The Packaging Portal

The sheet feeder’s 132-inch corrugator, the first in North America, is setting new benchmarks for sheet feeding, averaging 9 to 11 million sq ft a day.

On Friday, 16 June, the second shift crew at Alliance Sheets in Bristol, Ind., ran 5,018,652 sq ft on a 132-inch BHS corrugator, setting a North American record. During the shift there were 83 order changes and eight paper changes. The waste was 4.39%. 

“We’re consistently running anywhere from 9.5 to 11.5 million a day,” says Doug Shaeffer, General Manager. “I don’t know that anybody in North America has ever run five million feet in an eight-hour shift. We run top speed and we run wide.”
Alliance Sheets, which has seven owner partners, was started up in November 2014 and was the first 132-inch corrugator installed in North America. The second 132-inch machine was recently started up at EnCorr Sheets in Ontario, Calif. The Schwarz Group is the managing partner of both sheet feeders.

The day before the record-breaking shift, Alliance Sheets had booked 20 million sq ft. “Whenever you have a big booking day you have a bigger trim pool,” Shaeffer says. “It wasn’t only our best shift. It was our best overall day. We ran 12,336,260 ft that day. This was our first time running over 12 million ft in 24 hours.

“Our next goal would be to run 15 million ft in one day,” he continues. “Our objective and the reason we bought this machine was to be in that 5 million a shift range. We feel we can do 15 million off of this machine if we only ran 132-inch paper. If we ran 132-inch paper around the clock in a 22-day month, that’s 330 million ft.“

Doug Shaeffer and Edmund Bradatsch

L to R: Doug Shaeffer, Alliance Sheets General Manager, and Edmund Bradatsch of BHS Corrugated.

Quality and Quick Service
The corrugator runs A-, B-, and C-flute and A/C, B/C, E/B doublewall and heavier grade papers. Trim sizes range from 93-inch up to 132-inch. The plant receives about seven rail cars and five trucks of roll stock daily. During the month of May, the plant used 12,700 tons of paper.

The Alliance team’s focus is on meeting and exceeding customers’ quality and service expectations. Having a corrugator with the capability of handling the surges in volume is essential. With a top speed of 1150 ft per minute and full width utilization, the machine can produce over 600 msf an hour when running at capacity.

Alliance Sheets was designed for quick turnaround of orders. The corrugator has three stackers for added productivity. “Sixty-five percent of the orders we get today are due tomorrow,” Shaeffer says. “We’re really into service. We’re not one of those plants that only runs E-flute on Thursday. We run every flute, every day, every shift. Our customers have been very supportive as we developed the wide web machine capability, working through the start-up issues. We’re here to service customers. And our partners have been supportive.”

He says the technology on the corrugator is cutting edge. “One or our unique skills is our ability to control heat. This machine adjusts the heat when you slow down and it will run a flat sheet regardless of what speed you are running. It will run a flat sheet at 200 ft a minute or 1150 ft a minute.”

Alliance Sheets Plant Manager Elvbir Bilajac agrees and says BHS’ wide web corrugator technology is impressive. “I’ve been part of this industry for 14 years. This is a state-of-the-art corrugator. All of the different controls that are on the machine make it more user-friendly. It’s a different world nowadays with the technology. We are so much better in every aspect compared to what you could do on older machines,” he says.

Bilajac and Plant Superintendent Tim Lewis credit the employees for the success of Alliance Sheets. Many of the 72 hourly and salaried employees had never worked in a corrugated plant and had to go through extensive training. “We have a lot of very talented young people here who are starting out in the business. They’re not afraid to jump in and learn everything they can,” Lewis says.

“They’re very ambitious,” Bilajac says. “They’re learning their jobs and multiple positions. It just speaks to the success of the plant. It’s a team effort. Even from the management standpoint, they motivate our people. At the end of the day that’s our success.”

“People are our greatest asset and we treat them as that,” Shaeffer adds.

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