On November 6 to 9 Phoenix will be at the Pack Expo 2016 show in Chicago Illinois. If you’re looking for a stretch packaging machine that can help you reduce your costs and increase your productivity, come visit us at at the McCormick Place at booth # N-4931!
On April 4 to 7, Phoenix will be at the Modex 2016 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA, come and visit us at booth #3347.
We will showcase our Semi Automatic Pallet Wrappers as well as our Breathe Easy Film Slitter, a cost effective solution where air flow is required to help prevent condensation from building up under the film.
The Breathe Easy Film Slitter slice the film into 3 or more individual bands than can be adjusted in width. Ideal for products that require air flow, heat dissipation and condensation/moisture prevention (such as produce, flowers, dairy products etc..).
We look forward to see you there!
Jack Fleming, has been appointed as Regional sales manager of Phoenix stretch wrappers, one of the fastest growing stretch and pallet wrapping equipment manufacturers in North America. Effective immediately, Jack will be assisting Phoenix Sales Director Rob Shoemaker in the Western territory.
Jack Fleming Studied at The University of Illinois, majoring in Physics with two minors in math and chemistry. Jack has wrapping equipment in his blood with his father, Steve Fleming being the Mid West sales director for Phoenix. Jack worked with his dad back in Chicago and then took an opportunity to move west representing a packaging supply house.
Please join us in welcoming Jack to the Phoenix family!
Whether it’s the size of the warehouse, the volume of pallet loads, the structure of the load, the staffing levels of the company, each stretch wrapping application has unique qualities and challenges.
In this post, we want to discuss two common challenges in the stretch wrapping realm: tall and/or light loads. There are certain features and stretch wrapping machines that work best with this type of application.
Let’s take a look with some help from our stretch wrapper video library:
1. Add extra height
When you’re talking about tall loads, the most obvious option needed is extra height. The film carriage – no matter the model – needs to be able to apply the film right to the very top of the pallet load. This is especially true for light loads that may require extra stretch film banding on the top to provide necessary support to the overall load.
In the application featured in this video, a Phoenix semi-automatic stretch wrapper (PLP-2150) wraps an oversized pallet of empty 2-liter bottles stacked roughly 10 feet high. The stretch wrapping machine has extra height to accommodate the tall pallet and our largest-in-class turntable easily holds the pallet.
For more on this video, click here.
2. Keep it on the ground
A tall load has a greater risk of falling over than a standard height pallet. When the product is also light, this is even a greater concern. Limiting the movement of the pallets around the warehouse during the packaging process should be a consideration. We’ve pulled three examples to show several different ways to achieve this goal.
In this first video, we had a customer with high production, tall and unstable loads, and limited warehouse space. We customized a solution for all three challenges. With limited space, multiple stretch wrappers were not an option, so instead we designed a single semi-automatic rotary arm wrapper that can wrap three loads one after another. As you see in the video, the machine and film carriage are mounted on a swivel base and an operator moves the wrapper from position to position. With the rotary arm design with extra height, the pallet load is stationary while the rotary arm does all the wrapping work.
Our second video showcases a wall-mounted frame model of our semi-automatic rotary arm stretch wrap machine. The pallet load – whether it’s tall, light, unstable, or some combination thereof – remains on the ground during the entire wrapping process greatly decreasing the possibility of toppling over.
Our final example is from a high volume distribution center and features three in-line automatic stretch wrap machines with the rotary arm. This set-up enables three pallet loads of different height, weight and product to be wrapped at the same time. Without a turntable or conveyors, the pallets are stable and can be moved around three at a time with a specialized forklift.
For more on this video, click here.
3. Ensure stability during the wrap cycle
Instability comes with the territory for tall, light loads. A pallet of PET bottles could topple over with a strong puff of air from the HVAC system! Or, more appropriately, the movement of a high-speed stretch wrapper could cause a light load to shift during a wrap cycle.
