribution. 

Rick Sweeney  small imageStraub has over 350 employees, and is considered one of the foremost Anheuser Busch distributors in the USA. Recently Straub installed ITW Warehouse Automation's Vertique case picking system, designed to reduce labor costs in the warehouse and on the road. 

Here are some excerpts of our conversation:

Scott Smith: Rick, we're hearing a lot about customer choice and package light-weighting in the consumer package goods segment. Are these trends that are impacting beer distribution as well? If so, how?

Rick Sweeney: The rapid growth of craft beer is a major trend that is associated with customer choice, and our SKUs are growing like crazy because of it. That segment now has growth trends in the mid teens while all the majors are losing share. Clearly people have a wider range of products they are going to choose from, in everything they do, in wine, beer, clothes...really everything. People used to have a set of one, two or three brands, and they wouldn't drink anything else. Today, the average consumers have 15 brands in their mix. They go to the store and ask themselves "what's on sale?" or "what's the occasion?" and that's what they're purchasing.

photo of Follwo the leader

We've seen a ton of (primary and seconday package) light-weighting in the beer business, and this is where it ends up before it goes to the retailer. We measure damaged product by what comes back on the trucks, and we are up 50% over the last 4 months.


 SS: So essentially, your BSL (breakage, spoilage, loss) numbers are going up, so you're saving money on packaging but giving some of the savings back in returned product?

RS: Yes


SS: Has automating your case picking area helped?

 RS: I would certainly say it's helped, but we did not base any ROI on a reduction in damage because we don't measure the amount of damage prior to loading the truck, so it is difficult to determine where in the supply chain something might have been damaged.

Click on "Get Insights from Thought Leaders"  button above for the whole story! 

Straub Distribution handles about 11,000,000 cases per year. Along with this interview with Rick Sweeney, I've compiled a Case Study on Straub's Vertique installation.  Feel free to download it as well as the interview transcript.

                       transcript link          Straub image

Tags: Hartness International, Hartness Blog, Warehouse automation, Thought Leader Series, Hartness, case picking

Reporting Live from Sao Paulo, Brazil

Posted by Scott Smith on Wed, Jun 13, 2012

ITW Global Packaging Group stands out at Fispal Technologia

Hartness and ITW Warehouse Automation are well represented at Fispal in Sao Paulo, Brazil this week. Joining me are Bern McPheely and Doug Stambaugh as we show our capabilities and continuing developing our strategy in this very strategic market. We are supporting 3 booth highlighting our technology, the largest being ITW's company booth.

    ITW booth image

Fispal Technologia is the largest packaging, processing and logistics trade show for the food and beverages industries in Latin America.  

SEE Sistemas, the newest member of ITW's Global Packaging Solutions Group, was acquired by Illinois Tool Works about a month ago.  SEE is located in São Paulo and is an integrator of packaging equipment and systems including robotics and shrink wrappers in the Brazilian market. 

     See booth image                     HLA booth image

The Hartness DYNAC is shown here in SEE Sistemas' stand.

HRP Sul America is the Brazilian office of Hartness Latinoamerica.




Tags: ITW Global Packaging Solutions; SEE Sistemas

Sustainability: from Classroom to Business World Applications

Posted by Ben Granger on Tue, Jun 12, 2012

As a student at Furman University, I had heard about Hartness International as a highly influential international business with local roots.  Now, as a marketing intern at Hartness, I am seeing firsthand what has contributed to this company’s reputation.
Dr. Clemens Quote
The past two semesters I took business courses on strategy and sustainability from a phenomenal professor, Dr. Bruce Clemens. Before attending his courses, I thought sustainability was merely a fancy business word for the slogan “Going Green”. I quickly discovered, however, that sustainability means much more to a business than recycling and limiting waste. The term and its engagements are essential to the existence and preservation of the company and industry as a whole.

After just a short time at Hartness International, I see that sustainable practices are woven into all aspects of the business. The sustainable solutions that Hartness has developed and implemented have established this company as a packaging industry leader and global innovator.

  • Lean packaging lines designed around DYNAC that require less space and energy

  • Packaging equipment that consumes minimal utilities

  • Robotics and innovative line control strategies that enable the light-weighting of containers

  • Programs that extend the life cycle of packaging equipment

  • Organic, environmentally-friendly UV inks for bottle decoration and coating


Dr. Clemens instilled in me this passion for sustainability. From a classroom passion to first hand business experience, I am looking forward to pursuing and contributing to this passion during my internship at Hartness International.


Editor's Note: Ben Granger is a Senior at Furman University completing his final semester in Business Administration. We are pleased to welcome Ben to the Hartness Marketing team for the summer.

Tags: Hartness International, Hartness Blog, Hartness-Inks, decorating, glass coating, UV-inks, UV curable ink, Furman University, Sustainable Solutions, Hartness, Innovation

Hartness Launches New Website

Posted by Scott Smith on Fri, Jun 01, 2012

Revamping a website is no easy task, and our marketing team is excited to have just unveiled the new Hartness website. With many new functions to make searching quicker and easier, look for new sections such as one dedicated to market segments, and another featuring a development timeline of Hartness innovation in the marketplace, that I personally find very interesting.Scott testing site

One of our goals was to create a site that would allow visitors to easily interact with Hartness, with our thought leaders and our management team. Take this new blog, for example, where you'll find posts from Hartness employees, as well as guest bloggers. The site also provides links to social media sites on which Hartness participates.

So, whether you are searching for the latest packaging equipment and robotic solutions, seeking innovative line designs, researching ways to increase throughput or just browsing, we appreciate your visit!

At the end of the day, this website is for you, so we want to know what you think. We're even willing to offer the possibility of a little reward for your time.  Leave a comment or suggestion here below, and then click on the button Win an iPad. Subscribe to this blog and/or to our newsletter, and you'll be entered twice.


  Click me

Tags: Hartness International, Hartness Blog, Hartness

Hartness-Inks Impact with Color

Posted by Denise Breard on Fri, May 25, 2012

Hartness-Inks logo

Have you been keeping up with the many developments in our label deco inks and coatings? If you aren’t very familiar with Hartness-Inks, you may want to check our web page.

The colorants we now use eliminate any concerns about Bisphenol-A (BPA), and our pigments are ground directly into our own proprietary resins. We have made a variety of Pantone and some exciting custom colors for clients, ranging from transparent to opaque, and from matte to high gloss. This process is enabled by UV technology.

Did you know that Hartness-Inks can make just about any color you could want?

glass bottles.smWe believe that the true test of ink adhesion is to simulate line conditions precisely. To do this we’ve developed our own bottle to bottle automated Rub Resistance tester, which counts how many times two bottles can be rubbed together under increasing weight until the coatings or inks wear through to the bare glass. Our intensive testing regime has allowed us to not only track improvements in the abrasion resistance and durability of our inks and coatings but also to understand how they perform even in the harshest filling line and supply chain conditions.

The innovative Hartness-Inks technology is designed for the printing and coating of glass containers.


This holiday weekend, if you are browsing the beer aisles, be sure to look for the new “platinum” beer in the cobalt blue molded glass bottle. This has been the most successful new product launch from the brewery in years, and demonstrates just how bottle color distinguishes and enhances product appeal!

Editor's Note: Denise Breard, Technical Director for Hartness-Inks, has a background in UV- curable inks, printing and color management and has written extensively about screen printing in industry trade and technical journals.

Tags: Hartness-Inks, inks, printing, coating, color, decorating, glass coating, UV-inks, UV curable ink, Hartness