Newly-Installed Roll Handling System Saves 17,520 man hours at Kimberly-Clark

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ROI in just one year adds to annual savings at mill that switched to automated material handling systems.

After commissioning in 2004, we could take two people off of that job and apply them to better use elsewhere

When most paper, foil and film mills and converters run their roll handling equipment on a 24/7/365 basis, any process time savings can quickly multiply to pump up the “bottom line” at the end of the year. In the case of Kimberly-Clark's Berkeley Mills site, the recent installation of a new paper and roll handling system resulted in an annualized savings of 17,520 man-hours. Underscoring the cost effectiveness of such improvements, this particular system paid for itself in one year.

Kimberly-Clark’s global team of more than 57,00 people produce brands such as Kleenex, Scott, Huggies, Pull-Ups, Kotex and Depend -- collectively used by nearly a quarter of the world's population in over 150 countries. To maintain supply of these indispensable products, Kimberly-Clark must keep its material handling systems running at an optimized level, especially when it comes to roll handling equipment -- a challenge encountered by most mills and converters.

“We had a step, where we had to put a cardboard header on the top and bottom of a full-width roll of 'non-woven' about 54" in diameter, 122" tall, and weighing about 3000-4000 lbs.; and then stretch wrap the roll on the winder kitchen rails,” recounts Pete Covill, mechanical engineering tech for the Kimberly-Clark plant in Hendersonville, North Carolina. “But all this work was being done manually. We would put the headers on at the winder, turn the roll about its axis, then take an 18” roll of stretch wrap and manually cover the roll. It took 3-4 people.”

To alleviate this labor-intensive step, Kimberly-Clark put out an RFQ and evaluated which roll handling equipment provider could deliver results at a cost-effective rate.

“S2F came out on top on both counts,” recalls Covill. “I successfully used them on another project that was pretty unique, and they helped me out there, so that figured into our decision.”

With a focus on paper and roll handling systems, S2F Engineering, Inc. of Blissfield, Michigan, is an industrial automation and controls company with over 100 years of combined experience in mechanical and electrical engineering, controls, systems integration, fabrication and maintenance. S2F Engineering is a single-source supplier with expertise in the initial design, fabrication, integration and commissioning of material handling systems.

“To alleviate all the labor-intensive handling and wrapping, S2F designed a piece of equipment that entirely automates the process by placing a cardboard header on the bottom of our up-ender, justifying it to the center, and then dumps the roll onto the 'upender' which upends the roll. An arm for the device then picks up another header off the header rack, and places it on top of the upended roll. Finally, the roll goes to the stretch wrapper system. S2F did all the integration and they helped us install the equipment.”

“After commissioning in 2004, we could take two people off of that job and apply them to better use elsewhere,” sums up Covill. “We run 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, so it saved a ton of man hours [17,520]. The new roll handling system probably paid for itself within the first year.”

For more information, contact S2F Engineering, Inc., 368 Sherman Street, Blissfield, MI 49228; Phone 517-486-5737; Fax 517-486-6097; or visit the web site http://www.s2fengineering.com.

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Terry Benton
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