Treehouse Shrink Wrap Integration
Treehouse Private Brands is a major producer and distributor of private label foods and beverages for retail grocery, foodservice, and co-pack customers. In order to increase their clientele, Treehouse reached out to Optimation for help integrating an industrial shrink wrapper to an existing production line. Having this machine integrated to their line would allow for a greater variety of end-product packaging capability to both meet the changing needs of existing customers and make their products more attractive to new customers.
Specifying new equipment and retro-fitting existing equipment to communicate with/interface with new equipment is always a challenge, especially in the food industry where rules and regulations are extra stringent. Optimation specializes in this retro-fitting activity and has vast experience in working with older production lines and seamlessly integrating new functionality. For Treehouse, Optimation specified a shrink wrapper to meet their throughput and quality needs and then re-designed Treehouse’s line to integrate the wrapper without disturbing the overall floor plan of the plant. To accomplish this, old equipment had to be demoed and removed, with some being relocated, and shrink wrapper then integrated both mechanically and electrically. A new series of conveyors was also added to increase controllability and reduce jams while allowing for greater overall throughput. Optimation engineers, construction managers, and tradesmen all worked together to accomplish this task and provide for comprehensive turnkey implementation.
After integrating the shrink wrapper, introducing a new series of conveyors, re-locating/re-purposing existing equipment, and establishing communication between the new equipment PLCs and existing equipment/plant PLCs, Treehouse was able to seamlessly turn on/off shrink wrapping capability for the various products being manufactured on their line. The new conveyors with integrated photo eyes and fully customizable dynamic flow zones reduced jams significantly while product density on the conveyors was increased. As an added benefit, Optimation control’s engineers were able to optimize the handling of the product upstream of the shrink wrapper to further increase the overall throughput of the line compared to initial project goals. A follow-up project to introduce another shrink wrapper to a parallel line is now in development.
Shrink Wrapper (introduced):
Existing Line (before changes):