Hazel 4D & Distribution Centre Working Together

Hazel 4D have worked with a chain of distribution centres to drive efficiencies and improve pallet wrapping processes with impressive results.

Following initial conversations, it was obvious to Hazel 4D that there was an opportunity to support the customer in their drive to remove the Health and Safety risks of hand pallet wrapping and reduce costs on a number of their distribution sites, and after explaining the opportunities to the client, Hazel 4D were invited to their distribution centre to audit the process and develop a proposal for improvement. The initial findings were interesting, this site alone was wrapping 400,000 pallet per year in their goods in department using a pre-stretched hand film. 

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The problem

The main issue for the site manager was the concerns raised by their H&S department about operatives wrapping pallets by hand, with reported instances of lost work days due to back injuries, this was a significant problem that needed resolving, in addition to this, hand wrapped pallets were causing problems in the automated warehousing system, with loose pallet wrap at the bottom of pallets creating troublesome ‘tail ends’ which were frequently blocking the automation sensors on the pallet storage and transport system and sending pallets into the reject lane. 

Our solution

Hazel 4D were able to demonstrate that by bringing together their Atlanta Semi Automatic pallet wrappers with their Extremus Nano12 machine film, pallets could be wrapped using only 70 grams of film, at a cost of c. £0.26 per pallet whilst completely eradicating the H&S concern of hand wrapping pallets.

The customer was impressed with the proposal and keen to move forward with it, and a business case was presented to their client – as well as to the management team. Their client approved the initiative, and so did the distribution centre management and procurement teams, however Hazel 4D were not an approved supplier to the customer. This roadblock was removed when the procurement manager for the category reviewed the Hazel 4D offer. In his words, he found the justification for approving Hazel 4D as a supplier as he didn’t know of any other incumbent packaging providers who could present the same offer and deliverables.

Once the approved supplier hurdle had been overcome, the customer and Hazel 4D were able to work together on the detail of the project, including planning machine locations and working on motion studies to ensure that the machine positions promoted optimum efficiency. Once all parties were comfortable with the scheme, they ordered 6 of the Atlanta Synthex pallet wrappers with automatic film cutters, and these were duly installed by the Hazel 4D in house engineers. The machines were optimised to run using the Extremus 12mu Nano technology film, stretching at just over 300%, and the customer and client’s team were trained in the use of the machines, including a ‘train the trainer’ program. The whole installation, and the improved wrapping of the pallets was signed off by the H&S rep, and the machines are now running smoothly. Hazel 4D provide ongoing preventative maintenance on a quarterly basis, and this gives the opportunity to also check film optimisation and ensure that the machines are still running at their optimum efficiency.

Shortly after install, Hazel 4D were approached by another of the customer’s site’s. They were having similar issues to those experienced previously by the client, and the key contact at the first site had recommended them to Hazel 4D as a competent partner to assist them with transferring from hand pallet wrapping. Hazel 4D subsequently installed 4 Atlanta Synthex pallet wrapping machines on this site, using the same Extremus 12mu Nano machine film.

The difference it made

  • Significant H&S improvements as a result of eradicating hand pallet wrapping practices
  • Upgrade to working practices for the staff
  • Reduced cost per pallet wrapped

  • Reduced weight of plastic used per pallet wrapped
  • Significantly improved load stability of pallets
  • Improved clarity on pallet – labels can be easily scanned through the film
  • Elimination of troublesome pallet wrap ‘tails’
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