When this is a challenge, we suggest integrating a top platen to stabilize a load during the wrapping process. When a pallet is placed on a turntable or centered on a conveyor, the top platen is lowered down onto the load. The pallet load is then snugly sandwiched in place for the duration of wrapping cycle.
For more on this video, click here.
4. Get the film tension right
When it comes to light loads, oftentimes a “light touch” with the stretch wrap is needed. For example, check out this video where our rotary ring stretch wrapper tackles a tall pallet of PET bottles that could be crushed if the film tension was too high.
Our rotary ring stretch wrapper (which has optional conveyors as shown in the video or pallets can be wrapped from the warehouse floor if stability is a concern) has the finesse to apply enough tension to secure the load, but not too much as to crush the empty bottles. In the video, watch as the film carriage turns the corners, you’ll notice a slight billowing of the stretch wrap – that’s the light touch desired in this specialized application.
For more on this video, click here.
We hope you consider a Phoenix stretch wrapper; we pride ourselves on helping our clients find the right packaging solution. Whether you have tall loads, light loads, unstable loads, or some other challenge, we’d love to work with you to find the right stretch wrap machine for your needs. We love customizing our pallet wrapping machines to suit the challenges of our customers. Contact us today and let’s start a conversation!
Each production line is different. Every warehouse has its own idiosyncrasies. Organizations face unique challenges relevant to their business line, product, staffing levels or floor space.
When considering adding a stretch wrapping machine to the mix or upgrading a current one, it’s a big decision and investment. At Phoenix Wrappers we take pride and care in truly understanding how a client’s business operates and working with them to find out what they need out of a stretch wrapper. We specialize in customizing our machines to suit a variety of business needs. We believe that’s the best way to get the most of a stretch wrapping investment.
Where does one start when it comes to choosing a stretch wrapping machine? Believe it or not, you’ve probably already started the process. Let’s jump right in.
- Define Stretch Wrapping Goals
If you’re thinking about purchasing a stretch wrapper, then you probably already have a baseline idea of what you need this machine to do. Now, it’s time to consider it further and think through the details of your production line.
If your organization is switching from hand wrapping, an automatic stretch wrapper or semi-automatic stretch wrapper can make a huge difference in terms of safety, production, consistency, as well as have an attractive return on investment.
There are a few key questions to ask yourself and your organization to begin to shape your stretch wrapping goals:
- What type of production (i.e. how many loads per day do you have to wrap) does your organization have now? Seasonally? In five years? In ten years?
This will help determine if you have enough production to warrant a fully-automatic stretch wrapping machine and/or the speed required. In many applications, a semi-automatic stretch wrapper does just fine and is a great introduction to automation in the production line. It will also help you determine not only the right machine for now, but the right machine for future growth as well.
- What are the must-have features? Are there any special features you need that may require customization?
There are likely some features that you can’t live without. This might be a low-profile turntable so pallets can be loaded by pallet jacks or a top sheet dispenser to protect a pallet load from the elements. Consideration of the must-have needs will help narrow your focus as you begin to consider stretch wrapping models in step two.
- Is this stretch wrapper part of a greater automation initiative or a stand-alone automation element?
Integrating a stretch wrapper into the production line takes careful thought about the overall packaging process. If there are other automation elements, a new piece has to be able to keep pace with production.
Other considerations include:
- How are pallet loads created?
- How are they moved around the warehouse?
- How much space do you have for a stretch wrapper?
Once you have a strong sense of your organization’s needs and goals, it’s time to seek out the most suitable stretch wrapping solution.
- Research Different Stretch Wrapper Options
Once you start looking, options for pallet wrapping machines can seem endless. That’s why this step is so important. It’s essential to understand the advantages of each different model and manufacturer. Match up each potential stretch wrapper against your defined goals identified in step one.
