The customer is a leading manufacturer of paint located in Fort Worth, Texas. They’re production line contains some of the most advance technology in their field. The components in the line that we focused on contained an automatic can baler, tray feeder, automatic tray former along with automatic can loader, pallet stacker with a robotic arm and conveyers to connect all the stations. The cans would feed into the tray former and four cans would be loaded onto the trays. The trays would then reach the end of the line and be formed into a specified pallet pattern by a robotic arm. The cans would be distributed on the tray in pallet quantities across the customers facilities. The customer could then use the tray to distribute, or for point of sale to consumer.
- The packaging was arriving to the customer location damaged and had to be pre-sorted which added time to set up.
- The packaging was not folding correctly and jamming in the case erector which caused the auto loader to eject cans of paint, thus stopping the production line and creating a severe mess.
- The bales on the cans were popping up during product movement through a conveyor which caused the robotic arm that raised product into the final shipping pallet to drop the cans. This would spread paint all over the floor and it would have to be cleaned which created down time.
- The current supplier was not addressing these problems or coming onsite to collaborate with the customers manufacturing team
Leaman Container sent a cross functional team with designers, engineers, and maintenance experts to complete an initial review of the process. They found:
- The height of the conveyor rails required adjustment.
- The design of the original package had long flap extensions that were prone to be damaged by forklifts. The damaged parts had to be pre-sorted which added to down time. If the damage was not caught, this issue would jam up the auto loader.
- The original tray scores were too light and were prone to not break in line correctly.
- The original tray did not contain the bales of the cans. Since the bales were able to be knocked around by the conveyer, they would pop directly up and interfere with the robotic auto pallet loader.
- Suction cups on the case erector required adjustment.
- In the redesign of the tray, one of the main issues was to cut back the flap as far as possible without creating any packaging integrity issues. The final solution saw these flaps cut back sufficiently to eliminate forklift and material handling damage. The flaps were tested in large quantities at different lengths to find the best combination.
- When reviewing the auto loading process, it was discovered that the initial fold of the tray was the main constraint. The initial fold was changed from a regular score to a perforated score which made it easier to fold. The perforated score is easier to fold because it has a combination of cuts and scores which requires less pressure to fold-up compared to a regular score.
- It was determined that the bales were popping while going through the conveyer. The issue was that the conveyer walls were taller than the tray walls, so this caused the bales to contact the conveyor walls and pop up periodically. The side walls that contacted the conveyor wall were made taller which now kept the bales inside of the tray.
Leaman Container was able to provide a corrugated solution which not only solved the customer’s problem, but also reduced material cost for the customer. The customer’s corrugated is warehoused at Leaman Container for just-in-time next-day delivery to minimize warehouse space at the customer’s facility.