Board Converting News, April 4, 2022

Designing WIP Systems (CONT’D FROM PAGE 58)

tem, or – worse – lose control of where material is locat- ed. When an automated system crashes, is there a way to determine the location of every unit? If not, you will have to inventory everything on the floor to identify its location, which will be made more difficult since safe access around the conveyors is difficult. In any event, it is a good idea to have a contingency for recovering from this eventuality.

discharges to a third transfer aisle which feeds the con- verting machines. Although the second bank can be elim- inated, a single bank would require the conveyor lengths to be longer, and it would, therefore, be more difficult to segregate orders to individual lines, and to access orders that may be packed in the middle of those lines. If the corrugator is ever supplemented with special grades or sizes purchased from an outside vendor, be sure to provide a method for these sheets to be input to the WIP system. Another option which has been in use in Europe for some time, is an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) which uses racks and a robotic system to store each unit in a vertical matrix. These systems require far less floor space inasmuch as they store multiple tiers of material. Another option for maximizing capacity of limited real estate is double decking the WIP conveyors. This too, has been in use in some European plants for many years, and requires transfer cars with integral lifts. Before going further, a conveyor vendor must be se- lected. In today’s conveyorized plants, conveyors are usu- ally controlled by an automated system that stores and retrieves material. Of course, price and reliability are im- portant, as they are for all equipment, but it is essential to evaluate the vendor’s control algorithms or you may find that you don’t reap the labor savings of an automated sys-

Be sure the system can cope with order changes, even when material has already been delivered to converting machines. Bad board, damaged or missing tooling, and rush inserts are a fact of life and can require that orders


• Machinery selection • Plant layout • Project Management • Consulting

A true corrugated industry veteran with nearly 50 years’ experience, Richard Etra can help you with every aspect of box plant operation. Contact Richard today for a no-cost consultation: email: ph: 917-647-9520


April 4, 2022

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