Sara Lee

By installing Intralox’s automated singulator solution, Sara Lee reduces labor requirements by two employees per day.


“It’s been a long time since putting something that simple into the plant that has created so many other potential improvement opportunities within the factory.”

Background
The Sara Lee bakery in Lisarow, New South Wales, Australia, outputs eight million cases of bakery products such as pastries, croissants, pies, and cakes per year.

Problem
At the freezer spiral exit, small cases of baked goods are released sporadically onto the outfeed conveyor. Because it is essential that the cases are in single file for further processing, Sara Lee employed one plant worker per shift to manually reposition and singulate the products. This manual intervention frequently led to product damage and/or waste.

Solution
Sara Lee engineers partnered with Intralox to determine a solution for automating the singulation process on a line that produces approximately two million cases per year. Sara Lee installed two conveyor sections of Intralox’s singulator solution at the spiral exit.

Results
In the first three months of automation, Sara Lee experienced a success rate of 95% with its most difficult product. The plant reduced its labor requirements by two employees per day, providing a payback of investment in six months. By eliminating manual labor requirements, worker safety and the incidence of product damage/waste were also improved.

Sara Lee has since identified other areas in the plant to install the Intralox solution. Lyndon Scrooby, Sara Lee Continuous Improvement Manager, said, “It’s been a long time since putting something that simple into the plant that has created so many other potential improvement opportunities within the factory.”

Company:

Sara Lee Corporation, a global manufacturer and marketer of high-quality food and beverage products

Application:

Singulation of bakery products such as pastry, croissants, pies, and cakes

Challenge:

One person per shift was required to manually singulate products as they exited the freezer spiral. The manual operation of this task led to unnecessary product waste/damage and excessive labor requirements.

Singulator at Sara Lee