In the last Ice Talk I examined the value of choosing added ice production over additional freezer storage in order to better enable packaged ice producers to say yes to summer time sales or growth opportunities. I pointed out the fact that even the biggest freezers run out of ice when the demand is high, and that very large freezers can be cost prohibitive. Whereas added production lends itself to better operational efficiencies, manufacturing redundancies, and the ability to ramp up your production when opportunities present themselves. Although extra ice manufacturing equipment can prove to be an essential tool to saying yes to new opportunities, this raw product still requires packaging and palletizing before it can be sold. How does a packaged ice producer allocate the necessary labor required to accomplish this occasional task? The short answer is automation. Proper ice system automation can free your company from the constraints that labor imposes on your operation. Whereas people resources are unpredictable, problematic, and disruptive, properly automated equipment systems operate on demand, and if necessary, 24 hrs a day.
A key component to an automated system is automated product palletizing. Automated product palletizing increases operational productivity while providing operational flexibility, but getting the most from your investment involves much more than just purchasing a palletizing machine. Making an investment in automation involves a thorough review of an ice manufacture’s available equipment, space, operational challenges, and future goals. This involves much more than just adding a palletizing machine to the end of the packaging line. Proper automation should enable your company to package product on demand, without obstacles, and with minimal human interface. What good is an equipment investment if operators are still required to watch this equipment run or make adjustments to ice transfers, conveying, or packaging equipment? Real value comes from truly eliminating labor, and truly eliminating labor requires a thorough examination of all equipment operations leading up to the palletizing equipment.
Today’s Automatic Ice Systems are engineered and built to be run by only one operational supervisor. No matter what the required product throughput, we build packaged ice systems that reduce the labor requirement to one skilled operator. From single packaging line operations demanding 50 pallets of ice a day to multiple packaging line operations producing hundreds of pallets a day, we have the solution to virtually eliminating all labor requirements. By truly eliminating the labor crutch, a manufacturer’s productivity can skyrocket. Just imagine having the tools to double your daily packaged ice output by simply turning on additional ice manufacturing equipment and possibly scheduling a second sift with only one operational supervisor. A properly integrated and automated packaged ice system may be your tool to future success and company growth. Is your company ready for an upgrade into the future?