CASE STUDY: Sara Lee Reduces Labor Requirements

17 Dec
Singulation
“It’s been a long time since putting something that simple into the plant that has created so many other potential improvement opportunities within the factory.”

Background

The Sara Lee bakery in Lisarow, New South Wales, Australia, outputs 8 million cases of bakery products such as pastries, croissants, pies, and cakes per year.

The Problem

At the freezer spiral exit, small cases of baked goods are released sporadically onto the outfeed conveyor. Because it is essential that the cases are in single file for further processing, Sara Lee employed one plant worker per shift to manually reposition and singulate the products. This manual intervention frequently led to product damage and/or waste.

The Solution

Sara Lee engineers partnered with Intralox to determine a solution for automating the singulation process on a line that produces approximately two million cases per year. Sara Lee installed two conveyor sections of Intralox’s singulator solution at the spiral exit.

Results

In the first three months of automation, Sara Lee experienced a success rate of 95% with its most difficult product. The plant reduced its labor requirements by two employees per day, providing a payback of investment in six months. By eliminating manual labor requirements, worker safety and the incidence of product damage/waste were also improved.

Sara Lee has since identified other areas in the plant to install the Intralox solution.

“It’s been a long time since putting something that simple into the plant that has created so many other potential improvement opportunities within the factory,” Sara Lee Continuous Improvement Manager Lyndon Scrooby said.