A revolution in wrapping for our bathroom supplier
A multinational bathroom product supplier approached us for help with reducing their plastic packaging waste and improving the efficiency of their despatch department.
Supplying bathroom furniture, showers, toilets, taps and more, to homeware retailers, plumbing merchants and bathroom showrooms across the UK, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, we’ve worked together for around 10 years, supplying packaging machinery and consumables to their factory and distribution centre.
Bathroom furniture and accessories are often awkwardly shaped, bulky, heavy and fragile. Warehouse operatives were securing the pallets of toilets, sinks, taps and shower units using shrink hoods, adding up to 1.2Kg per pallet in extra plastic. Covering large pallets with these hoods was a manual, time-consuming process that often required two people. Costly gas heat guns were then used to shrink the film and mould it around the products on the pallet.
The company was using shrink hoods for all sizes and shapes of pallet, using huge amounts of unnecessary plastic in an attempt to stabilise pallets for transport and protect the contents. Their Continuous Improvement team knew they needed to reduce waste and automate their pallet wrapping process and asked us to help.
Hazel 4D technical consultants visited their Rugeley distribution centre to assess the situation. We looked at the items they were shipping on pallets, their wrapping processes and the packaging they were using. Our findings report, along with recommendations for an improved process suggested that our Intelligent Load Stability system could make significant reductions in costs, materials used and time taken to deliver more stable pallets.
To automate, save time and reduce plastic waste, we suggested that they wrap their pallets using turntable stretch wrapping machines and MFNANO15 Extremus Stretch Film – a puncture-resistant load holding film made using the latest nanotechnology. As a trial, we installed, free of charge, a semi-automatic turntable stretch wrapping machine optimised for use with Extremus Stretch Film.
After a successful trial, our technicians set-up four customised programmes to make it quicker and easier to wrap their most commonly shipped products. With operatives trained to use the machines, load the film and sustain optimal settings, we got them up and running with three new turntable pallet wrappers.
The Project Outcomes
The results have been incredible, both in reducing plastic waste and cost and improving efficiency. They’re now using around 80% less plastic to wrap a pallet, and have stopped using plastic shrink-wrap covers to improve stability – there’s no need. They’re also saving around £60,000 a year on expensive, dangerous gas shrink guns and have cut their time to wrap a pallet by around three minutes, now it is no longer a manual process.
We’re about to install a further two turntable wrappers.
Summary of benefits achieved
- Reduced plastic used per pallet from 1200g to 183g
- Reduced PRN costs and plastic waste tax
- Removed the need for dangerous propane shrink guns saving £60,000 per year
- Dramatic reduction in cost per pallet wrapped, from £1.74 to £0.49
- Huge time savings of around 3 minutes per pallet
- Decreased labour costs
- Increased productivity and efficiency
- Reduced downtime
- Well-trained operatives
- New energy saving electric pallet wrapping machines
- Reduced health and safety risks
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