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A Glass Act: Gallo Glass Serves Up 1 Billion Bottles Each Year - Delivering Quality, Safety and Environmental Protection - with Automation Help from GE.

MODESTO, Calif. -- When it comes to making all of the bottles for one of the largest winemaking operations in the world, production processes need to be as clear as the glass itself. At Gallo Glass Company, just-in-time delivery means the bottles are available when needed, to help keep the wine flowing through the bottling and labeling operations, out to distribution and into millions of homes each year. Additionally, the glass plant has to contribute more than fast, reliable bottle production - the team at the plant also needs to support its and its E. & J. Gallo Winery parent company's deep commitments to quality, consumer safety and environmental protection. With one billion bottles being produced annually, a state-of-the-art production system, including monitoring and control software from GE, helps Gallo Glass shine. And, shining is exactly what Gallo is doing - after just being named #1 to the prestigious InformationWeek Top 500 - and with results that include:

--Saving $5 million annually through improved quality (or Percent Pack);

--Increasing production by 5 percent;

--Reducing defects by 25 percent;

--Reducing plant downtime by 25 percent;

--Protecting the environment by significantly lowering energy needs to run the glass furnaces and more efficiently run equipment that decreases the amount of furnace emissions by 80 percent; and

--Decreasing training time and helped to facilitate job changes / job sharing.

A Toast to High Technology

The Gallo Glass plant manufactures more than 100 different combinations of bottle shapes, sizes and colors. As one of the world's largest glass container manufacturing sites, the plant provides bottles for:

--E. & J. Gallo Winery wines, including those that are "Gallo" branded as well as Turning Leaf, Ecco Domani, Carlo Rossi, and Frei Brothers Reserve;

--Sparkling wines such as Tott's, Indigo Hills, Andre and Ballatore Spumante;

--The Winery's Bartles & Jaymes coolers;

--Distilled spirits, including America's bestselling brandy - E. &. J. VS Brandy, Cognac, and the E&J Cask & Cream(TM) liqueurs; and

--External customers, including other wineries, apple juice companies, and makers of specialty beverages such as espresso syrups.

In addition to being unique for its size - E. & J. Gallo Winery is one of the largest wineries in California - the company also is unique for having its own glass plant. Ernest and Julio Gallo built the plant in 1958 on the company's main campus in Modesto. By owning a glass plant, the company reduces freight costs for heavy glass but, most importantly, eliminates the possibility of production delays caused by outside bottle suppliers. And, that means a commitment to reliable production that Gallo Glass upholds every day.

"The primary goal of the glass plant is to maintain a steady, reliable and high quality supply of bottles for the E. & J. Gallo Winery," explains George White, information systems manager at Gallo Glass Company. "What we make at the glass plant today, gets used tomorrow in bottling and labeling."

Automation plays a key role at the plant and blends together the art of glassmaking with the high technology needed to meet production, quality, consumer safety, and environmental protection goals. At the heart of the plant's automated Shop Floor Information System (SFIS) is Proficy(TM) HMI/SCADA iFIX(R) software from GE Fanuc Automation, a unit of GE Infrastructure. This integrated information system collects and presents data from all steps in bottle making - batch, furnace, forehearth, mold shop, forming, lehr, inspection and packing. The system serves multiple users at Gallo Glass - from operators on the lines to maintenance managers to senior managers who need quick, graphical reports via the web.

With the tremendous results, John Gallo, vice president of the glass plant, has built upon his grandfather and great uncle's idea for a smoother supply chain. "The vision is one of an information-centric management culture," Gallo explains, "where every employee can combine trade craft and science in every bottle we make. Our process is complex with many interacting variables. This new technology has simplified the learning curve for new employees, making them more effective and proactive in their jobs. Ultimately we foresee use of the new technology fundamental in our journey toward Lean / Six Sigma manufacturing."

And, while the industry looks into Gallo Glass as a model, the team at the glass plant continues to serve up the benefits using the Shop Floor Information System and iFIX software - achieving results worthy of a toast!

GE Fanuc Web Site:

E. & J. Gallo Winery:
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 22, 2004
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