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Thermoformed plastic roll cradles feature locking tabs to prevent layers from shifting
Cleveland Plastic Films was shipping rolls of its film across North America using stacked plastic cradles, but sometimes the cradles would shift and open up.
“When you have rolls of film stacked two layers high, the movement of the truck is going to cause the rolls to move,” says Paul Mirka, Cleveland Plastic Films purchasing manager. “The layers have to stay stationary or the roll cradles will open or snap and you’ll have product rolling all over.”
Part of Great Northern Corporation’s Specialty Group, Rollguard developed innovative locking tabs on the ends of its patent-pending Thermoformed plastic roll cradles. The reusable tabs keep the cradles locked tightly together when they are stacked back to back.
“It took more than a year of flying out our engineers and working closely with Cleveland Plastic Films to really fine tune the locking tabs,” says John Laura, Rollguard account manager. “Paul was patient with us and gave us the opportunity to develop the solution for him and work the bugs out.”
Cleveland Plastic Films now uses Thermoformed cradles for its 18-, 20- and 22-inch diameter rolls, which also are strapped down and stretch wrapped. The result is a safe ride with no product shifting.
This kind of customer-focused engineering is a major reason why Cleveland Plastic Films considers Rollguard a key player in its supply chain.
“They can take you through the whole process, from developing a prototype to coming up with the finished product that meets your exact needs,” Mirka says. “They have engineers and technical people who will work closely with you evaluating what you need and coming up with the right solution.”
Cleveland Plastic Films makes high-quality extruded plastic films, including banner film for retail signage and converter film for a wide range of industries, including food, pharmaceutical, industrial, auto, mining and agriculture.
Shipping film rolls that range from 8 inches to 22 inches in diameter and can weigh up to 400 pounds requires having a variety of roll cradle solutions to meet the protection needs for each situation.
Rollguard is the only roll cradle manufacturer to offer fiber, foam and plastic roll cradles from a single source. Cleveland Plastic Films uses not only Thermoformed cradles but also EPS Foam roll cradles for rolls ranging in diameter from 8 to 22 inches and Recycled Fiber roll cradles for some rolls up to 12 inches in diameter.
“They really are one-stop shopping,” says Mirka. “It’s a major plus for me that I have a vendor who’s so diversified and able to provide me exactly what I need in roll protection, be it plastic, foam or molded pulp cradles.”
Made of high-impact polystyrene (HIPS), Thermoformed cradles are reusable, recyclable and have a dust-free surface that is anti-skid and prevents slippage. In addition to the patented reusable locking end tabs, the cradles feature:
Rollguard® EPS Foam cradles, made from recyclable expanded polystyrene, deliver unsurpassed cushioning, have tremendous stacking ability and are impervious to moisture and humidity. They are available in both single- and multiple-roll configurations and can accommodate a product diameter range of 7.5 inches to 40 inches.
Rollguard Recycled Fiber cradles, made from recycled corrugated fiber pulp, are available in single- and multiple-roll configurations and can handle diameters from 3 to 45 inches. Recycled Fiber roll cradles can be shipped nested in hinged pairs and can be easily split apart or folded in half for use in roll stacking.
Mirka likes the fact that he can get more than one turn out of the plastic and foam cradles.
“You can get at least two uses – once out and once back – and sometimes more. There is a cost efficiency to that, no question,” he says. “These are quality products and if you can re-use them and save yourself some money, why not?”
In addition to its engineered-solutions capabilities, Rollguard has other attributes that appeal to the film manufacturer.
Cleveland Plastic Films operates on the Just In Time basis, manufacturing rolls when they are ordered and keeping very little stock inventory on hand. However, to accommodate crunch times, the company has to have roll cradles ready to go on short notice.
“For our peak periods, Rollguard makes and stores cradles for us so they’re ready when we need them,” Mirka says. “That keeps the cradle inventory off our floor and books until needed.”
Being based in Appleton, Wisconsin, enables Rollguard to save Cleveland Plastic Films money on the shipping of the cradles compared to the West Coast manufacturer. The nestability of the cradles also means savings on freight and storage costs.
Laura points out that while some manufacturers handle sales almost exclusively through the Internet with little or no in-person support, Rollguard uses its account and technical personnel to examine challenges on site and develop custom solutions as they did for the plastic film manufacturer.
The Rollguard way of doing business has made a loyal customer of Cleveland Plastic Films. “They’ve been the supplier for me since I’ve been here and they will continue to be,” Mirka says.