Packaging: Refreshing solution handles mixed pallet loads

Beverage distributor uses an automated stretch wrapping machine and low-profile chain conveyor system to deliver securely wrapped loads.

By ·

As Arizona’s second largest beer distributor, Crescent Crown Distributing provides more than 16 million cases of beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages annually to stores, restaurants and bars in the greater Phoenix metro area. Knowing that success hinges on speed, Crescent Crown began designing its new 277,000-square-foot facility with an eye out for a stretch wrapping/conveyor solution that could maximize throughput levels of unstable and random mixed loads and minimize downtime caused by breakage.

The company had been using pallet jacks to move pallets onto a roller conveyor for transport to a stretch wrapping machine.  However, unsmooth conveyor movement meant pallets could shift or fall, causing jams that required the equipment to be shut down and the cases to being hand wrapped to maintain production schedules.

During the planning phase, Crescent Crown’s vice president of operations Richard Marchant explains that the company found that some manufacturers wanted them to change the system to match what the machines could do, but the systems supplier they chose (Orion, http://www.orionpackaging.com) looked at Crescent Crown’s specific needs and engineered a solution that fit the company’s application.

Taking into account specified load size, pass height, throughput requirements and available footprint, the materials handling solution includes a 7,500-pound capacity low-profile floor mounted chain conveyor with three rails, housing a triple strand chain that glides to move the pallets forward smoothly.

“Using a chain drive is unique,” says Marchant. “It has allowed Crescent Crown to improve its speed.  Each order selector is now moving 300 cases per hour, enabling the distribution center to process 25,000 cases in an eight-hour shift.”

The automatic wrapping system, which only requires human intervention to reload film, has significantly reduced labor costs.  And, because it uses 30-inch rolls of stretch film instead of 20-inch, the company has realized a 30% savings in material costs.

The new Crescent Crown facility is an efficient operation that accounts for 40% of the company’s business in Arizona, says Marchant.  “With the combination of the automatic stretch wrapper and low-profile chain conveyor, the return on investment was about 18 months, based on labor savings, speed, efficiency and reduced stretch wrap needs.  We’ve seen between 40% and 50% less breakage as pallets are transitioned smoothly into the wrap zone, which has led to one of the biggest savings—less machine downtime.”


About the Author

Lorie King Rogers
Lorie King Rogers, associate editor, joined Modern in 2009 after working as a freelance writer for the Casebook issue and show daily at tradeshows. A graduate of Emerson College, she has also worked as an editor on Stock Car Racing Magazine.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Automation · Conveyors · MHPN August 2011 · Orion · Packaging · · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Mobile Solutions: Improving Supply Chain Efficiencies
To meet customer's ever-increasing service expectations and improve their business efficiency, companies are looking to their supply chain operations – especially material handling and warehouse operations managers.
Download Today!
From the February 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
In warehouses and DCs, planning solutions tend to take a back seat to execution system functions. Vendors are working to boost the trust factor using tools that break down forecasts and blend with analytics.
Automated Storage on the Move
Receiving 101: Setting the Table for Success
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Johnson & Johnson: A vision for automation
J&J Vision Care brings together a variety of automated technologies, including an innovative...
Using AGVs at LEDVANCE
The lighting manufacturer reaped savings by reducing maintenance costs and product damage, and using...

System Report: Sustainable Distribution at REI
Specialty outdoor retailer REI’s new distribution center brings together the next generation of...
System Report: Whirlpool puts mobile robots to work
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to...