Improved Packaging Process for Major Logistics Corporation
A major logistics company providing warehousing and fulfillment services for a well-known, international fashion retailer was experiencing a significant amount of downtime and increased operating costs of older strapping machines on their six packing lines. So, the company’s cost-analysis team sent requests for quotations to several strapping system manufacturers for new machines. And while most of the potential suppliers responded with quotes to replace the aging strappers, EAM-Mosca took a different approach.
Representatives from EAM-Mosca began by surveying the packing process and identified issues beyond poor strapping machine performance. The company, based out of Pennsylvania, recommended system improvements to control product flow, close cartons more consistently, and place straps more accurately to improve the esthetics of outbound packages on their way to customers.
Pick & Pack
The fulfillment procedure is pretty typical. Orders are picked and packed in telescoping cartons and conveyed to end-of-line strapping stations where boxes are secured by with two plastic straps per package. The process was set-up with sloping powered roller conveyors, which fed directly into strapping machines with a powered belt conveyor. The issues, beyond strapping system reliability, included poor interlocks between the incoming conveyor and strapper, and the transfer from the angled entry conveyor to the horizontal strapper conveyor. Partial package contact with the conveyors allowed the package to slip and slide, causing inaccurate product positioning, misplaced loose straps, and poorly secured products.
EAM-Mosca’s solution was multifaceted. A pacer conveyor in front of each strapper was recommended to receive the packages from the angled conveyor already in place, to straighten them before they entered the strapping machine. Upgraded interlocks between the angled conveyor, pacer conveyor and strapping machine were also included so as to release the product to the next stage in a timely way. The proposed solution also included a sensor at the strapping machine exit to recognize any backup downstream of the strapper, shutting the line down if strapping got too far ahead of the palletizing process.
The improvements came with a cost. In this case, the logistics company invested 40% more for a complete system overhaul to address crucial issues found in a more in-depth analysis, rather than simply replacing their existing strapping machines and continuing to have significant downtime and operating costs.
There were challenges on both sides, but the two companies worked through them. The fulfillment team has been pleased with the positive impact of the pacing conveyors, and improved package control as the product moves through the strapping zone. Also, the machine’s reliability and consistent strap tension with Sonixs, Mosca’s proprietary ultrasonic sealing system, have resulted in improved productivity and a better looking, more secure package. If you are struggling with your strapping systems, a systematic overhaul might be a better option.