A large Contract Packaging Services provider packs a variety different sized promotional items ranging from bottles and tubes to cartons in polyolefin shrink film. The company deploys seven horizontal form/fill/seal shrink wrappers with in-line side sealer devices that use hot wires to longitudinally seal packages prior to entering the shrink tunnel. Excess ambient heat from the seal wires caused a buildup in plastic residue from the film. This resulted in defective seals, variations in package appearance and a significant amount of downtime to clean and reset the units. In addition, the heat generated from these systems would also periodically warp, melt or break mechanical components in the side seal systems.
To remedy these problems, SPS engineers teamed with the contract packager to develop and evaluate new side technology to eliminate the use of hot wire sealing components. Over the next year, the SPS development team would patent the use of a proprietary hot-tip sealing device which eliminated the intense heat generated by hot wire, knife and wheel systems. This new technology ran at significantly lower temperatures while providing stronger, lower profile seals on the package. Spare parts and downtime were virtually eliminated and retrofitting took only a few hours. The unit is known as the SPS Green Machine.
Process improvements were immediate. The contract packager was able to increase productivity by 50% while eliminating the excess scrap and rewraps caused by bad side seals. In addition, on-time deliveries were increased while lead times were decreased. These efficiency gains allowed an 18% cost savings to be passed along to the customer.
Strong, thin seals, packaging aesthetics and protection also improved, providing the consistency and appeal so important to the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. The Green Machine enhanced their position as a strategic partner with customers such as Wal-Mart and Target who rely on them to solve problems and provide value beyond just running the job.