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Increasing Output: Foil Wrapped Perishables

See how two consultants increased output 101 % in 4 months, to meet an explosion in customer demand at this food packaging company.


INDUSTRY:

Fast Moving Consumer Goods - packaging of perishable food products

SUPPORT LEVEL: 

2 Consultants, 4 months

OBJECTIVE: 

80 % increase in output to satisfy explosion in customer demand

RESULTS:

101 % increase in output in 4 months


WHY WAS CHARTWELL BROUGH ON BOARD?

This European food and drink producer had a very expensive problem.  Having just entered a market in explosive growth, two recently installed production lines needed an uplift in production of over 80 % to satisfy customer demand.  With key export clients coming online in a matter of weeks, Chartwell were brought in to make the biggest possible impact as soon as possible.

Zero Loss Analysis revealed that the average line efficiency was below 40 %.  Line data was captured to discover the main losses in performance and the team got to work on the largest opportunities.

RESULTS OF THE 4 MONTH PROJECT

The project saw a 101 % increase in output in under 4 months.  Major export clients had their orders successfully delivered on time and in full, allowing capture of a significantly expanded market share at a crucial growth point in the market.

EXAMPLES OF PROJECT WORK

Increasing output

Where in the process was there opportunity to significantly increase the line output?

FOCUS AREA:

Using our manufacturing improvement methodology, we analysed the potential throughput of each of the machines in the line.  The filler emerged as the bottleneck of the line.


The two biggest causes of throughput limitation were:

  1. Insufficient downstream buffer to keep the bottleneck constantly running
  2. Weekly downtime due to repeat breakage of pneumatic cylinders used to unstack the packaging cartons
How did you improve line control to enable the bottleneck process to keep running?

PROBLEM:

Each process step was closely coupled with the next.  Only 1 minute’s buffer protected this machine from problems on the downstream processes.  This meant there were significant time losses on the bottleneck due to problems on the other machines.


ACTION:

Three days into the project, a larger buffer was installed, protecting the filler from 90 % of the downstream problems and giving an immediate 10 % uplift in output.

Why were the pneumatic cylinders breaking so frequently, and how did you stop this?

PROBLEM:

The largest cause of technical downtime on the filler was due to replacing a pneumatic cylinder which drove the device that unstacked the packaging containers.  The pneumatic cylinder would break on at least a weekly basis.

 

ACTION:

The team discovered the piston was being driven full pressure into the cylinder end, causing the piston to quickly break and lose its seal.  However, reducing the pressure caused diffiulties in unstacking the containers, as the force was no longer high enough.                            

The team investigated further, and determined the reason the containers could not be unstacked was in fact due to them sticking in the magazine, not because the pneumatic pressure was insufficient.  Expanding the magazine permanently resolved the issue.