Case Studies

Skip navigation

Capex Avoidance: Soft Drinks Packaging

"What Adrian brought was a whole new way of thinking, a systematic approach I had never seen before" - Engineering Director


Fast Moving Consumer Goods

Support Level:

1 Consultant, 2 days


To increase the thoughput of a ‘PET’ line palletiser, avoiding €700k capital upgrade cost


17 % increase in palletiser throughput avoids €700k of capital expenditure

Why was chartwell brought on board?

A client had seen a shift in production format to smaller pack sizes and the palletiser on one of its lines was not designed to be optimised for this size.  The palletiser became the bottleneck of the line.  Whenever the new bottle size was run, frequent build-backs would lead the operators to reduce the filler and labeller speed, until they felt that the line would run “smoothly” without the filler stopping all the time.

The client asked Chartwell to determine whether it would be possible to increase throughput and therefore avoid the palletiser manufacturer’s proposal for an upgrade, which would have cost €700k with several months’ lead time.

Results of the project

  • Palletiser throughput increased by 17 % in 3 weeks, filler speed increased by 25 %
  • Further improvement on small packaging format including doubling of infeed system speed

Examples of project work

How did Chartwell tackle the problem?


The consultant worked with a client team to apply ‘Single Minute Exchange of Die’ (SMED) to the twin palletiser cycle.


Many people are aware of SMED, a simple but powerful tool for reducing changeover and cycle times.  However, the client team was faced with a difficult complication.  There was a complex interdependency between the palletiser and the upstream diverter and infeed system, which made each look like it was waiting for the other to complete a cycle – this made the analysis considerably more complex.

How was the challenge overcome?


The team was able to cut through the complexity to identify that the real issue was infeed delays.  Even when upstream conveyors were full, delays were occurring due to:

  • Gaps being left between consecutive bottles on the infeed
  • Issues in the electronic controller’s logic
How did you achieve a 25 % increase in throughput?

Infeed Delays:

Elimination of filler frequent, short stops due to lack of over speed and poor control philosophy

Cross Pusher:

Increased speed of travel on return stroke and reduced all movements to a minimum

Pallet Loading:

Removed delays in pallet loading and translation

The engineering team made these changes over a three week period to achieve a 25 % increase in throughput.