Even Santa’s elves need some packaging help

Problem: A toy manufacturer in the Midwest was expanding operations to a new distribution facility. The new facility required bottom case sealers at the beginning of a packaging line and top case sealers at the very end. The equipment would be used in a “pick and pass” method fulfillment warehouse that produces in excess of 30,000 packages per day during peak periods. The boxes to be sealed would be void filled and processed in random order.

Only equipment with a past history of performance was chosen to be tested. Little David equipment was chosen to be tested because of its proven track record for reliability. The equipment was tested against a tape manufacturer’s line of equipment.

Again, the toy manufacturer needed equipment that could seal different size, tall, unstable, lightweight and void filled boxes processed in random order. There are two main areas of concern in sealing this type of box. First, is box crushing. Second, if the box is handled too gingerly, the flaps tend to open slightly and the box is not closed tightly. Both the concern for box crushing and flap opening are compounded even further when there are a range of box sizes processed in random order. Equipment must now continuously adjust to the various widths and box heights.

Solution: For the test, the company chose to use a bottom-only taper at the beginning of the line and another case sealer for the end of the packaging line. The package process began with the generation of a printed order form which indicates the box size required for fulfillment. The proper size box is selected, manually formed, and placed into the first sealer to be bottom sealed. The required products are picked and placed directly into the box. Boxes pass via conveyer to the loose fill area. After the boxes are filled, the operator then folds the box flaps and pushes it down the line for top sealing.

The second case sealer, at the end of the line, automatically adjusts to the width and height of the box without crushing it. This is accomplished by a unique counter balance design, which stops the downward travel of the upper head and locks it into place. At the same time it protects against flap opening becuase it was designed to keep the integrity of light weight, void-filled, tall, and unstable boxes processed in random order.

Results: An equipment review was performed by both the operations and the maintenance staff. Both operations and maintenance staff were impressed by the heavy duty design of the equipment. The maintenance staff was equally impressed by the overall simplicity of the machine.

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