After an initial survey of available options, find out more about each stretch wrapper that matches your company’s criteria. Contact the manufacturers to feel out if their product and service suits your needs. Their expertise in stretch wrapping can help you further define your needs and guide you to the best option.
- Compare Apples to Apples
Not all stretch wrappers are created equal. Some stretch wrappers may look similar, but it’s about the details. Look at service packages, warranties and delve into the specs. Phoenix stretch wrappers include many options in our standard models that other manufacturers consider “extras” or “upgrades.”
It may help to build a spreadsheet comparing the features of several machines to see which one comes out on top. It’s important to consider the overall package, price and anticipated return on investment. The essential question is: What are you getting for the money? Comparing the stretch wrappers on the same set of qualities will narrow down the options even further.
- Make It Work For Your Budget
As with all business decisions, consideration has to be given to the budget. A stretch wrapping solution has to align as closely as possible to needs while being within a company’s budget availability.
Something to take into consideration is the cost savings possible with a stretch wrapper. For example, if you’re upgrading your production line from hand wrapping, you will see significant savings in stretch film. With a stretch wrapping machine, the film is pre-stretched drastically lowering the amount of film necessary to sufficiently wrap a pallet load!
If you are considering our high-speed rotary ring stretch wrapper, savings could be even greater. This pallet wrapping machine allows for one-way wrapping, which saves about 30 feet of stretch film with every pallet load while still providing the necessary load retention wraps.
The less tangible benefits of a stretch wrapping machine should be considered as well. Things like increased safety and fewer injuries, improved production and flow, and consistent and professional packaging are impacts that should be taken into account.
At this phase in the process, you should have a good idea of the best stretch wrapping solution that fits your needs, goals and budget. There’s just one more step.
- Customize Your Packaging Solution
One of the ways Phoenix Wrappers differs from our competitors is that we are eager to work with our customers on custom stretch wrapping solutions. To truly optimize your production line, you have to have an end-of-line packaging solution that fits with your processes, labor demands, space constraints and outputs. Check out some of our custom stretch wrapping solutions and watch some of our stretch wrapping videos to see what’s possible. We’d love to work with you to find the right solution for you.
We said there would be five steps, but there is a sixth step – the best step of all! It’s time to implement your stretch wrapping solution and begin to see the benefits in production, safety and budget savings.
We hope you consider a Phoenix stretch wrapper; we pride ourselves on helping our clients find the right packaging solution. We love customizing our pallet wrapping machines to suit the challenges of our customers. Contact us today and let’s start a conversation!
Long before a pallet of product ends up at the pallet wrap machine, there’s a lot that goes into the planning and building of a pallet load. How a pallet of product is built is a critical variable in the packaging process and ensuring the product successfully arrives at a customer’s location.
Pallet wrap machines are used in diverse packaging applications from high volume beverage distributors to garden and nursery suppliers. While the product often drives the form and shape of a pallet, there are some general guidelines. Let’s take a look:
1. It starts with the right-sized pallet.
The pallet itself – whether it’s made of wood or plastic – is the foundation of every pallet load. A standard pallet is 48 by 42 inches, but in specialized circumstances, pallets can be smaller or larger. If possible match the size of the pallet to the size of the cartons or containers to the size of the pallet to create a cube. In pallet loads comprised of multiple different types of product, this may not be possible.
Depending on your line of business, pallet stacks can be the same each and every time, or be a constant puzzle to put together. For example, a pick and pack distribution center can have unlimited variations in packages – in size and weight – that are placed on the same pallet heading for the same destination, while a beverage distribution center will likely have multiple cases of the same product on each pallet day in and day out.
There are several accepted and distinct ways to stack a pallet (see diagram).
“A” Profile: A perfect cube, these loads have no protrusions and a clean shape. Because of its uniform shape, it’s the simplest load to apply stretch wrap.
“B” Profile: Different sized boxes may necessitate this type of pallet load. The protruding edges increase the likelihood of punctured stretch film, so it may entail a different or more “engineered” application of stretch film.
