Health & Hygiene – A Case Study

The Situation:

Pack Air was contacted by a customer who wanted to add a buffer zone between processes on three of their production lines. Each production line ran various sizes of boxed personal hygiene products and spanned two stories of their manufacturing facility. The buffer zones were to be located between two processes that were almost directly above one another.

The Challenge:

The buffer system needed to both transport and accumulate various sizes of products without damaging them, and fit within a small footprint. The production line normally ran 24 hours a day, so interruption for integration of the system needed to be minimized. Changeover time for running different sizes of products through the system needed to be minimized as well.



The Solution:

Damaging of the products was avoided by creating zones within the accumulation system that would independently and automatically slow down, stop, and restart product flow. Combined with its overall length, the system was able to hold 20-30 minutes worth of accumulated product, with no single product being stationary for more than a few minutes. When accumulation is required, as indicated by a signal sent to the system PLC, the zones within the system begin to either slow down or stop as each zone fills.
When the downstream condition is resolved, the zones restart and return to a flow-through mode. The system was able to handle various sizes of products with minimal changeover time by setting the guiderails to accommodate the largest product, and using removable discs at the corners to guide smaller products. As a result, the entire system can be changed over in about two minutes, without using any tools. The system was built with complete but separate upper and lower sections, so it would fit within a standard semi-trailer, fit within the customer’s freight elevator, and be quick to reassemble.


The Results:

Pack Air designed, built, and integrated a cost-effective solution that met all of the customer’s expectations. Production line flow was improved by adding accumulation. Cost savings were achieved by enabling production upstream to continue during interruptions downstream.