Systems Integrator: Stokes Material Handling
Systems, Inc. (Doylestown, PA))
|Ken’s Foods, Inc.
Keeping the Productivity Commitment
New product-flow system is engineered
to help Ken's Foods meet ongoing goal of peak operating productivity.
When you're in a business as hotly competitive
as the one Ken's Foods is in, you have to maximize productivity in every
aspect of your operation. As the country's biggest privately held
manufacturer of salad dressings, Ken's Foods competes with some of the
biggest names in the food industry.
But the Marlboro, Mass.-based company is more
than holding its own. Ken's Foods has enjoyed double-digit growth for a
number of years now and has some aggressive expansion plans for the
The company's commitment to peak productivity
can be seen at its production and distribution center in Marlboro. The
310,000 square-foot facility features advanced computer controls, touch
screen technology, and the latest in palletization equipment. And
streamlining the flow of product throughout that facility is a series of
integrated conveyors from Hytrol.
The installation was completed in January
2000, fully automating what had been a largely manual operation. "We
were hand palletizing the cases from gravity conveyors located at the end
of our production lines," says David A. Muskopf, the company's vice
president of engineering. "With the new installation we've become
more productive, and we're making more effective use of our people."
The Ken's Foods engineering team worked
closely with Stokes Material Handling Systems of Doylestown, Pa., in
designing and implementing the installation. Stokes is an experienced
systems integrator and distributor of Hytrol conveyor equipment.
A Streamlined Flow
The installation was engineered
for simplicity, reliability, and efficiency. There are four product-flow
lines-two for retail and two for food service, which are the main customer
categories. The retail product is packaged in glass or plastic bottles.
The food service items come mainly in one-gallon plastic containers.
The cases are sealed and labeled in their
respective production areas-retail or food service. They move from the
discharge lines in production onto spiral conveyors manufactured by Ryson.
The spiral units bring the cases up to horizontal power conveyors, which
transport the product from the production area into the distribution
center and to the palletizers.
cases make this journey swiftly and safely. Brake belts engineered into
the system keep the cases from accumulating on the curves. "This was
a cost effective way of assuring that product flowed smoothly while
maximizing case density in the accumulation sections," says Neal
Feigles, the project manager for Stokes.
The two retail lines run parallel to one
another on the lower level. They each feed a dedicated Columbia palletizer.
The food service lines, running parallel above the retail lines, feed a
single multi-line palletizer. Belt conveyors are used to move the food
service cases down to a Hytrol model LRA merge conveyor. This conveyor
diverts an accumulated pallet load from either food service line onto the
common infeed of the food service palletizer.
The cases accumulate on a small section of
gravity conveyor before entering the palletizers. After palletization, the
load is discharged onto a chain-driven live roller conveyor. Pallets from
the multi-line palletizer are moved through a stretch wrapper. Stretch
wrappers soon will be added to the two retail lines as well. Forklifts
carry the completed orders to the shipment staging area. From there, they
are trucked to Ken's Foods customers.
In short, the product flow is clean, simple,
and direct. There's no unnecessary steps or wasted motion.
Supporting a Growth Track
Not a single day of production
was lost during the entire installation process. Stokes closely
coordinated its activity with Ken's Foods, taking maximum advantage of
third shifts and weekends.
"It was a smooth installation and really
painless from our side," says Engineering VP Muskopf. "And we
got the results we were looking for." The key result: The capability
to move close to 400,000 thousand cases a week out of Marlboro without a
In fact, the installation went so well that
Ken's Foods is replicating it at the company's production facility in
McDonough, Georgia. The same types of conveyors and palletizers are being
used, and Stokes Material Handling Systems is in charge of systems
integration. In the near future, Ken's Foods will break ground on a new
production-distribution complex to serve the western states.
And as the growth track continues, Ken's Foods
plans to continually seek that productivity edge-in its conveyors and in
every other part of the operation.
The Ken's Foods Installation
Sealed and labeled cases move
from the retail and food service production areas up the spiral conveyors
and onto horizontal power conveyors. Two foods service lines run in
parallel above two retail lines into the distribution center. Brake belts
engineered into the system keep cases from jamming in the curves. The
retail lines feed two dedicated palletizers. The food service lines merge
into one palletizer line. After pallets are built, they are discharged
onto chain-driven rollers. Pallets move through stretch wrappers and then
to end of line. Forklifts transport the pallets to shipment staging area.
A Close-up of the
Facility: Production and Distribution Center
Location: Marlboro, MA
Size: 310,000 square feet
Employees: Approx. 350
V.P.-Engineering: David A. Muskopf
Product handled: Salad
cases per week
Types of conveyors: Hytrol: Horizontal power
(190 ACC), belt (TA), chain-driven live roller (25 CRA), heavy-duty merge
(LRA), gravity. Ryson: Spiral.
Palletizer: Columbia/Jaffco Packaging Machinery
Conveyor supplier: Hytrol Conveyor Inc., Jonesboro, AR
Systems Integrator: Stokes Material Handling
Systems (Doylestown, PA)
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