“C” Profile: The most irregular shaped profile, with its many corners, sharp edges and protrusions, it is likely pallet wrapping is probably the only way it can be unitized. But it will likely require an engineered solution in both the application and film itself to be unitized for shipment.
Other “common sense” tips:
- Place heavier products on the bottom of the pallet,
- Inspect the pallet for quality and safety before placing product on it.
- Pack boxes/cartons tightly without space in between.
3. Choose the correct stretch film and application.
Stretch film is a raw material. It is the pallet stretch wrapper that takes this raw material and stretches it (and potentially other operations) to engineer the film to suit many applications – it’s what makes it such a versatile product. The characteristics of your product and overall pallet load will determine the type of “engineering” your pallet will need in the pallet wrapping process.
Our pallet wrap machines allow for customization of various elements, including film force, pre-stretch, wrap cycles (i.e. double wrap cycle, split wrap cycle, top banding) and wrap speed, among others. These controls allow for a standard stretch film to be used in most pallet wrapping applications, whether it’s a heavy load (a pallet of soda bottles), light load (PET bottles) or a pallet with multiple protruding corners.
The right film and application ensures the undamaged and safe shipment of the product.
4. Consider packaging add-ons.
With the pallet stretch wrapped, it’s likely ready for transport and delivery. But, some custom stretch wrapping applications require other packaging elements that can be built into the production line.
For example, some products/pallets require protection from the elements. Pallets of gardening supplies is a prime example – product is often shipped well ahead of the gardening season. A top sheet needs to be added to the pallet to ensure rain and snow don’t damage the product. This can be an in-line element to streamline the pallet wrapping process or done within the wrapping process to save valuable floor space.
Each time you build a pallet, you’re preparing your product for a customer. Although it’s one of the last elements in the production process, the condition of a pallet is the first impression your product makes on customers. Professional looking packaging is not only safe, it’s a reflection on how a company values its product and customers. Following these four guidelines will put you on the right path to pallet success.
Our goal is to provide a stretch wrapper that fits seamlessly into a production line and makes jobs easier. Increased efficiency, decreased costs and consistent output are a few of the advantages of a properly configured stretch wrapping machine.
The truth is every production line is different. Different production volumes, different products, light loads, heavy loads, perfect square pallets or oddly shaped loads…the list goes on. Each unique instance may require different tools, features, speeds or configurations. And what about when a business evolves and a new feature is needed or an existing asset is not as high-performing as it once was? What’s the solution? A retrofit!
A retrofit can make your existing stretch wrapping asset even better. An in-line retrofit can make the difference between making production goals and falling behind. It can also enhance the overall quality of the pallet wrap.
Our retrofit options aren’t just for Phoenix stretch wrappers; we’ve done retrofits for ITW Muller, Wulftec, Orion, Lantech, Cousins and other brand name wrapping machines. A retrofit cannot only provide efficiency, but it will extend the life of an older stretch wrapper at a much lower cost than buying new.
Will a retrofit work for your company? Let’s talk about some of the different retrofits and how they can improve your production line.
- Perfect the Prestretch
One of the most important pieces to stretch wrapping success is to ensure the stretch film is properly pre-stretched. Adding our No Thread 30-inch Prestretch Film Carriage adds safety, consistency and the perfect prestretch.
This film carriage is designed with safety in mind – no film threading is required! An operator can’t ready the rollers when the safety door is closed. An analog sensor allows for even film tension application to the load by automatically adjusting the film speed on the sides and around the corners. The prestretch amount is easily adjusted from 60 percent to 300 percent.
A proper prestretch can save thousands of dollars in stretch film costs each year. How? The prestretch creates the right amount of film force, film tension and film strength required to secure a pallet for transport. With the right amount of prestretch, stretch wrappers can get the load secured with the least amount of revolutions and use the least amount of stretch film. And that means savings.
