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Automation on Stretch Wrappers Yields Efficiencies

April 1, 2005
Adding a bit of automation to its stretch wrappers, and subtracting waste from its final packaging operations, has saved Rev-A-Shelf (Louisville, Ky.) time and money.

Adding a bit of automation to its stretch wrappers, and subtracting waste from its final packaging operations, has saved Rev-A-Shelf (Louisville, Ky.) time and money. Founded in 1978, Rev-A-Shelf manufactures custom organizing accessories and storage products for the home. Because of its mixed product line and customer requirements, its orders are shipped in a variety of carton and pallet sizes and combinations. A pallet load might consist of a number of small cartons or a single large carton.

Before installing Lantech's (Louisville, Ky.) Q-300XT stretch wrappers, one person had to band the unit loads to the pallet while lift truck operators waited. Typically, this person would band 10 to 20 pallet loads before the wrapping process could begin.

After a group of pallets was banded, the same person walked to the stretch wrapper and helped the lift truck drivers by starting the film on the loads and cutting and wiping the film at the end. About 300 pallets a day passed through the system during two shifts.

If the lift truck operator did not have the assistance of this other person, he became responsible for the entire process of moving and wrapping the load, a time-consuming procedure that required multiple steps to load and unload the unwrapped and wrapped pallets.

Greg Gilbert, manager, rotating business unit, says, "It seemed like we always had pallets stacked up somewhere, wrapped or not wrapped, with lift trucks spending too much time waiting."

The solution to the problem was the purchase of Lantech's semiautomatic stretch wrapper. The machine uses a deceptively simple concept, which requires the lift truck driver to put the load on the turntable and then pull a lanyard before driving off.

At the end of the wrap cycle, the machine's fully guarded cut/clamp module severs the film at the tail and holds the payout end in the "ready" position for the next load. "If you're on the lift truck," says Gilbert, "all you do is drop the pallet and go."

The Q-300XT is equipped with a mast-height extension, letting it handle loads to 110 inches high. Its turntable runs at one-12 RPM, supporting loads to 4,000 pounds. Lantech's power-roller stretch is factory set for 200 percent pre-stretch to reduce film use. Wrap force is variable, set at the machine's control. "Lantech showed us how to use the variable wrap force control on the machines to achieve the kind of load containment needed to eliminate the cost and labor of strapping," says Gilbert.

The lift truck operator does not have to dismount his vehicle to start and finish the wrapping process. The machine is equipped to automatically cut the film on a finished load and restart it on the next. The operator only has to pull a lanyard after the new load is placed on the turntable.

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