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Shrink wrappers: cool move for ice cream maker.

Vons Ice Cream, the Los Angeles-based hub for processing and pacaging Safeway Select ice cream, has replaced its aging shrin-wrapping machinery with two new models. This step has saved the company thousands of dollars a year by not damaging product.

Previously, inadequately wrapped product and containers were damaged from machine malfunctions, according to Larry Batson, plant manager. "We needed to find new machinery that was reliable and easy to service and changeover."

Batson's plant stocs 1,500 grocery stores, coast to coast, with ice cream products. He must ensure that products arrive in good condition with no damage due to the pacaging.

Wrapped in six and eight pac configurations, the products mae a long journey before they are stored in a grocer's freezer. Reliable shrin wrapping is a priority.

"Once our product is shrin wrapped," says Batson, "it has to travel through our plant on a series of conveyors. It goes through our hardening system. And then it is discharged down to a palletizing station, and then stored."

When needed, this stored product is taen from one of Vons' freezers and shipped to one of its warehouses and placed in storage. When it is piced for a store order, the product is then repalletized, wrapped, and loaded onto a trailer. Finally, it goes to a Store to be sold.

"A lot of mechanical hours were required," says Batson, to eep the old shrin wrappers operational. Also, a bundler "would jam and smash pacages, or the shrin film would brea on the way to the hardener, and units would fall on the floor."

Two new shrin wrapping systems were installed in December 2000. They are cutting costs and product damage. Downtime has been only 2 hours after 8 months, compared to 65 hours a year previously, moreover.

The new machines also save on film costs. They use 1.5-mil film compared to the more expensive 1.75-mil and 2-mil film grades used by the old machines.

This new equipment was "easily accepted by the plant's operators," says Batson; the new machines "really won them over.

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Title Annotation:Vons Ice Cream
Comment:Shrink wrappers: cool move for ice cream maker.(Vons Ice Cream)
Publication:Modern Materials Handling
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Oct 15, 2001
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