FPS Case Study: Automatic Stretch Wrap System for Food Packaging

FPS-Case Study_Automatic Stretch Wrap System

Bulk food packaging can present numerous challenges, especially when your business is running on tight margins with each shipment to retailers. You can’t afford to have product damage during distribution. It may result in returns or chargebacks. Or even worse, it could lead to lost contracts and a poor reputation in the industry. Stretch wrapping of pallets is one of the most critical steps in the bulk packaging process. It can be the key to load loss prevention and minimizing the risk of product damage.

The Challenge

First Packaging Systems recently worked with a leading international manufacturer of dried noodle products. They have three facilities in the United States and 15 different manufacturing lines. Each one has an automated stretch wrapping machine at the end of the packaging line. They package extremely high quantities of products every day, and their profits rely on distributing bulk shipments to major retail sellers.

Originally, they used a thicker gauge of stretch film for their automated stretch wrapping machines, and the quality was great. Unfortunately, budget cuts led to a costly decision to move to a less expensive, thinner gauge of stretch film. They began experiencing serious load containment issues. Products were regularly damaged during transit and retail distribution. Major retailers were returning products, which often were thrown away. Needless to say, this hurt their reputation and affected their bottom line with lost business and product replacement costs. 

Identifying the Solution

The manufacturer turned to FPS to find the most cost-effective solution. Returning to the more expensive, thicker stretch film was not the best option. Our engineers and advisors worked together to study their packaging lines and existing automated stretch wrap machines. The solution was to retrofit the existing equipment to accommodate a larger width of stretch film.

Most modern, automated stretch wrap machines like the Phoenix PCTA  Automatic Stretch Wrap System are designed to handle standard film sizes of 20 or 30 inches. Their older equipment was only set up for 20-inch stretch film. To test the efficacy of this solution, we were able to retrofit one of their machines to handle a 30-inch film. They could still use a thinner and more affordable gauge of 30-inch stretch film that would be cheaper than the thicker 20-inch film they used originally. However, the larger film size allowed for more efficient wrapping patterns and more effective load containment. 

Measurable Results

The test worked beautifully on the first line. Load containment vastly improved with the pallets rolling off this line while optimizing material costs with the most efficient use of the 30-inch stretch film. Supplier matrixes and retailer scorecard ratings rose dramatically, and product loss was minimized. Ten percent of the output from before failed during the distribution process. The test resulted in a 0% product loss. 

The company is now in the process of retrofitting the stretch wrap equipment on all 15 of their packaging lines across each of their manufacturing facilities. Once these updates are applied to all of their lines, the projected cost savings is a seven-figure amount across a 12-month production period. They are now able to avoid the load containment problems and restore their credibility with retailers and suppliers. They also have hired FPS as their exclusive packaging equipment provider.

At First Packaging Systems, we’re all about finding the right solutions for your packaging challenges. Our technical group is extremely skilled at identifying problems and determining which equipment, technology, and automation processes will make the biggest difference for your business. Contact us today to learn more or schedule an introductory packaging system consultation.