Keep in mind that just because a stretch wrapper is wrapping a load doesn’t necessarily mean it’s doing it in the most efficient or proper way. A new film carriage can renew your stretch wrapper. Try our stretch film efficiency test to see if your stretch wrapper is performing at an optimal level.
- Improve the Wrap Zone
These two examples of potential retrofits improve the end result of a wrapped pallets and often fulfill a certain need or wrapping requirement.
Top Sheet Dispenser: A stand alone in-line top sheet dispenser is integrated into an existing stretch wrapping conveyor line. Ideal for customers that have a stretch wrapping system that is working well, but need to add a top sheet on their loads without relying on manual labor or interrupting the machine’s cycle. The top sheet dispenser applies a poly top sheet film to the load prior to the wrap zone. The stretch wrap cycle then secures the top sheet to the load and provides five-sided protection for the pallet.
Pallet Load Pop-Up Conveyor System: If a top to bottom wrap is what you’re looking for, this retrofit can get you there. Added to the wrap zone conveyor, it lifts the pallet load by four inches while the stretch wrapper wraps the load. This allows the stretch film to continue its wrapping cycle under the pallet. It can lift up to 4,000 pound loads. This feature can also be used to connect conveyors of different heights.
- Secure the Stretch Film Tail
When readying a pallet for shipment a secure wrap is absolutely essentially. Too many times we’ve seen pallets leave the warehouse without a secure film tail at the end of the wrap cycle. A dragging piece of stretch film creates many safety hazards and looks unprofessional to the end receiver. Adding an in-line element that ensures a firm film tail solves this problem.
Film Tail Anvil Heat Sealer: Heat and pressure gives each and every load a secure film attachment with this mechanism. Replace the traditional film clamp and cut system with this one. It can be easily mounted to the side of the wrap zone conveyor. The sealer firmly welds the film tail together creating a clean and professional look.
Stand Alone Heat Sealing System or Automatic Film Cut and Wipe System: This add-on can be floor mounted along the side any existing conveyor section (adjustable from 16 to 28 inches) or can replace the current cut and wipe system. To be considered a true automatic pallet wrapper, a stretch wrapper needs to include a cut and wipe (or seal) system. A retrofit with this system guarantees a consistent film tail every time. A timed impulse heat system – cold to the touch in seconds – is the safest way to cut stretch film. The sealing system quickly welds the film tail to previous layers of stretch film creating a secure and clean film tail.
Is a stretch wrapper retrofit right for you? As we said before, there’s many variables and the solution is often unique to the particular company or application. We’re happy to offer our expertise and guide you in the right direction. We aim to provide you with money saving improvements! Contact us today.
Packaging is the finishing touch to any product. It’s one of the last steps in the production line and the first feature your customer sees upon delivery. Not only that, a good stretch wrap protects your pallets from damage, dust and other tapering. Wrapping pallets isn’t complicated, but it does take careful consideration of your business’s entire process. From there, it’s a matter of finding what works best in your production line.
Is an automatic stretch wrapping machine the right choice for your business? First, let’s get on the same page on the elements that make a stretch wrapper fully automatic.
- Holds the leading edge of the stretch film to allow the cycle to start without an operator.
- Wraps the pallet load according to set parameters.
- Cleanly cuts the stretch film at the conclusion of the wrapping cycle.
- Secures the film tail to the load.
Now let’s take a look at five advantages to adding an automatic pallet wrapper to your business’s production line.
- Increased Productivity
Getting more done in less time? What manager doesn’t like that idea? An automatic stretch wrapper can get you on the right path to efficiency.
An automatic takes much of the manual process out of packaging. Operators don’t have to wait around to start or and stop the wrapping cycle (like with a semi automatic machine). With the pull of a cord, or the placement of a pallet on a conveyor, the wrapping cycle starts and stops.
