Blog Banner

Case Studies

Large food tech machines braced for export shipping to USA

10th February 2018

Summary
IES designed bespoke wooden crates to wrap, pack and ship three unusually large press machines (14 tonnes) from Bristol to Ohio, where there were no accessible points to secure them inside. Internal bracing ensured the equipment arrived in perfect condition for immediate installation at SOLUT!'s food technology facility.

Background
Food packaging creator, SOLUT!, has a manufacturing facility in Lewis Center, Ohio. The company designs and produces innovative paper-based, sustainable food packaging for ready meals – which can go in the oven and freezer. Their custom packaging products are cost-effective and uniquely durable for commercial, retail and take away food uses. They manufacture disposable bakeware and food trays to exacting food safety standards, combining their experience and several technologies to thermoform the packaging from corrugated paper and paperboard. This unique method enables SOLUT! to produce superior strength food trays in different sizes, designs, and colours. 

Challenge
With growing demand from retailers and consumers for ‘green’ packaging, SOLUT! needed to expand their factory capability. They were facing a two-year lead time to order this type of thermoforming press. When SOLUT! President, Scott Rechel, found three available in the UK from West Rock, he had to find a team to pack and ship the machines safely to the USA. SOLUT! wanted to install the thermoforming presses immediately into production, so they needed a turnkey export packing solution to minimise re-assembly time.

As the machines weigh over 12.5 tonnes net, SOLUT!  hired specialist machine movers, IES, on recommendation from West Rock.  The size and heavy load of the machines created several challenges in designing a secure packing method to transport the presses overseas. While on-site to pack the machines, IES found the weight had been incorrectly recorded on the original shipping delivery note, which meant they had to respond fast to re-assess their planned export packing method:

  • The main unit of each machine had very few places to secure it inside the crates. 
  • Standard shipping crates were not strong enough to bear that weight while lifting them.
  • Instead of fitting inside shipping containers, the machines would have to be packed onto flat racks.
  • Transatlantic shipping involves the rigours of the sea, but any lateral movement of the load could break the strapping.

Solution
To take care of all the export arrangements for SOLUT! IES collected the thermoforming press machines from the existing site and arranged delivery by sea, including customs clearance then arranged collection from port and delivery to the client's site in Ohio. By designing bespoke wooden crates, IES was able to overcome the size, weight and handling challenges, ensuring they would be strong enough to hold the weight. Ahead of the shipping date, IES planned how best to cover them and lashing suitable for ocean freight in flat rack containers. IES business development manager, Christian Malpas, provided a single point of contact for West Rock and SOLUT! to ensure packing went smoothly from initial site visit through to the arrival of the shipment. When preparing to lift the machines, IES found the net weight of each machine was 4 tonnes heavier than documented. The team responded fast to overcome the problem - immediately revisiting and reassessing the packing, lifting equipment, straps and securing method - to ensure the export packing would bear the actual load. Christian stayed in constant contact with the customer to ensure they had the correct equipment on site to off-load the crates and move machines into place once the shipment arrived. This was vital to avoid installation delays.

Outcome
To protect the machines in transit, IES wrapped them in vacuum sealed bags, but that meant they couldn’t access points on the machine to strap it and stop any sideways movement. IES built the crates with ISPM15 heat treated timber, using complex internal bracing to secure the units inside. Runners were bolted to through the whole base to provide additional strength, with 150x75mm lateral bearers to spread the weight across the whole crate and clamp the machine in place. In total, the shipment consisted of 13 crates, packed with the three identical presses, each comprising of a main press, one unwind and one stacker, and additional accessories. To avoid damaging the delicate areas of the machines with the robust ratchet straps, they fitted timbers across the top of the machine to spread the tension of the lashing. When ready to transport the crates with a large forklift out of the West Rock facility, IES laid steel plates to strengthen the ramp access for loading onto the flat racks. The three flat racks and shipping containers arrived intact, ready to be installed at SOLUT! 

Scott Rechel, President SOLUT! 
“When West Rock recommended IES, that was great for us, because we don't do a lot of international transport and we needed a turnkey solution to get the equipment over here safely. Once we started the process, Christian was incredibly responsive, the crating was impressive and the team did a spectacular job for us. What Christian gave us was the confidence it would be a relatively simple transaction, so we didn't have to come over to oversee the project. The team I worked with at our end have been in the business thirty years and they felt the crating IES built was the most comprehensive they’ve ever seen. Just as we wanted, the machines arrived on time and in perfect condition ready for us to install at SOLUT!"