Reducing Sound Levels of Granulator at ORBIS Corporation

Joerger, Adam
Blair, Matthew
Koziel, Jacek
Palmer, Micah
Johnson, Michael
Taylor, Michael
Vanstrom, Joseph
Koziel, Jacek
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

ORBIS Corporation, owned by Menasha Corporation, is a manufacturer of reusable plastic bulk containers, hand-held containers, pallets, dunnage and packaging. One of ORBIS’ main goals is to create a sustainable way to improve product flow throughout a supply chain. The ORBIS Corporation, a subsidiary of Menasha Corporation, has more than 35 world-wide locations to improve supply chains in many industries. Some of ORBIS’ customers are companies in the food, beverage, automotive, general manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries. In 2007, ORBIS acquired a major manufacturer of bulk containers, making it North America’s leader in reusable plastic packaging (ORBIS, 2017). ORBIS uses injection molding for their plastic products (Boffeli et al., 2017). The Monticello plant alone has 140 employees, the stakeholders, and produces over 30 million pounds of plastic annually (Wortman, 2017). ORBIS is wants to do whatever it can to reduce the risk to its employees.

ORBIS uses a granulator for one of its processes to grind down scrap product to reuse. When an operator runs the granulator, it generates a high decibel level of approximately 114 dB, at the location of the operator. The sound level at the nearest workstation, which is 40 ft. away, is at 91 dB. These levels are significantly higher than OSHA’s standards. The human pain threshold is 120 dB, so this problem could lead to hearing loss, rapid employee turnover, workman’s compensation, and fines from OSHA. ORBIS wants to reduce them to make the work environment safer and more comfortable for employees, and to meet OSHA’s standards.

Machines in factories are typically loud, and other companies want to keep the sound levels low just like ORBIS does. We expect that our proposed solution would be applicable to similar situations, especially if it is being applied to a granulator. There are many manufacturers of products, such as sound blankets, that are meant to reduce sound levels in factories, so there are many other companies that have a similar problem that our solution could be applied to.