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RTLS Brews Up Benefits for Historic Czech Republic Beer

Sewio's ultra-wideband solution, deployed this year, enables Budweiser Budvar to determine the locations of its forklifts within centimeters, and to thereby understand the movements of its returnable pallets, thus preventing errors, increasing efficiency and reducing inventory space.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 13, 2019

Budweiser Budvar Brewery has been producing beer for two centuries, with a recipe that dates back to 13th-century Bohemia. These days, as other manufacturers open bottling sites around the world, Budvar is holding onto tradition with a commitment to produce, bottle and can its beer at its original site in České Budějovice, in the Czech Republic. The company says it is using 21st-century technology to make that possible.

Budweiser Budvar's tour guide claims the company's beer is brewed from artesian water so pure, it's fit for a baby. In fact, the facility's home city, known as Budweis, is considered one of the earliest sites for beer, dating back to Ottokar II, the former King of Bohemia. With that in the mind, the company has been expanding and automating its facility to meet its growing worldwide consumer demand, with no intentions of moving its location. The expansion includes a new site dedicated to logistics, across the street from the existing structure, and an overhead throughway for product to be delivered by an automated monorail transportation system over that street without disrupting traffic.

Automation has made the bottling and canning of beer faster, the firm reports, while making delivery to the logistics site and the loading of vehicles more efficient. Real-time location system (RTLS) technology, however, is what ensures the right pallets are picked up and then loaded onto and from conveyors, and into vehicles. The solution, provided by Sewio and ICZ Group, has not only boosted efficiency and accuracy, but also improved warehouse utilization by 19 percent, the company reports.

With RTLS UWB anchors tracking tags on forklifts, as well as barcode scans on each pallet, the company can automatically locate each returnable pallet as it is received back from customers and then prepared for reuse. It can also track each pallet filled with finished product, thereby ensuring the accuracy of receiving and shipping, while reducing the stockpiling of pallets.

Budweiser Budvar sells beer to customers throughout 76 countries. The name "Budweiser" translates into English as "beer from Budweis," and the company is the only beer manufacturer owned by the Czech government. Not to be confused with Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser, which is sold from the United States, Budweiser Budvar has its own recipe and has no plans to bottle its product beyond České Budějovice.

Martin Kormorny, the company's primary distribution manager, shared his experience and offered tours of his facility as part of the Sewio Summit, which took place in September 2019. Kormorny will speak about the technology as part of the RFID Journal LIVE! Europe conference and exhibition, being held in November.

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