A producer of 5 lb. bags of potting soil noted that the most significant cost of his product was cardboard shipping boxes. The central challenge was to lower the delivered product cost. After consultation, Grove Teates suggested wrapping the bags in bundles of 10 with stretch wrap; however, there was no machinery in the marketplace to stretch wrap un-collated bags.
After accepting the challenge, Teates developed a method of stretch-wrapping potting soil bags in bundles. This necessitated development of a means of collating the bags, compressing them into bundles, and then wrapping them. A high-speed stretch-wrapping machine that collated, bundled, and stretch-wrapped the bags into 50 lb wrapped units was developed. Teates developed a production line with rapid wrapping machinery which collated and wrapped a bundle of bags every 4.2 seconds. This proved to be a significant cost-saving solution — approximately $0.02 for the stretch wrap versus approximately $0.35 for the cardboard boxes.
Since stretch wrap was used instead of heat-shrink wrap, the process was more energy efficient than other methods because it did not involve both heating and cooling on the production line. The machine’s use was expanded to bundle 10 lb and 25 lb bags into 50 lb units for some animal feeds and peat-related products.