Our entry level automatic – the low profile turntable PLPA-2150 – has 15 RPM and can wrap up to 40 loads per hour. Our automatic stretch wrappers only get faster from there. Our fastest Rotary Ring stretch wrapper (the PRRA-4000) can complete up to 120 loads per hour.
If your production is even higher, many of our clients have multiple automatic stretch wrappers on their warehouse floor.
A setup of three automatic rotary arm stretch wrappers are designed for high speed multiple load wrapping.
- Streamlined Production Process
When you introduce an automatic stretch wrapper into the production line, whether it’s a turntable model or conveyorized automatic, it will make a difference to the pace of your work floor. An automatic machine frees up staff to do other tasks while the wrapper does its job. A forklift or pallet jack operator can place the pallet on the turntable or conveyor and then immediately begin preparing another pallet.
Take for example a pick and pack warehouse. Multiple pallet jack operators are in the warehouse building pallet orders. Once the pallet is complete, they can place the pallet on the conveyor or turntable, let the automatic stretch wrapper package the load, and begin preparing the next pallet.
Pallet jack operators prepare pallets and place them on this low profile conveyor system integrated with an automatic stretch wrapper.
- Savings on Film Costs
Both semiautomatic and automatic stretch wrapping machines are going to save a business money on film costs when compared to hand wrapping. Our pre-stretch carriage ensures the correct amount of stretch is applied to the film. The film threads past two rollers, where the second rollers’ rotational speed is faster than the first, thereby stretching the film. Not only does this increase the tensile strength of the film, it also reduces overall film costs.
A rotary ring automatic stretch wrapper is even more efficient. Phoenix’s proprietary technology allows for a one-way wrap and stopping/starting the load anywhere. This feature cuts out unnecessary rotations and wasted stretch film. See how much your business could save in film by using our film savings calculator.
A PRRA-2100 at work in a customer facility.
- Improved Safety
An automatic stretch wrapper keeps a forklift operator on the forklift – and that’s a safety advantage right there. More than 80 percent of forklift accidents involve a pedestrian – someone who’s walking around on the warehouse floor. Keeping forklift operators on their forklifts keeps them off the floor and focused on the job at hand. If you’re upgrading from hand wrapping, which often causes wear and tear injuries, the automatic will inject safety from that perspective. An automatic stretch wrapper requires little interaction (or bending) from the operator. The pull of a cord from the forklift or the push of a button is all it takes to get the pallet wrapped.
Additionally, an automatic stretch wrapper ensures a safe, consistent wrap that’s ready for transport. A poorly wrapped pallet can topple resulting in damaged goods or injury to a handler.
- Consistent Output
Predictability is a huge benefit when balancing all the elements of a production line. That’s what an automatic stretch wrapper does – it predictably and consistently wraps pallets in the same way each and every time.
An automatic stretch wrapper brings consistency, safety and production to whatever warehouse it ends up in. If this list of benefits has your curiosity piqued, check out our full line of automatic stretch wrapping machines at Phoenix. Does your company already have an automatic machine? How has it changed operations? Let us know via Twitter – @phoenixwrappers.
Phoenix Wrappers has a stretch wrapping machine to suit any business. From an entry-level semi-automatic to an automatic stretch wrapper to our proprietary rotary ring wrapper, we have options.
Phoenix Wrappers Dual Film Carriage System (pictured) is designed specifically for heavy loads that require extra tension and security out of their stretch wrapping.
Your business may have specific needs, or a job that calls for a specialized tool. Our engineers are experts in making our stretch wrapping technology work efficiently and tailoring to your specific application. Over the years, we’ve developed many customized stretch wrappers to fit different industries.
We’ve taken a look at custom stretch wrappers we’ve built for the bottling and agriculture industries. Now, we’ll look at an automatic stretch wrapper designed for heavy loads (i.e. brick & block, agriculture, nursery, gardening) and a customized conveyor system for a distribution center with pallet jack operations.
