"War Room" Planning Pays off in Roll Handling Equipment Design

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Concentrated, teamwork approach is ideal approach when designing unique material handling systems.

Ultimately S2F designed an overhead gantry depalletizer that would pick up our 100-250 pound rolls

Mission impossible? Perhaps that's the impression that some plant engineers might have when faced with having to add or replace paper and roll handling systems. However, a multidisciplinary approach involving plant personnel and the design team, within a "war room" environment, seems to yield consistent results in roll handling designs that meet or exceed the challenging requirements of unique applications.

"Unless you have a group, then you’re going to have issues that might be missed," says Mike Wainer, Senior Product Manager for Cast Film Sheets at Battenfeld Gloucester Engineering, a division of SMS Plastics Technology based in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

"New technologies are frequently introduced and improved upon that your in-house team -- or a vendor who doesn't specialize in roll handling equipment -- might miss," continues Wainer. "For example, it used to be that safety mats were placed on the floor to help prevent an operator in a roll removal cart from hitting and damaging the winding equipment. Well, those mats evolved into a laser system adapted to meet our needs, but we did this together with S2F.”

With a focus on roll handling systems, S2F Engineering, Inc. 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.

"When we are working on proposals for a new project, 'sales' gathers all available information and we sit down collectively with electrical and mechanical engineering to lay out the details," says Terry Benton, General Sales Manager at S2F. "We then start examining everyone's ideas about how the system should operate. We go through a weeding out process. Sometimes this will happen four to five times before we are satisfied that we are offering the best system."

"S2F did a palletizing project for us in the Simpsonville facility, and they sent five guys down here from Michigan and North Carolina for the turnover meeting -- that's a lot of people to put on a plane to come down here for a project," recalls Ken Etheredge, Senior Facilities Engineer for the Cryovac Division of Sealed Air in Simpsonville, South Carolina. Sealed Air is a leading global manufacturer of materials and systems for protective, presentation and fresh food packaging in the industrial, food and consumer markets.

"We started the material handling systems meeting at nine in the morning, brought lunch in at noon and continued brainstorming throughout the day," continues Etheredge. "We had some of our process and electrical engineers, planning and maintenance personnel, and production people in on the meeting.

"Ultimately S2F designed an overhead gantry depalletizer that would pick up our 100-250 pound rolls," continues Etheredge. "They created a clever algorithm to do a search based on roll diameter. The device employed an ultrasonic sensor to determine how far down the arm had to go to reach the core of each roll on the pallet. That job was finished in January 2005 and we were ultimately able to re-deploy the employee who used to manually unload the rolls. Since then, this roll handling step runs almost 50% faster."

For more information, contact:

Terry Benton

S2F Engineering, Inc.

368 Sherman Street, Blissfield, MI 49228

Phone 517-486-5737

Fax 517-486-6097

E-mail: sales @ s2fengineering.com

Web site http://www.s2fengineering.com

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