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The plastic tie that binds.

Bosch Braking Systems can keep its customers and employees safer, while at the same time saving money, now that the company uses a drive-thru plastic-strapping machine.

At the company's Sumter, South Carolina brake assembly manufacturing facility, forklift trucks shuttle between the shipping dock and the assembly line stations where automotive brake assemblies are packaged in carefully engineered, multi-layered pallet loads.

Each pallet load is strapped before reaching the shipping dock. However, the steel strapping that the company previously used was difficult for customers to open. The sharp edges of the steel were dangerous to personnel, and the time it took to manually strap each load was not efficient.

With the use of the drive-thru strapping machine, Bosch has increased its throughput. The plastic strapping is easier for customers to open; it is easily cut with a knife or scissors. Also, the plastic strapping costs less than steel.

Bosch's protective-package-pallets for brake assemblies are designed for easy loading and unloading, maximum product protection, and long life in repeated use. Additionally, the trays can be stacked to heights convenient for unloading. "If a customer wants stacks 50 in. high, it's not a problem," says Sandy Pantoja, Bosch Sr., industrial engineer.

These bulky, heavy nested-tray pallets measure 48 in. on a side and 50 in. tall. The pallets can weigh as much as 2,500 lb.

The drive-thru strapper is 15 ft wide, 7 1/2 ft high, with an opening of 5 ft for the forklifts to drive through.

Forklifts drive into the strapping machine with pallets loaded on the forks. With a quick side shift, the forklift operator positions the load against the strapper's side plate. A green light indicates when the operator has positioned the pallet load correctly. The operator then pushes a button on the strapper's control panel.

In a cycle that takes 2.5 seconds, the strapper applies and tensions two parallel 1/2-inch plastic straps around the stacked pallet load-on the forklift. The operator shifts the pallet away from the strapper's sideplate and moves out.

With the drive-thru strapper, Bosch significantly increased the speed of the strapping process. At the same time, the company reduced its shipping team by one person per shift.

EAM-Mosca Corp. 516-366-4586

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Publication:Modern Materials Handling
Date:May 31, 1999
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