Meeting a global demand, the brand relies on in-house expertise in product and packaging engineering.
An industry leader that consistently ranks as one of the world’s largest appliance makers by units sold, this globally recognized brand commands staggering demand for its products. With manufacturing operations spread throughout North America, this company produces top-of-the-line products in large appliances including refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, and washer/dryers for homes and offices. Meeting a global demand, the brand relies on in-house expertise in product and packaging engineering to preplan every millimeter of everything they do from assembling machines to protecting products during transit. Their generally heavy, technology-infused appliances cross many product lines; each requiring custom packaging and tailored transit solutions. As these products are delivered to customers around the world, each must arrive unblemished and function trouble-free for years to come.
Atlas Molded Products is proud of our nearly twenty-year relationship with this company’s South Carolina plant where we are supplying molded polystyrene foam as protective packaging. Every aspect of this company’s production and distribution channels are precisely programmed, and it shows in their volume. Astoundingly, approximately 7,400 refrigerators are assembled every day, five days a week in the South Carolina plant. Atlas’ Martinsville, VA facility is supplying several truckloads of both off-the-shelf fabricated pieces and custom shape molded components daily to meet this company’s relentless demand.
Elsewhere, Atlas is also in pre-production to start supplying materials to this company’s new stove plant opening in 2022.
Identify the specific client challenges and construction objectives.
For this client, their products reside at a complex intersection of very large, heavy, difficult-to-move pieces of equipment, a tech-laden sensitivity to jostling in transit, and the need to arrive at their destination visibly free of any surface mars from handling. To achieve this across a global scale, this company precisely dissects and controls every variable in product development, assembly, and delivery for an incredible volume of many different appliances from several distinct North American locations. Their product and packaging engineering teams take the lead on understanding each component’s protective requirements both inside the unit and out to establish what is needed and how and when it is used. In tracking their needs and resources, this company’s tech-forward approach to vendor supply is managed through a proprietary, web-based supply portal, whereby every unit and every required part or piece is tracked from nuts and bolts to the foam packaging inserts supplied by Atlas.
Packaging parameters are tightly controlled. Details like the total weight of each unit as it is fully packed out for transport and how the protective foam padding is temporarily affixed to the unit for clasp-truck handling are all preplanned. Every piece of molded polystyrene used inside or out, in the factory alone, from the factory to the sales floor, or all the way to the customer’s home, must meet exacting specifications for weight, size, and compressive resistance.
Detail what Atlas did to solve those challenges and meet the client’s project objectives.
Atlas is supplying the South Carolina refrigerator plant molded polystyrene foam in two primary dispositions. Largely, bulk volumes of off-the-shelf fabricated pieces are uses as protective packaging. Atlas is also manufacturing a specific shape molded piece used as an insert around a delicate component. Fabricated pieces are placed between drawers and shelf assemblies to stabilize components during transit. Small foam wedges are temporarily placed around fragile electronic components for transit that are removed before the item is placed on the sales floor. There are also reusable foam components like the refrigerator side wall padding that protects it from damage when the clasp truck picks it up to put it into a molded polystyrene shipping tray in the plant.
Adhering to the client’s exacting specification is managed through their in-house engineering team. Their detailed production analysis and advanced engineering efforts dial in every component of the protective packaging solution prior to vendor involvement. Our job is to respond with quality products that will pass their Production Part Approval Process. Be it an insert that will travel all the way to retail or a sidewall that will be used only in the plant, each foam component must meet exacting parameters for size, weight, and compressive resistance.
Fundamentally, rather than the complexity of their product requirements or the criticality of each item’s use, the biggest challenge here is simply meeting the client’s demand. Roughly a dozen pieces of molded polystyrene foam are supplied per refrigerator to a plant producing an average of 7,400 refrigerators every day. Keeping up with this client’s packaging needs involves interfacing with their web-based inventory portal, which tracks and forecasts production on a moment-by-moment basis. Each piece of foam we supply has a specific part number and the company’s production forecasts always stretch some five months into the future. To assure the required volume, our Martinsville, VA facility maintains a surplus of safety stock in every part this client needs in the event of damaged or lost inventory. Regardless of ask, regardless of the deadline, our main objective is to find a way to say yes to whatever is asked of us.
As this progressive company reaches into the future, they are embarking on a total green production and distribution platform as the next step in their evolution. Their goal will be to dissect every aspect of their program and identify opportunities to become a zero-waste brand. While they are already very lean in regard to protective packaging, they continue to rethink their process, looking for places where individual pieces of foam could be reused in the same application multiple times.
Summarize the overall solutions to client challenges to show why it matters to others.
Atlas Molded Products is proud to partner with clients to understand specific molded polystyrene needs, challenges, and expectations. From specialized shape-molded components to off-the-shelf fabricated pieces, Atlas is North America’s largest producer of molded polystyrene materials. Building on our aspiration to be the recognized industry leader in protective foam packaging and other molded polystyrene materials for both industrial and construction processes, Atlas finds a way to say yes to our customers whenever and wherever we can.