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How We Helped a Garden Nursery Distribution Center Find a Solution to a Complicated Plant Wrapping Problem
Stretch Wrap Automation
Ventable Stretch Wrap
A large nursery distribution center was looking for a solution to a labour shortage stretch wrapping problem. The client needed to wrap a cart (that housed plants) with stretch wrap without rotating the cart itself. Wrapping their cart without rotating it was necessary because, due to centrifugal force, all the plants would fall out while being wrapped. The customer was looking to build something from scratch but an assessment made by a Gertex Solutions packaging expert indicated that a fully automatic, rotary arm stretch wrap machine solution would be perfect for the application.
While observing the current processes and product, the packaging expert also determined that a vented stretch wrap solution would allow them to water the plants after wrapping; allowing for increased airflow during transportation.
The customer was using hand wrap immediately before loading the carts onto a truck for shipment. The wrapping was accomplished by multiple people manually wrapping hand wrap around the carts. The nursery typically would bring in over 50 offshore workers for harvesting. Due to Covid-19 restrictions in 2020 they only had 15. The restrictions forced them to cancel shipment and create delays. They had no automatic processes in play because of the awkward size of the cart, the reluctance to move away from manual labour and just a general unawareness of the major evolutions in stretch wrap equipment products and technology.
While interviewing the customer about their current processes, it was determined that a rotary arm unit was worth investigating farther.
A site survey was done, and measurements were taken of the carts, the space, and the application. Through conversing with the customer, we learned that in a perfect world the customer could water the plants after they were wrapped allowing them to be staged on the dock ahead of time. We discussed airflow wrap and samples were brought in.
We determined that a Wulftec WRT-150 would be the best solution for the application and vented wrap would allow them to water after they wrap the carts. They built a frame with watering heads on it that are attached to a remote. They now pull a train of fully wrapped carts through the frame and stage.
For the vented stretch wrap, we chose WP Innova's Airflow to allow the circulation that regular stretch wrap does not. AirFlow is an ultra strong, breathable vented stretch film engineered to allow air circulation while maintaining a superior holding force. AirFlow accelerates heat and moisture dissipation, which makes it ideal for this application and for many others. It also reduces overall packaging costs, saves time, and is 100% recyclable!
THE WULFTEC WRT-150
The WRT-150 model, a semi-automatic rotary tower is the ideal stretch wrapping solution for unique sized products that require speed.
All Wulftec structures are made of heavy-duty steel for rugged performance, even in the harshest work environments. They’re built to last forever.
Production Rate: 50 loads per hour
Variable Speed: 0-12 RPM
Maximum Load Size: 56" (L) x 56" (W) x 80" (H)
1HP Variable Frequency Drive Motor
The people working in the plant are very happy with the ease of system operation and the fact that it is much quieter than the old system. The customer has increased their production and reduced their cost. They are now able to provide safe and secure packaging for a broader range of customers in the food industry with compliance across all sectors.
The full labour savings are yet to be determined. At this point they have 40 staff working at the nursery. With offshore labour, growers are responsible for housing, grocery shopping, transportation, and wages. Due to Covid-19 they also need to increase the living space. This makes the cost of labour much higher than minimum wage.
500% Increase in Completion Speed (1 min vs. 5 mins)
100% Decrease in Damage to Plants in Transit
70% Cost Savings Through Cut & Weigh Test Wrap Alternative
Was Able to Reposition 75% of the Manual Labour
Increased Throughput – Since the introduction of the new system, the customer has increased throughput of the wrapped carts by 500%.
Reduced Damage – Through the stretch wrapping system that was implemented for this company, damage to the product in transit has been reduced by over 100%.
70% Cost Savings & 75% Labour Re-positioned – By re-positioning labour and switching to a better stretch wrap alternative (that was also more environmentally friendly) we were able to capture over 70% in cost savings for the client.
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