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Mezzanines Lift Operational Efficiency, Safety

The newly elevated control room dramatically improved machine operator visibility, maximized existing floor space and enhanced overall production.

Alliance Packaging is a well-known, independent corrugated box manufacturer with several facilities located throughout northwest United States. The company provides a full range of packaging solutions from custom shipping containers to retail packaging, from stock boxes to in-store displays, from creative design to same day delivery service.

In 2008, Alliance needed to make room for the installation of a new multi-million dollar corrugated paper machine at their Sheets Unlimited facility located in Renton, Washington.

"In early 2008 we decided to upgrade the corrugator at our Sheets Unlimited facility,” said Krist Leland, director of manufacturing at Alliance. “There were many decisions to be made such as who would supply the machine, how would it be installed, timelines, and a thousand other things that we needed to address.”

Alliance decided the machine installation had to be first class in every way and redesigned the manufacturing layout to accommodate the new paper machine. The company enclosed all power, air, and water lines inside floor trenches so there would be no visual obstructions around the corrugator. They also moved walls, added conveyor lines and reorganized the entire building to complement the new paper machine.

According to Leland, one of the more important decisions involved placement of the operator control room for the new corrugator. Typically, control rooms of this type are located on the floor level next to the machine. Alliance did not however believe a floor level control room would provide the best use of available space nor provide the best visibility of machine operations.

“We did not feel a floor level control room would meet our needs or our vision for this installation,” said Leland. “We made the decision to elevate the control room 12 feet above the floor and suspend it over the corrugator. We determined that an ‘elevated’ control room would optimize the field of vision for the operator and would also enhance the overall appearance of the machine.”

Alliance collaborated with DACO and Cubic Designs to complete the project. DACO is a material handling and packaging solutions company located in Kent, Washington. Cubic Designs is a nationwide supplier of mezzanine systems, catwalks and work platforms.

“DACO and Cubic Designs handled everything including engineering, design, fire suppression, and installation,” explained Leland. “Cubic Designs provided a steel mezzanine solution that incorporated an elevated control room platform to meet our exact needs. The only decision our group had to make during the process was the color. It was a great experience to have a company take a project of this magnitude and run with it from start to finish. They not only met our expectations but exceeded them in every aspect.”

The elevated control room design, provided by Cubic Designs, utilizes overhead space and includes specially-angled windows so machine operators can view every movement of the corrugated paper machine below. The control room dramatically improved machine operator visibility, maximized existing floor space, enhanced overall production, and provided the first-class installation look that Alliance required.

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