Sorenco Laboratories Increases Productivity by 32% with a Soft-placement Case Packer from Standard-Knapp

Soft-placement bottle packer

Spencer Sowles, Plant Manager of Sorenco Laboratories (Salt Lake City, UT), a worldwide packager and formulator of high quality pharmaceutical and nutritional products, returned to PACK EXPO Las Vegas in 2007 to investigate the latest packaging machinery technology. A visit to the last event led to the purchase of an innovative case packer outfitted with a "Soft Placement" system that has helped Sorenco Laboratories increase efficiency by 32%.

Not Just Good, but Good for You

A global, full service contract manufacturer, Sorenco Laboratories provides a variety of services including consulting and formulation, inventory, compliance and regulatory management. Sorenco Laboratories works with many of the top pharmaceutical, nutritional and personal care companies in the industry.

For over 20 years the Utah-based company has helped introduce several unique products of varying size, formulation and configuration. Sorenco Laboratories' world-class chemists develop custom recipes to meet the specific needs of partners while also providing many proven in-house formulas.

Sorenco Laboratories' client products are sold at retailers worldwide. These products include topical ointments, household products such as laundry detergents and liquid soaps, as well as nutritional and wellness liquids like energy drinks and nutritional beverages.

Partnered for Excellence

A leading nutritional beverage company recently presented Sorenco Laboratories with an exciting opportunity to package a unique product line. The company produces specialized fruit juice beverages made from proprietary blends of the powerful Brazilian a├žai berry, found only in remote regions of the Amazon, and other nutrient-dense fruits, each selected for its specific nutritional properties. Once introduced to the market, the distinct look and taste of this unique beverage was well-received by consumers and resulted in a rapid spike in sales.

Packaged in dark green glass bottles, the handling of each container was both important and time consuming for Sorenco Laboratories. The company manually packed the product into boxes after being labeled rather than using its existing packing system as it could not properly handle the delicate bottles. This approach caused significant bottlenecking on the line, thus slowing production and increasing downtime.

With product demand continuing to grow, Sowles recognized a more efficient solution was needed. He traveled to PACK EXPO Las Vegas to review the latest packaging technologies. "We needed a system that could handle the product with the ease it required while also freeing up our employees for other tasks," remarked Sowles.

After meeting with several exhibitors at the show, Sowles was confident he had found the machine that would help solve his challenge: the Verastron Case Packer™, manufactured by Standard-Knapp (Portland, CT).

One of the system's stand-out features was its innovative "Soft Placement" module. This zero-impact servo system gently lowers bottles into cases or trays without damaging labels, closures or container integrity. The steady, precise placement also helps avoid bottle-to-bottle scuffing or breakage, meaning shippers could be filled with the same care as if they had been placed by hand, without the production delays or downtime.

The convenient design of the Verastron Case Packer fit neatly into Sorenco Laboratories' existing production line, transforming it into a full-scale automated system. "We had planned a purchase of this scale prior to attending PACK EXPO Las Vegas, so we had the available space. The real challenge was finding the right system to fit our requirements," recalled Sowles.

Following installation, engineers were given on-site training. "When searching for a solution, it was important for us to find a system that our employees would be comfortable with," commented Sowles. "The on-site training played a key role in making that happen and made the production process much easier."

The Verastron Case Packer also helped Sorenco Laboratories reorganize staff responsibilities. Twenty-six employees once dedicated to the manual packing process across two shifts could now be strategically utilized throughout the company's 100,000 square foot plant over that same time.

Prior to the purchase of the Verastron Case Packer, Sorenco Laboratories was experiencing 62% production efficiency. In the months following installation, efficiency jumped to 94% and resulted in a full return on investment for Sorenco Laboratories in just under three months.