Ingenious Threader Winder Revolutionizes Safety at Martinsville Corrugated, a Georgia-Pacific Corrugated facility

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Martinsville Corrugated, a manufacturer of corrugated sheets, is celebrating a win for both safety and efficiency.

Their innovative threader winder machine, developed by reliability manager Harold Summers, has been awarded the 'Innovation in Safety' Achievement Award from the Fibre Box Association (FBA).

For over a decade, Summers had his eye on a safety concern: changing double backer belts, a critical task for production. These massive belts, measuring 65 feet long and weighing a hefty 2,000 pounds, posed a significant risk to employees during maintenance. The traditional method involved multiple workers precariously perched atop a running machine, taking a full maintenance team 10 hours to complete the process.

gp 18june24 1Harold Summers, reliability manager, points out different parts of the double backer belt.

Determined to find a safer solution, Summers embarked on a years-long journey to develop the threader winder machine. This ingenious invention features a double-basket mechanism that sits above the double backer. The new belt is cradled within this mechanism, allowing for safe threading onto the old belt before being pulled into place.

The impact of the threader winder is undeniable. It eliminates numerous safety hazards like suspended loads, pinch points, and crush points. But the benefits go beyond safety. The new process reduces downtime for belt changes to a mere two hours, requiring only three employees. Most importantly, it keeps all workers safely off the running machine during the entire process.

"I was able to invent something that was close to my heart, knowing one day it was going to make for a safer facility," said Summers. "At Georgia-Pacific [Martinsville Corrugated's parent company], we want everyone to go home the way they showed up to work, and nothing is more important than that."

The FBA award recognizes innovations that address safety concerns in the corrugated box industry. The threader winder machine impressed the judges by not only correcting unsafe behaviors but also reducing repetitive tasks and minimizing downtime. This innovative solution exemplifies Martinsville Corrugated's commitment to its employees' safety while also enhancing production efficiency.