Packaging: On-demand foam packaging secures product and savings

Automated system protects everything from cell phones to televisions for electronics repair specialist.

By ·

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.

Sealed Air

About the Author

Josh 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.

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

Casebook 2015 · Dunnage · Packaging · Sealed Air · · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Solving the Labor Shortage Crisis: The Four Benefits of an Automated Warehouse
Not enough warehouse staff? Finding it difficult to keep up with orders during peak periods?
Download Today!
From the March 2018 Modern Materials Handling Issue
Here’s how one of the world’s largest 3PLs is looking to tomorrow’s innovative technologies, including heads-up display and robotics, to transform its operations today.
Conveyors & sortation: Carrying the e-commerce burden
2018 Productivity Achievement Awards
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Emerging Technologies for Your Distribution Center
Come get an insider's view of the latest technologies for inside your Distribution Center. You'll learn which technologies are being piloted, which are having success and moving from concept to implementation and into production on the maturity scale, and what's coming on the horizon.
Register Today!
NextGen Supply Chain at DHL
Here’s how one of the world’s largest 3PLs is looking to tomorrow’s innovative technologies,...
Trinchero Family Estates: Pallet handling in the vineyard
The second-largest family-owned wine company in the world turns to automated pallet handling and...

System Report: Rocky Brands Sees the Light
Confronting an aging materials handling system and new channels of business with new customer...
Lodge Manufacturing: Distribution Cast in Iron
In a new facility, iPhones and a new WMS allowed cookware manufacturer Lodge to double its business...