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Washington Beef Inc
Beef processing and distribution center. Relocate and expand single line scaling/labeling operation into a dual line operation.
Washington Beef, Inc., a beef processing/fabrication facility located in the Northwest, needed to relocate and expand its material handling system from a single line scaling/labeling operation to an expanded dual line scaling/labeling operation. The system needed to feed a new palletizing sortation mezzanine located in the storage cooler.
Cases were packed onto a single line, feeding a single scale line in which sealed cases were conveyed directly into the case sealer and out to manual palletizing. Strapped cases were transferred at 90 degrees onto a gravity conveyor feeding two strappers and then pushed onto the palletizing conveyor. Rework cases or no-reads were diverted onto a gravity rework conveyor.
Process bottlenecks due to the older material handling system were becoming more common. Washington Beef needed to increase its ability to quickly and accurately meet orders.
Integrated material handling system featuring Conveyors, Lifts and WilDeck Mezzanines. A multistage installation approach to implement the project was taken, due to obstacles that had to be overcome in an operating meat processing facility.
The case handling system added a new parallel line to the south pack-off conveyor. This allows cases to be conveyed to either scale line for any reason. Cases to be sealed are conveyed primarily on the west scale line, which allows them to go directly into the case sealer from the in-motion scale line. Cases to be sealed that are scaled on the east line are diverted at 90 degrees onto a gravity conveyor and manually introduced onto the line feeding the case sealer. Cases to be strapped on the east line convey directly to a case strapper at the end of the scale line. Operators can also divert cases to be strapped onto a secondary strapping line that is tied into the west scale line. Cases from both scale lines are conveyed to a 2-1 merge conveyor located on a mezzanine above the two scale lines. Cases are then combined onto a single line feeding the sortation mezzanine. Cases travel up a belt incline and are either scanned for diverting to one of three palletizing platforms, or the case will continue to the carousel loop for manual palletizing. No-read cases or those with bad bar codes will also be sent to the carousel. An ink jet printer marks these cases for identification.
Improvements gained by the new conveyor system include enhanced computer control, operation flexibility, better ergonomics and enhanced customer service.
Cisco-Eagle implemented the project over several months in a way that allowed Washington Beef to maintain its daily production schedules. This approach to minimize downtime required extensive planning by Washington Beef, Cisco-Eagle and other parties involved in the facility construction and planning.