A global producer of hand hygiene and skin care products for public, work and industrial environments experienced a sharp increase in customer demand for reduced product count per shipment with some customers requesting as few as 2-3 bottles per case.
The reduced product count per shipment led to the use of increasingly smaller cases. Existing, fully-automated machines at the plant were unable to adjust to the small boxes, which forced the company to adopt a semi-automated process. Not only did each line require a dedicated person to form boxes using the semi-automated erector, but the output speed was also severely reduced through the element of the manual labor. However, as shipping containers shrink in size, the number required to be filled with product increases proportionally. This in turn requires a faster box forming and closing process to accommodate the steady product output from the primary packaging line. For example, two products per case require double the case rate as four products per case. Consequently, the hygiene and skin care manufacturer needed a fully automated solution that could accommodate the small cases to regain higher production speeds and increase production efficiencies.
Despite being a long-time Pearson customer, the hand care manufacturer evaluated a range of case erectors available in the market. Beyond the product fit, Pearson Packaging Systems was chosen for the quality of the build of the machines as well as quick response time to any requests for technical assistance.
To reclaim efficient production speeds, two product lines required machines that were able to handle small boxes at a maximum speed of 35 cases per minute, while still being able to adjust to a wide range of box sizes to account for future changes in the product line. Pearson’s CE35-UG not only met the case size and speed requirements, but its fast five-minute changeovers utilizing quick release handles, easy to read scales and HMI instructions added further value by maximizing uptime. Additionally the CE35-UG is easy to operate, maintain and integrate into MES/ERP systems using Allen Bradley CompactLogix™ PLC and PanelView™ HMIs, fully compliant with PackML.
Two additional product lines required higher output speeds. Pearson’s CE50-UG Case Erector and CS40-G Case Sealer optimally met the provisions laid out with their capability of erecting and sealing extremely small boxes at up to 50 cases per minute. With their fully servo driven motions, both models allow real-time, on-demand speed adjustments and experience improved overall equipment reliability over the use of traditional pneumatic controls.
Through the deployment of the new CE35-UGs, the hand care product manufacturer was able to regain desired production efficiencies by reducing one person per packaging line while meeting desired output speeds. Similar improvements are expected from the addition of the high-speed case erector and case sealers. Overall cost savings were immediately realized through the reduction of labor with additional latent effects of avoiding repetitive stress syndrome and other incidents related to ergonomics. From a total cost of ownership perspective, utilizing machines that were specifically designed to handle small cases also improves reliability, which reduces maintenance and downtime costs.