Phoenix Wrappers Dual Film Carriage System is ideal for heavy loads, like bricks, pavers, and bagged soil and fertilizers.
A pallet stacked high with bricks is one of the toughest applications out there for stretch wrapping and the same goes for other heavy, sturdy products. Our customers have come to us with challenges like tall stacks of fertilizer bags, roof tiles, and concrete pavers. This type of pallet requires a strong stretch wrap, one that withstands sharp edges and has enough force to hold the load together during shipping. The consequences of a poor wrapping job are not only loss of product, but also, with such a heavy load, the potential for injury if a load topples over.
To suit this type of application, Phoenix Wrappers developed the dual film carriage system. Once pre-stretched, this dual film is nearly unbreakable. How does it work? The first step is to put slits in one of the stretch films, and run it through an adjustable roping system. The second film stays intact. The two films merge together in our pre-stretch machine creating a bonded film that’s ready for the job at hand.
Now, the film is applied to the pallet load with a high tension by our stretch wrapping machine. With each revolution, because of the high tension, less film is used in less time than a traditional wrapping machine. That’s what we call an efficient operation!
Our dual film carriage system can be added to any of our automatic or semi-automatic stretch wrappers. Our clients have used this system in the brick & block, nursery (bagged soil, fertilizer), and agriculture (hay bales) industries.
Pallet Jack Operations
An employee at a distribution center builds a pallet load then places it on a custom Phoenix conveyor system.
Distribution centers are like highly sophisticated machines with dozens of moving parts. In pick and pack operations, a team of employees (many of them operating hand pallets) are often gathering products to be shipped on pallets. In this type of operation, the addition of an automatic stretch wrapper can make a huge difference in terms of speed and efficiency in the warehouse.
Yet, one of the problems our clients often face is incorporating a conveyor system that’s low enough to the ground to make it easily accessible for the pallet jack. For this application, Phoenix Wrappers had designed a low profile conveying system with a pallet jack ramp. The five-inch pass height accommodates pallet jacks, electric walkies and triple pallet riding trucks.
Paired with an automatic stretch wrapper, the conveyor system streamlines production resulting in increased production and efficiency, as well as stretch film and labor savings.
If you’re interested in learning more about our custom stretch wrappers, contact us today!
Automation is a big step to take for any production line. Not only is it a significant capital investment, it is a substantial shift for employees and the way a business achieves its goals. If you are considering adding a conveyorized pallet wrapper to your floor, congratulations! It probably means your operations are doing well and you are looking for ways to find efficiencies as production increases.
Making the transition to increased automation is an exciting prospect, but should be done with careful consideration of all elements of your business operations. From adding a fully automatic stretch wrapper to your warehouse to incorporating a conveyorized pallet wrapper, there are many options out there. Conveyors will streamline processes, but they also occupy valuable floor space.
Let’s walk through the considerations you should ask yourself and staff before taking the leap into a conveyorized system.
A specialized conveyor system modified for hand pallet jack operations added automation to this pick and pack facility.
Evaluate the Process
Taking a look at the big picture – as well as all the little details along the way – is the essential first step in determining your present and future needs. If you’re a manager, meet with staff to get into the nitty gritty of how the production line works presently. Ask a lot of questions. There might be some steps employees take with each load that even the most attentive manager might not be fully aware of. If you’re considering changing the way they perform daily tasks by increasing automation, it’s vital to include employees in the process.
Start your evaluation at the beginning of the production line. How are the building blocks (the product) of each pallet brought into the warehouse/production area? How is each pallet built? Is the process the same every time, or does it change frequently?
Once the pallet is built, how it is readied for transport? Does it need to be moved to a designated wrapping area? How is it moved to the wrapping area, by pallet jack, forklift? How it is presently being wrapped: hand wrap, semi automatic stretch wrapper, automatic stretch wrapper or some other method? Are there multiple stretch wrapping machines, or only one? Is there standing time anywhere in the process (i.e. an employee waiting for a load to be wrapped)?
