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If your business has a production line rest assured you are always on the lookout for ways to optimize them. Sometimes the one thing that's needed isn't to optimize the line, but instead to change the nature of the pack.
After experiencing issues with older equipment, a Midwest food manufacturing customer was open to discussions on how they could reduce downtime. Instead of exploring a new peice of the same kind of equipment from the start, our solution provider asked a few questions. After some discovery one big question arose;
What did our customer stand to gain from changing the nature of their pack?
Numerous companies are switching their packaging to become more environmentally friendly. Whether its for marketing purposes or true care for the environment, companies have various reasons for wanting to use environmentally friendly materials.
Another option is to reduce, or completely eliminate, the need for corrugated in your packaging. If done properly your products will still make it to their destination without damage, not to mention the reduction of corrugated materials entering the waste stream. Through the use of shrink bundling equipment and shrink film our customer was able to reduce nearly all of the corrugated in their pack. By placing their products on a corrugated pad instead of in a corrugated case they stood to see a materials cost savings of roughly $240,000 if their line ran at 10 cases per minute. As you will see below they blew that throughput out of the water which increases their savings.
Glue (or tape) are usually a necessary evil of packaging automation applications. Our customer was having an issue with rejects from cases not being properly glued.
If you haven't worked with glue before lets just say it isn't the cleanest of products. Couple the rejects and cleanliness issues with the added cost of closing a case and you can see why they were interested in changing their pack to avoid glue or tape altogether.
Our customer was running 15 cases per minute prior to changing their pack. After removing the need to have equipment fold the box flaps and glue the case closed they are now running 60 cases per minute. That's a pretty significant increase, especially considering they are running more product AND saving money at the same time.
Next time you are auditing your equipment and processes ask yourself, what do we stand to gain from doing things differently?
Checkout our infographic on reducing corrugated in your pack