Packaging: On-demand foam packaging secures product and savings
Automated system protects everything from cell phones to televisions for electronics repair specialist.
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Lifetime Service Center is an independent warranty and repair service center with more than 60 repair technicians supporting the electronics and appliance industry. The company now uses automation to produce engineered, pre-molded foam cushions to protect products during transit. The solution has reduced product damage, packaging costs and labor costs.
The company first sends packaging to consumers so they can ship items back to a repair facility. According to Kam Bleuer, distribution manager for Lifetime Service Center, it’s critical that the materials are easy for consumers to use and, most importantly, perform during shipping. Previously, the company used pre-made polyurethane foam cushions, but they proved to be expensive and required a lot of storage space. Then, Bleuer tried a foam-in-place solution that created foam-filled bags used to cushion and brace flat screen televisions measuring up to 42 inches. Noting unacceptable damage rates, he sought an alternative.
Testing revealed the corner cushions contained too much foam, which put pressure on screens and often caused them to crack. With the appropriate density, the new solution also reduced the amount of packaging material required.
The new system creates molded foam cushions for either immediate use or for batching applications. Two automated units now create 400 to 500 cushions daily for items ranging from TVs to cell phones. Bleuer says this solution increased consistency and labor efficiencies.
“We no longer need an operator to create cushions all day,” he says. “We have also decreased the risk of inconsistent cushions or defective cushions resulting from human error.”
Damage rates are down 8%, packaging material costs are 25% lower, and the new system freed up 3,000 square feet of floor space. Bleuer estimates a return on our investment within the first year.
About the AuthorJosh Bond, Senior Editor Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.
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