Creating Safe Distancing in Packaging Operations

06.18.20 // Heritage Paper

Food processing is not the only industry that is now faced with the challenge of safe distancing and protecting workers in a crowded facility.

Manufacturing and assembly lines everywhere have also been set up to maximize space efficiency, with workers often standing shoulder to shoulder. PPE (personal protective equipment), reconfiguring work processes and automation can help to meet new post COVID standards for employee protection.

At the end of the production lines, unless palletizing is fully automated, very often workers are still operating within close proximity of each other. While full automation can solve this problem, until then, there are intermediate and immediate solutions to consider.

As an example, a self-leveling actuating turntable like this Pallet Pal from Southworth Products

This unit (various models) will automatically adjust the height of the pallet load to within an optimum working height of 30 – 40”. The turntable rotates the load so that it is always nearside to the operator. Safety issues are greatly reduced as well. Unsafe bending, twisting and reaching are all but eliminated with  this unit. Also, no more need to walk around the pallet – and into proximity of nearby workers- thereby creating a safe distance  between employees.

Just a couple of examples of how this unit could effectively and quickly help you establish safe distancing:

 In tight assembly areas:

                Instead of this                                            We can do this


We can offset the workers so that one is perpendicular to the line. The self leveling actuating turntable is placed at each workstation creating the safe distance between workers. And, by rotating the pallet to the worker, we have also improved productivity by 30 to 40%.

In production lines and DC’s:

           Instead of this                                                     We can do this


In this scenario, workers are offset and a Pallet Pal turntable or other positioner is placed at the end of each line. They are now safely 6 to 8 feet apart and we’ve sped up production as well.  (Study conducted by Southworth showed 30-40% of the time to palletize was spent walking around the pallet to access it from the other three sides)

This is just one very versatile and inexpensive piece of equipment that can help you meet the new employee safety standards as required due to COVID. These guidelines are likely to stay in place for some time so it is critical to meet them while minimizing impact to your productivity.

At Heritage Paper, we can walk through your process with you and help you identify opportunities. We have expertise in the full range of solutions, from the front of the packaging line to the back end, from intermediate steps you can take today to full scale integrated automation solutions. Our team will deliver the solutions and the results to help you meet these new challenges. Contact us today

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