Once the pallet load is wrapped, how is it moved to a loading or staging area? Does your production line operate one shift or run around the clock? And so on.
You know your business better than anyone, so these questions are just a start. The bottom line is take a deep dive into your present processes. That’s how you’ll find efficiencies and challenges.
Caption: Watch a conveyorized Rotary Ring Automatic Stretch Wrapper in action for a beverage distribution center.
Think About Pace
When it comes to conveyors, one of the most important considerations is the pace of production. The goal is to have whatever additional automation brought into the system work seamlessly within your production line. Understanding the time it takes for each piece of the pallet building process gives you a general idea of how often a pallet would be introduced to the conveyor.
Some other areas to consider around production pace: How does this relate to other elements of production down the line? Will the conveyorized system be able to handle the pace of production? How many pallets should a conveyor be able to fit in order to match current (and future) production? Is the pace consistent or does it vary? Can you match the loading and offloading of the pallets on the conveyors or will a stack up result on either end?
Caption: The powerful and versatile Phoenix Rotary Ring Automatic stretch wrapper can fit into small space, even with conveyors. The model shown in the video is designed with two legs and takes up minimal floor space. Conveyors could be placed in different configurations to suit the space (including at a 90-degree angle for corners).
Target the Floor Space
Every inch of floor space is valuable commodity in any warehouse. It’s not only important to identify potential locations for a conveyorized system, but also one that works within your existing production line.
Keep in mind conveyors don’t have to be in a straight line. At Phoenix Wrappers, we’ve designed and installed custom conveyor systems to fit relatively small spaces. We’ve built conveyor systems to fit into unused corners of a warehouse and installed a wall mount rotary arm automatic stretch wrapper with conveyors to save space. There are options for increasing automation without taking over prime real estate in your warehouse.
Is There Enough Production?
One of the key justifications for increased automation and conveyors is meeting production demands. So, is there enough production to warrant a conveyorized system? Are your employees struggling to keep up with production goals? Are they working overtime to get everything completed? Is automation needed because your company is entering a new market or expanding a product line? This answer will be data driven, and should also consider future goals and production projections.
Caption: Our conveyors matched with a Phoenix Automatic Rotary Arm Stretch Wrapper can handle heavy loads, like these pallets of bricks.
When Are The Peak Times?
Altering a production system is a permanent change. Going back to “the way things were” is often difficult and costly. Before making the leap to automation, reflect on the highs and lows of your production output over the course of the year. Will a new element of automation handle the peak times? Will it still add efficiency to the production line during a slow time of year? If your production is more or less consistent all year long, consider the impact of potential growth over the next year and beyond. A conveyorized pallet wrapper is an investment in the future, which brings us to the last point for consideration.
Caption: The Phoenix Rotary Ring Automatic Stretch Wrapper with conveyors added efficiency to this customer’s warehouse. The video shows forklift operators placing and removing the pallets from the conveyors.
Projections for the Future
Introducing a conveyorized pallet wrapper into a production line is a decision that will impact your business for years to come. Don’t take it lightly. Look at your production numbers realistically and analyze this investment to be sure a conveyorized system is the right choice for your business. It might be wise to also consider the flexibility of a conveyorized pallet system – could it be added to if production calls for it down the line? As mentioned earlier, the addition of a fast and versatile non-conveyorized automatic stretch wrapper is another option that can also bring about efficiencies in the production line.
Ready to Move Forward?
If you’ve carefully considered the needs and implications of investing in a conveyorized pallet wrapper to your warehouse – and the conclusion is a conveyorized pallet wrapping system is a business necessity – Phoenix Wrappers offers a range of conveyorized pallet wrappers. If your business has special considerations, such as space or configuration, Phoenix works with customers to tailor a stretch wrapping system that meets the needs of the business.