Responding to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommendation that bundled food packages shipped to retailers be maximized at 40 lb instead of 60 Savannah Foods re-examined its venerable paper bundling operation. It realized it was time not only to change bundle sizes but equipment as well. After evaluating equipment at one or two packaging shows the Savannah GA-based firm purchased two Model APB-TE 3200 CM-S shrink film bundlers from Automation Packaging (Tampa FL). The first was installed in Savannah's Clewiston FL plant last December. A few months later the second machine went into the firm's Savannah GA operation. At Clewiston where 5-lb bags are now bundled in groups of eight instead of 12 bundles per minute stayed at about 16 says chief packaging engineer Derek Kight. "But efficiency is much improved because there is far less downtime" he says. Other benefits include savings in material costs and a reduction in damaged bags and the mess they cause. The improvement in efficiency is largely a function of how smoothly the new bundler runs compared to its predecessor. "The paper bundler had a number of air-actuated folding arms to wrap the paper around the bundles and these often tore a bag" says Kight. When that happened sugar spilled and time had to be spent cleaning up and getting the bundler working again. An added advantage of the clear film is that the contents of the bundles are easily identified. "It helps in warehousing both at ours and the customer's plant that you can see at a glance that these are sugar bags" says Kight. Customers have been pleased not only by the clarity of the wrap adds Kight but by the ease with which they can remove it when placing the bags on the retail shelf. But of all the benefits Savannah now enjoys material cost savings may be the most significant. Kight says the recent softening in paper prices makes it difficult to quantify the precise savings. He also observes that it's only a matter of time before the pricing pendulum swings again. But for now the use of low-density polyethylene in place of kraft paper brings a cost savings that is appreciable says Kight. The material is supplied by distributor Unisource (Savannah GA).