Category: Supply Chain

Getting a Handle on the Mix

Looking for a solution to overcome problems presented by roller conveyors—fallen cases, pallet shifting, debris accumulation—Crescent Crown contacted a number of stretch wrapper manufacturers, including Orion, for a solution to better handle its mixed load volume with accuracy and speed.

Orion collected information on Crescent Crown’s specified load size, pass height, throughput requirements and available footprint and then developed an application- specific solution that included a 7,500-pound capacity, low-profile, floor-mounted chain conveyor, with three rails, housing a triple strand chain. The chain conveyor features glides so that pallets move forward smoothly, explains Rich Marchant, vice president of operations for Crescent Crown, unlike when on a roller conveyor. Using Orion’s MA-DX Deluxe high-speed rotary tower stretch wrapper with a low-profile conveyor system allowed Crescent Crown to handle 60 pallets per hour.

The MA-DX uses an Allen-Bradley MicroLogix 1400 PLC, variable frequency drives and PowerFlex 4 AC drives, and an Eaton color touch screen HMI for operator access.

“We have seen between 40 and 50 percent less breakage coming through the conveyor because pallets are transitioned smoothly into the wrap zone,” says Marchant of the system’s capabilities. “This has led to one of the biggest savings—less machine downtime.”

The automatic wrapping system also has reduced Crescent Crown’s labor costs. The floor-mounted conveyor eliminates the need for additional personnel to elevate the pallets for wrapping as well as the extra movement of the pallets required for hand wrapping, Marchant notes. It has also reduced the cost of materials. The automatic wrapping works with 30-inch rolls of stretch film as opposed to 20-inch rolls and the high performance Orion stretch wrapper achieves maximum stretch, which has helped Crescent Crown realize a 30 percent overall savings in stretch film material costs.

“Each order selector is now moving 300 cases per hour, enabling the distribution center to process 25,000 cases in an eight-hour shift,” says Marchant. “The return on investment was about 18 months, based on labor savings, speed, efficiency and reduced stretch wrap needs.”

Company Profile

Crescent Crown Distributing, LLC

Business Type: Beer, wine and non-alcohol beverage distributor

Challenge: Handling more than 16 million cases of mixed beverage products that have to be delivered to liquor and grocery stores, restaurants, bars, and convenience stores in the greater Phoenix, Ariz. metro area

Solution: A stretch wrapping/conveyor solution to achieve the necessary throughput of unstable and random mixed loads and minimize downtime caused by breakage

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