10 April 2015 / Last updated: 20 Nov 2018

How Pact Coffee uses Raspberry Pis to ship upto 4k coffee packs a day

This is the first in a series of exposés illustrating how our customers have used balena to create great products. This time we sat down with Tony To (CTO) and Sam Levy (Developer) from Pact Coffee to discuss how they are using balena to scale their production lines and eradicate inefficiencies.
Pact is a recurring subscription coffee company that sends fresh coffee through the post. They currently ship up to 4000 bags per day and with their rapid growth have looked to resin.io to streamline their production and shipping process. Tony To, CTO of Pact, explains how they used to used to use Android phones and QR codes as barcode scanners to trigger address labeled printing and to mark coffee packets as shipped. However the phones had several drawbacks, the time taken to focus on a QR code and a limit of the number of interconnected devices caused inefficiency and incentivized them to look into a more elegant solution.
They initially employed several Raspberry Pis around the factory floor to replace the Android phones. The new system although improved still had significant issues. To update code across the factory they’d have to SSH into each device and manually update their code. The updating meant a significant amount of downtime on their packing desks and subsequent output. As they grew they realized they needed a more automated approach to provisioning and updating their fleet of scanners.
Since introducing balena, Pact has minimized downtime across their production line, allowing their production output to match their impressive growth. According to Tony, they have replicated their initial production line 3 times over.
We were able to replicate that production line 3 times over pretty much instantly without any hassle, pretty much a copy and paste from the first one, so we can definitely horizontally scale. - Tony To, CTO at Pact
Their old method of manually sshing into each device to update their system has now been reduced to one command. Allowing them to deploy to their entire fleet of devices with a simple git push. It has also reduced the time and hassle taken to provision new devices. As Sam Levy, one of the developers at Pact, explains one of the upsides of balena is that if we need a new packing desk it can take 15 minutes to get it up and running. Balena also serves invaluable real-time status of what is happening on the factory floor, allowing them to act on issues as soon as they occur on the factory floor.
One of the upsides of balena is that if we need a new packing desk it can take 15 minutes to get it up and running. - Sam Levy, Developer at Pact
We are excited to see how Pact grows and how we can grow alongside them.
If you are in the UK and love a good cup of coffee go order a bag of Pact Coffee, with love from the guys at Pact and a little help from us at balena.
If you are interested in doing an exposé on your products collaboration with balena drop us a mail - [email protected] or say hi on our community chat
by Craig MulliganAwesome dude at balena

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