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Success with Ergonomics
Advanced Filtration Systems, Inc.

State: Illinois
Company: Advanced Filtration Systems Inc.
Industry: Manufacture of Diesel Engine Filters SIC Code: 3599
NAICS Code: 336339
Employees: 164

Success Brief: The installation of a Semi-Automatic Stretch Wrapper substantially reduced the risk of ergonomic injury, while increasing production and improving employee morale.

The Problem
During a production trial, manual stretch wrapping of pallets of empty reusable slip trays required compound motions and awkward body postures that would have put employees at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The process required employees to wrap the pallets 8 to 10 times using a manual wrap dispenser weighing approximately 30 to 35 pounds (See Picture #1 below of manual stretch wrapping operation). During the trial, at least one employee complained of back pains.

Manual Stretch Wrapping Operation

The Solution

The company purchased and installed a Semi-Automatic Stretch Wrapper machine that performs most of the ergonomically hazardous work involved in stretch wrapping the pallets of empty reusable slip trays prior to shipping. The machine includes a rotating stand and vertical lift for the pallets, along with a wrap dispenser and lift chain guarding that moves with the pallet (See Picture #2 below of "Semi-Automatic Stretch Wrapper"). Once the stretch wrapper was installed, the company improved the machine’s guarding and placed warning barriers on each side as further safety precautions.

Semi-Automatic Stretch Wrapper

The Impact
The Semi-Automatic Stretch Wrapper has significantly decreased the risk of MSDs to the facility personnel responsible for preparing pallets for shipment. Since the machine’s installation, there have been no reports of back pain, pain in other body parts, or any other MSD symptoms from these employees.

The machine has also increased production efficiency, since it uses less wrap and is 3 to 4 times faster than manual stretch wrapping. Employee morale has also increased as a result of the new process.

Source: Mr. Richard Jesse, Associate Environmental Engineer, Advanced Filtration Systems, Inc. (October 2003).
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