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How We Helped a Food Processor Eliminate Bottlenecks and Increase Packaging Throughput

Case Study: Food Processing

Overview

 variety of jams and spreads at farmers market on wooden plank

Crawford Packaging was contacted by a Food Processor that manufacturers spreads and jams. The Food Processor was growing in size and were in the process of doubling their production facilities. The new, higher production levels were proving to be too much for their existing stretch wrap equipment. Unable to keep pace, their semi-automatic turntable stretch wrappers were causing a packaging bottleneck in the Food Processor’s facility. Skids would sit and wait to be wrapped, this slowed the throughput to their shipping team.

A Crawford’s Packaging Specialist visited the Food Processor’s facility to conduct a free packaging consultation. The consultation began with a review of the Food Processor’s existing equipment and packaging goals. The Packaging Specialist then discussed what the expected packaging volume would be once the expansion was complete. Following the consultation, the Packaging Specialist suggested the Food Processor move to automated packaging equipment. Replacing their existing wrappers with more efficient automatic turntable stretch wrappers. This impactful packaging solution would help the Processor double their stretch wrap throughput levels.


Challenge

A Food Processor was experiencing a severe bottleneck in their stretch wrap packaging operation. This bottleneck was the result of the Food Processor’s recent increase in production. This increase in production was proving to be a problem for their existing stretch wrap equipment. Their semi-automatic wrappers were no longer able to keep pace with increased production levels. With a large expansion underway, production was only going to continue to increase. The Food Processor reached out to their Crawford to help discover the best solution for their bottleneck issues.


Process

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Crawford’s Packaging Specialist visited the Food Processor's facility to conduct a free packaging consultation. This included a full analysis of the Food Processor’s facilities, packaging materials and equipment. During the consultation, the Packaging Specialist discovered the major factor limiting the Processor’s stretch wrapping throughput.

The Food Processor’s semi-automatic stretch wrappers required forklift operators to interact with the load at multiple stages. Operators would place the pallet on the turntable and would then get off the truck to attach the stretch film to the load. The wrap cycle would then be initiated via the wrappers control panel. Once the wrap cycle was complete Operators would break the film before picking up the fully wrapped skid. These additional steps added minutes to each wrapping cycle and greatly increased wrap time.

Following the consultation, the Packaging Specialist met with the Food Processor to review his findings. They discussed the capabilities of their stretch wrappers and the difficulties that would continue as production grew. Based on the Food Processor’s estimated growth, it was suggested that they update their wrappers to automated systems. The Food Processor previously used Wulftec stretch wrappers in their facility. Due to their proven reliability, the Processor wanted to update to new Wulftec automated wrappers.


Solution

Wulftec SMHPA-200 Automatic Turntable Stretch Wrapper

The Wulftec SMHPA-200 is a standard base, high-profile automatic turntable stretch wrapper. As a member of the Wulftec SMART Series, this stretch wrapper offers the ability to chose from a variety of features. This automatic wrapper features a lanyard control system that allows forklift drivers to initiate the wrapping cycle. The automatic systems use Wulftec’s Cut and Wipe system that automatically cuts the film locks the film tail in place. Forklift drivers are then able to pick up to load without having to get off their truck at all. This greatly increases the SMHPA-200 wrapping speeds when compared to similar, semi-automatic systems.


Results

This knowledge-based, impactful packaging solution has helped the Food Processor decrease their wrap times and eliminate the stretch wrapping bottleneck.

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Increased Throughput

The increased wrapping speeds offered by the SMHPA-200 has greatly increased the Food Processor’s stretch wrapping throughput. In the time it would take to wrap two pallets, they are now able to wrap three to four pallets instead. This has allowed the Food Processor to almost double their throughput speeds. The increased throughput has prepared the facility for the upcoming production increases once the new addition was complete.

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Increased Productivity

The automated start and stop systems of the Wulftec SMHPA-200 have greatly increased forklift productivity. Drivers are able to drop a loaded pallet on the turntable, pull the lanyard, and move onto another job. Once the wrap cycle is complete, the operator picks up the load and begins the next without having to get off their truck.

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Reduced Labour

Due to the increased productivity of the automated wrapping process, the Food Processor reallocated employees to perform other duties. The increased wrapping speeds have eliminated the need for dedicated drivers operate the stretch wrapping area. These drivers are now able to complete other tasks between wraps, greatly increasing the Food Processor’s labour efficiency.



Crawford Packaging is a full-service packaging company located in London, Brampton and Waterloo, Ontario. From packaging to packaging equipment, installation and upgrades, and in-person equipment training and repair, we're focused on your business success every step of the way.