Press + Insights

Automation and Robotics Take the Wheel at Hill’s Pet Nutrition

← Back to all news

Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a distinguished subsidiary of Colgate-Palmolive, leads the pack in producing top-tier pet food and treats. Committed to quality, Hill’s embarked on an ambitious partnership with Gray Solutions to develop a visionary, fully automated wet pet food plant in Tonganoxie, KS. Spanning 80 acres, this greenfield project is a showcase of the integrated expertise of Gray, from initial concept to production startup.

Gray Solutions’ scope stretched across engineering, equipment, automation & controls, along with advanced robotics services for the new facility. We harnessed the collective power of Gray’s family of companies to execute a complete process design and outfit the facility, ultimately creating an ultramodern smart factory precisely tailored to the customer’s needs.

At the core of the facility’s operations, you’ll find automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) — true game changers in material handling. These powerhouses of precision and efficiency are outfitted with cutting-edge laser technology and are supported by strategically placed charging ports. This setup ensures a flawless and uninterrupted flow of raw materials and finished goods across every corner of the facility.

Equipped to scan RFID chips embedded in totes and pallets, robots pinpoint exactly where materials should be placed and how they should be organized. Managing the smart factory’s advanced systems meant developing custom process controls from software to interface.

To uphold the highest quality at each production stage, Gray Solutions installed vision systems at critical points to monitor and enhance efficiency. These systems, integrating cameras and robotics, verify both internal and external quality standards. Additionally, Gray Solutions equipped Hill’s personnel with training on these technologies and conducted factory acceptance testing (FAT).

In a demanding manufacturing environment, deploying state-of-the-art digital and automation technologies requires innovative equipment configurations. Gray Solutions collaborated with AD Process Equipment, a Gray company, to automate the equipment and controls onto custom stainless-steel platforms that best facilitate safe, effective, and efficient operations for the customer. Each of the more than 25 platforms was specifically designed to house the systems specified by our expert Solutioneers.

This integration of advanced technology and close collaboration between project teams demonstrates the value of a fully integrated service approach. By breaking down the barriers of traditional manufacturing and embracing the future of automation, we've helped cement Hill’s status as an industry leader for years to come. At Gray Solutions, where curiosity drives our every decision, this project stands as a testament to what’s possible when innovative minds collaborate for a common goal.

← Back to all news