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Alex Koepsel
Head of Product Marketing  
Monday, June 3, 2024

Cameron’s Coffee Hits Automation “Easy Button”, Scaling from 0 to 5 Systems in 12 Months

Since 1978, Cameron's Coffee has been bringing the taste of delicious, locally-brewed coffee to more and more coffee lovers. What started as a small-batch roastery offering packaged coffee for grocery stores in the midwest has grown to a large-scale operation that produces and packages over 50,000 lbs. of coffee daily! 

As their business has rapidly grown, one of the challenges has been scaling up production to keep up with demand and delivery lead times. In order to continuously improve their processes and unlock the next level of growth, their team is constantly seeking ways to add operational efficiencies - this time with robotic palletizing technology.     

As their automation partner, Formic helped Cameron’s Coffee bring in their first robotic equipment, helping their team to:

  • Instantly increase productivity, quality, and safety on their production line without additional headcount costs that come with traditional automation purchases
  • Eliminate manual stacking injuries and dependency on hard-to-find labor
  • Achieve immediate ROI & efficiency with zero capital investment

The Challenge

Cameron’s Coffee is on an exciting growth trajectory. Their production plant in Shakopee, MN currently operates 3 shifts per day producing high quality coffee with distribution to Target, Walmart, Cub Foods, and more. With the ever increasing demand for their products, the operations team researched ways to overcome dependencies on manual processes throughout their production line.

Like most U.S. manufacturers, one of Cameron’s biggest operational challenges is finding and retaining manual labor to fill production shifts. In addition to labor availability, there is the parallel challenge of continuously improving efficiency, reliability, and workplace safety, while still maintaining high product quality and food safety. Some of these challenges can be resolved with workflow or process updates, while others require investments in new technology and systems.

To address both their labor challenges and commitment to drive continuous improvement for scalability, their team investigated the viability of robotic automation to alleviate some of the manual work in their packaging rooms.

With no previous experience in this area, robotic automation was a new, expensive, and risky concept to the Cameron’s Coffee team. The team was concerned about the uncertainty of selecting the right technology, deploying it successfully, and integrating the new equipment into the production process to achieve improved productivity. They were also capital-constrained by a long list of growth projects. They feared that an automation project could turn into an unreliable, disruptive, or costly boondoggle for their business.

The Cameron’s Coffee team was stuck between an increasingly challenging labor market, the daunting task of getting automation right on their first try, and an insufficient capital budget.


Formic’s comprehensive Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) automation offering enabled Cameron’s Coffee to introduce automation to their facility in a uniquely simple, affordable, and repeatable way. Formic’s approach provides a completely supported solution for system design and deployment, uptime and performance guarantees, and ongoing maintenance and upgrades, all for a low hourly usage rate and zero capital investment.

“Formic removes all the anxiety of a traditional equipment purchase”, said Adam Bragg, Cameron’s Technical Director for their Shakopee plant. “We like that they provide the entire solution, including committed uptime and service.”

Cameron’s Coffee started their automation journey with Formic’s robotic palletizers, systems that stack cases onto pallets at the end of their production lines. The Cameron’s team and Formic’s solutions engineers identified multiple opportunities to automate, but manual stacking was high on Cameron’s list due to its broadly impactful effects on efficiency, employee safety, and production reliability. Looking forward, Cameron’s team sees opportunities to automate all their end-of-line stacking processes, followed by upstream case packing processes.

With automation uncertainty clearly in the rear view mirror, the team at Cameron’s Coffee can move forward with confidence as their experience with palletizing is repeatable and scalable into other automation systems as well. Formic currently offers more than 40 pre-vetted and proven solutions from its ever growing list of the industry’s best equipment providers. As a result, Formic has a wide range of automation solutions to meet Cameron’s scaling production needs. All of the solutions are available within Formic’s pay-for-productivity RaaS service.


Cameron’s Coffee scaled their automation from zero to five robotic palletizers in less than 12 months, resulting in over 1 million pounds of coffee palletized by automation in their facility (and rapidly growing). They achieved their increased productivity goals and eliminated the risk of employee fatigue and injury, all without having to become experts in robotic automation.

Through Formic’s unique zero capex model, Cameron’s Coffee achieved immediate ROI and were able to pursue other parallel capital investments to improve the facility. With Formic, they have successfully unlocked the next stage of their company's growth.

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