Packaging equipment supplied by Linkx Systems is helping leading fashion retailer Paul Smith to keep pace with the fast growing demand for its products. The Linkx equipment was installed in just four days at the Paul Smith warehouse in Nottingham, which supplies more that 2,000 retail outlets worldwide.
The warehouse uses manually erected cardboard cases, which are loaded with goods that are picked by hand, as many items are delicate and of high value. Up to twelve different sizes of case are in use. After the cases have been loaded, they are void filled, sealed, strapped as an aid to easy handling and to guard against pilferage, and finally check weighed to provide assurance, as far as possible, that the contents are correct and to determine the most suitable method of shipping.
Originally, all of the operations were carried out manually but, with orders totalling several hundred cases per day, it was becoming impossible for the workers on the packaging line to achieve the necessary throughput and backlogs sometimes resulted, particularly at the busiest times of year when it was especially important to ensure prompt despatch.
To address this situation, the engineers at Paul Smith investigated potential solutions from a large number of different packaging equipment suppliers. Ultimately, however, they decided that equipment from Linkx Systems was the best match for their requirements, as it was compact, demonstrably efficient and very cost effective. In addition, the Paul Smith team knew that the company had an excellent reputation for delivering high-quality customised packaging solutions.
Central to the equipment provided by Linkx Systems for this project a SIAT AS24/650 & SM446 Random case closer, which can accommodate any size of case from 300 x 200 x 220 mm to 800 x 650 x 750 mm, thereby covering all of the sizes in use by Paul Smith. In addition, the machine can handle cases of varying sizes presented in random order.
The machine automatically centres the cases, closes the flaps and tapes them shut. It employs an intuitive PLC-based control system that makes it easy to use and allows operational flexibility to be combined with high throughput. Linkx Systems also supplied a case strapper, an automatic check weigher and a single-line roller conveyor to link the machines.
To reduce costs and because it was essential to minimise disruption during the installation of the new equipment, Linkx Systems configured it and tested it exhaustively in-house before despatching it to site. As a result, installation and commissioning took just four days and, because of careful planning, even while this work was being carried out, the warehouse remained operational.
“Our new packaging system has now been in use for several months,” said Gary Cresswell of Paul Smith, “and we’re very happy with the results. It’s proving reliable and easy to work with, and its gives us the capability of handling up to 900 cases per day, which at the present time, is more than enough to meet our needs.”
“Of course, our business is still enjoying strong growth,” he continued, “so we’re certain to need more packaging equipment in the not so distant future. And when that time comes, you can be sure that Linkx Systems will be very high on our list of preferred suppliers!”