Sheet Metal and Composite Panel Fabricator Solves Worker Safety and Labor Concerns with Yellow Jacket Technology
California Sheet Metal (San Diego, CA) faced issues of worker safety and labor time and costs when stretch wrapping their pallet loads. Three employees were needed to hand wrap pallet loads for shipping; one remained on the forklift while two others passed the stretch wrap as the forklift would move up and down. This hand wrapping method left California Sheet Metal open to possible worker injury and required extra manpower. When researching ways to help their palletizing system, California Sheet Metal discovered Yellow Jacket orbital stretch wrap technology. A customized Yellow Jacket Stinger™ stretch wrapper helped solve their safety and labor concerns.
About the Company
Founded in 1913, California Sheet Metal (CSM) is a leading general sheet metal, composite panel and ornamental metal fabricator and installer of Southern California. CSM customers include architects, contractors and owners in the commercial and public construction industry who need products ranging from architectural metal and louvers to handrails and guardrails to composite panels. The company is available for concept, design and production and installation phases of small and large projects. CSM is able to meet customer needs whether they are special palletizing orders or in fabricating.
After production, the parts and materials are shipped out, both locally and on a broader scale, sometimes to across the country. To keep the parts secure and protected from damage during shipping, they are stretch wrapped to a pallet. CSM works with many different sizes and shapes of parts and pallets. Robert Miller, a shop foreman at CSM, says, “We work with 4’ x 4’ skids all the way up to 5’ x 16’ skids. We have a 16’ press brake here so we bend parts that are 16’ long and we have to make sure they’re secure. Some of the panels we make are out of Reynobond® composite material that comes in 16’ sheets, so we have many different types of skid sizes.”
Worker Safety and Labor Concerns
Worker safety was the biggest concern with the company’s hand wrapping method. “Nobody has ever gotten hurt before doing that job, but it’s certainly something we wouldn’t want to have happen,” explains Miller. “We have a very good safety record here and we wouldn’t want to ruin it.” Safety is a matter the whole company is involved with and though the employees are careful, securing shipments by hand wrapping and with the forklift was a real safety concern. Worker safety was just one reason why California Sheet Metal began to look for a more efficient palletizing system.
The number of employees needed to wrap a skid was also an issue. One controlled the forklift, while the other two would wrap the pallet. An employee would walk under the forklift and pass the stretch wrap to a second worker, while a third brought the forklift up and down so the wrap could be passed over the skid and underneath it again. “So we would be using three people to wrap one skid,” Miller says. In order to find a solution to both of these problems, CSM began researching how to palletize their skids safely and effectively. Several companies, equipment and technologies were researched, but the Yellow Jacket orbital stretch wrap technology suited the company’s needs.
The Stinger™ Series Orbital Stretch Wrapper
California Sheet Metal purchased a customized Stinger Series Yellow Jacket Orbital Stretch Wrap Machine. With the Stinger stretch wrapper, products are secured and are protected against damage, dust and wind. The Stinger Series stretch wrapper eliminated the need for most hand wrapping, banding and strapping, minimizing the company’s total packaging costs and decreasing the possibility of injuries along with the manpower needed to secure loads for shipping.
The Stinger wrapper at CSM is a custom machine and features an 8’ ring and an extra long track in order to fit the various skid sizes. “It met our needs, what we wanted to accomplish, how we wanted to wrap our skid, how it would be protected,” Miller comments. “We have many different types of skids. We have a 14’ skid so I believe when it retracts then comes back forward we needed a machine that worked there too. I think the Stinger met all our needs.”
The company is able to fit most of its skids through the Yellow Jacket machine. “I would say 95% of our material goes through that ring,” Miller says. If the material is not able to pass through, Miller explains that the material may be too heavy and the forks of the forklift can’t fit all the way in because of the materials. In this case the company uses a forklift referred to as a combine, which lifts up to 10,000 lbs. of material, and the parts are secured to a truck or a metal band is used, forgoing the stretch wrapping.
Along with being able to wrap different size loads, the Yellow Jacket Stinger offered the unexpected benefit of improved part quality, as the loads are kept more secure. With the previous wrapping method the sides of the loads were wrapped, but not the middle where the forks were located. With the Stinger wrapper the whole skid is wrapped at one time and very well protected. This is especially important for parts like the composite material panels that are machined on the company’s CNC router and which take about 2 hours worth of labor per part. “If we don’t have these panels wrapped correctly then that’s a lot of man hours that could go down if we drop just one skid,” explains Miller. “Now we wrap more correctly and that helps us out by making sure our parts do not get damaged.”
Labor and Safety Benefits of the Orbital Stretch Wrap Technology
California Sheet Metal’s biggest concern with hand wrapping loads for shipping was safety. Though no one had ever gotten hurt using the company’s previous method, one time is all it would take. “No matter how fast we were in the wrapping process if someone got hurt walking underneath a skid it’s not going to do any good for our company. We wouldn’t be around if somebody gets crushed by a skid,” Miller says. With the Yellow Jacket Stinger machine CSM is able to help keep workman’s compensation insurance prices down, which in turn helps with competitive bids the company couldn’t make if employees were to get injured.
Reducing man hours is also a benefit realized with the Yellow Jacket. “Like I said it promotes labor safety. But man hours is where it’s also helping us out tremendously,” Miller explains. “We’re not having three guys wrapping a skid. Now we have one guy wrapping a skid. If we have 100 skids to wrap you can multiply that by 5 to 10 minutes a skid and that’s how much we’re saving by only using one person instead of three.” That is a total of roughly 8 to 16½ hours for wrapping 100 skids with just one person. “I am sure it will pay for itself, definitely by saving labor time and definitely by saving us from having someone get hurt,” Miller comments.
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