Every year the Wall NJ distribution center of Waterford Wedgwood p.l.c. Waterford Ireland ships within the U.S. some 400 boxes of its coveted crystal and ceramic pieces hand-crafted in Ireland. The retail value of these shipments total $235 million. Protection of the valuable pieces has always been a Waterford priority. Prior to 1988 Waterford used expanded polystyrene loose fill. The plant required 15 truckloads of EPS per month to meet its needs. That year Waterford switched from EPS to Instapak® foam from Sealed Air (Danbury CT). The "foam" comprises chemicals that are dispensed in liquid form that solidify into the foam which provides effective cushioning during transit. One 275-gal tank produced the equivalent of five truckloads of EPS saving considerable plant space. Most importantly breakage in transit was reduced to negligible levels. Waterford also reduced its packers by nine resulting in savings of $150/yr in labor costs says Patrick Silke vice president of operations. A year ago Waterford took another giant step. It upgraded its foam cushioning operation with a more automated Sealed Air system that includes conveyors an Instapak robotic packaging system automated product placer and a high-speed Instapacker(TM) system. The advantages of this system include elimination of packaging line downtime and the ability to assemble orders in 36 hours rather than five or six days. By taking these two steps "We have more than doubled our shipments over a four-year period" says Silke. "At the same time the number of workers required on the packaging line was reduced from 15 to six. The automated packaging solution we added last year has further added value to our operations."