How Choosing the Right Equipment Impacts Your ROI

The July issue of Packaging World featured an interesting application story about how Willow Tree Poultry Farms, a frozen poultry packager in Attleboro, MA, cut operating costs by implementing Econocorp cartoning and casing equipment to their production line.  As the Willow Tree’s sales had continued to increase over the years, they searched for an automated solution, which would ultimately help them keep up with demand, improve operating efficiency, reduce labor requirements and achieve a rapid ROI.

By installing the new cartoning/casing system, Willow Tree was able to package approximately 26 pies per minute with three people.  This is in contrast to about 30 pies per minute with eight people in their old manual operation.  To read the entire article and even watch a video of the application, visit Packaging World.

So, what do Dorner conveyors have to do with Willow Tree cutting operating costs?  To keep the chicken and turkey pies moving throughout the cartoning and casing process, Econocorp, used our stainless steel AquaGard 7300 Series conveyors.  Although it’s sometimes overlooked, having a reliable conveyor, or other methods of moving product from step-to-step in the process, is critical in realizing the ROI goals companies aim for.  Even with world-class packaging equipment, such as Econocorp’s cartoners/casepackers, if a conveyor breaks down or is constantly in need of maintenance, the whole line suffers and directly affects efficiency and ROI.

Things to consider when choosing a conveyor for your process:

  • Does the conveyor fit the application environment?
    • Most food packaging applications require at least a wipe down cleaning between shifts.  In this case, the packager used AquaGard stainless steel conveyors with bearings capable of spray wash down up to 100 psi.  Look for a conveyor that will be easy to clean, keeping operators and customers safe.
  • How much maintenance will the conveyor need?
    • No one wants to be dealing with conveyor belt tracking/tensioning issues on your conveyor.  It’s okay to expect a lot out of your conveyor without putting a lot of work back into it.  Choose a conveyor with proper belt conveyor tracking and tensioning methods.
  • How easily will the conveyor interface with the other equipment?
    • Often times, conveyors are “buried” in the equipment surrounding them.  Certain features can make this integration easier, such as slots for mounting accessories and other equipment, and a low conveyor profile height for a minimal footprint in the process. 
  • Is the conveyor capable of handling your production requirements?
    • Many factors go into determining the capability of a conveyor, including load capacity, speed, infeed and discharge methods, etc.  Choosing a conveyor designed for light-duty applications and overworking it, or vice-versa can be detrimental to achieving the production efficiencies you desire.

These are just a few of the things to consider when choosing a conveyor.  If you have an idea for improving your process, but you’re not sure how it will work, call our Applications Hotline for a free consultation at 1-800-351-8712.

Sources: pictures and original story from Packaging World & Econocorp Cartoning & Casepacking.

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