Industry: Industrial and consumer textile manufacturer in Mt. Holly, NC
Challenge: Replace an inefficient, time consuming manual sleeving and shrinking process
Solution: A fully automated process that sleeves the final product and carries it through a heat shrink tunnel to an accumulation table
Product: Slat conveyor with specialty fixture from Direct Conveyors LLC
One of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors of industrial sewing thread, embroidery thread and technical textiles needed some outside thinking.
This company has been creating textiles since the 1890s, the days of water wheels and manually processed everything. From their humble beginnings, surviving depressions, world wars and tremendous technical upheavals decade after decade, they are today at the cutting edge of what they do.
They’ve certainly come a long way from using flowing water to power their business, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. A company of this stature doesn’t face the future without reassessing the present in every detail.
From Past to Present
As a maker of industrial threads, our client manufactures a wide variety of materials, colors and sizes. Each bobbin, whether it be the size of your fist or the large, six-inch by 10-inch industrial product, must be sleeved in clear plastic and heat shrunk in order to transport cleanly and without potentially unwinding.
“Often in our business we work with other companies to create total solutions. We have amazing partners who are top of their fields and we know how to come together to understand our customer’s need and provide effective results,” said Charlie Williamson of Advanced Equipment Company (AEC).
Working with our conveyor partner, we saw an immediate opportunity to save our client in packaging costs and remove unnecessary labor.
Out With The Old
A human had to manually place the right-sized sleeve on each bobbin which were then carted to a heat shrink machine – a very time consuming process.
In With The New
A snap on/snap off fixture is attached for the appropriate sized sleeve. The bobbin is placed on a conveyor fixture, automatically sleeved and moved by a slat conveyor through the heat tunnel for shrinking.
“Our partner provided the shrink sleeve application and heat tunnel. We provided the special conveyors, custom fixtures for holding the bobbins through the process, and performed the full installation,” said Charlie.
Into the Future
“What was before a painfully slow manual procedure is now a future-facing automated one – saving them time and increasing efficiency by reducing errors,” stated Charlie.
A human element is still needed at the beginning to place a bobbin of thread onto the fixture, but then the conveyor takes over, routing it through sleeve placement and heat shrinking and depositing the finished goods onto an accumulation table for hand packing into cartons for shipping.
The customer is very happy, material handling artist Charlie Williamson has said, “We saved them in packaging and labor costs providing an extremely good payback.”
Charlie Williamson has been a Material Handling Specialist with AEC since 1996. Prior to AEC, he spent an additional sixteen years in the material handling industry. Charlie invests his time and ingenuity into every project as well as gains a real sense of fulfillment to see all projects through to final working solution. As an Integrated Systems Specialist, he welcomes the opportunity to be of service for solutions involving single conveyors, complex turnkey systems and everything in between. Connect with Charlie on LinkedIn.