Manufacturer of Plastic Chain Conveyors
Odom's Tennessee Pride, one of the largest private sausage makers in the United States with multi-million-dollar annual sales, operates two production facilities in the states of Tennessee and Arkansas. Their plant in Dickson, Tennessee, is making very good use of the Designer System® conveyor line, made by SpanTech, LLC in Glasgow, Kentucky.
Immediately upon starting work on the project, SpanTech Project Manager Bruce Gray learned that the customer was seeking solutions for a number of concerns. Because of limited floor space on the plant's ground level, carton and case flats were to be stocked and erected on the second floor. Therefore, a method was needed to transport the erected boxes and cartons – with the lids up – from the second floor to the ground floor. The floor space limitations also meant that the product handling equipment needed to space was needed for manual assembly of the biscuit sandwiches, wrappers, cartoners, casepackers, and palletizers. It was also vital to keep noise levels to a minimum and have a very small footprint, since the available ground floor was needed for manual assembly of the biscuit sandwiches, wrappers, cartoners, casepackers, and palletizers. Odom's wanted a single supplier for all of the conveying equipment, and SpanTech was the choice. The initial design called for five lines, but Odom's sales increased so dramatically during the engineering phase that two additional lines were added. The first five lines were installed in 2005; the additional two in 2006. Each line was to be capable of producing 800 sandwiches per minute.
The process of designing and engineering the equipment began when application dynamics, product information and specifications, and floor layouts were provided to SpanTech. Carton and case flats were subjected to decline testing, using a WG-Series wedge conveyor in SpanTech's R&D area. A video of the successful testing was viewed by Odom's personnel, who then provided a CAD drawing showing exact machine placement. Equipment installation assistance was provided by SpanTech, per the customer's request.
SpanTech Designer System® conveyors are located at the discharge of each carton and case erector on the upper level, to transport cartons and cases to the SpanTech wedge conveyors for decline to the floor level. One wedge unit declines the cartons to the cartoner; a second wedge unit declines the cases to the case packer. Individual wrapped product is conveyed from the wrapper discharge to the cartoner, then the cartons are filled and transported to the case packer. Filled cases are transported to robotic palletizers.
The SpanTech conveyors – the wedge units in particular – have proven an ideal solution to this material handling challenge, according to James Stonehocker, Chief Operating Officer. "I would lie awake at night worrying about the equipment bringing the boxes down from the second floor," he said. "After the operation started, I saw that the SpanTech wedge units were the least of my worries. The SpanTech team was great. We got great support through the product testing done at SpanTech, during the engineering of the system, and at installation and start-up. The equipment has performed great." And it's not just Odom's personnel who have been impressed. "I often have visitors in the plant," Stonehocker said, "and they are amazed at the SpanTech conveying equipment."