21 April 2015 //
by Ken Carter
Achieving improvements in packaging line efficiency means gaining an understanding of current line performance and what adjustments may need to be made. By using the following 3 steps, you’ll be well on the road to finding improvements that can increase efficiency across your entire line and help save valuable time and money:
Step 1. Determine Your Maximum Production Rate
Verify and note each machine’s production operational rate, ensuring that each is at least a little faster than the preceding unit. You can then calculate maximum production rate by multiplying the slowest machine’s speed by the operational time, which can help you identify where improvements need to be made.
Step 2. Identify and Define Causes of Line Stops
When analyzing the causes of line stops, it’s very important to ensure that these are accurately established. Often this involves noting any variables that are affecting a machine’s efficiency. Things to look for and evaluate when analyzing line stops include:
- Operational time
- Ambient conditions, including air and electricity
- Power supplies
- Packaging supplies
- Contaminant buildup
Consistency is key to creating operational efficiency — this means no temporary band-aids or promises to look at things later. Identifying the materials and the settings that produce optimal efficiency and doing everything possible to maintain them is essential. If an issue is found, ensure it is fixed permanently.
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Step 3. Establish Center Line Operating Parameters
For each machine along your line, you should establish center line operating parameters. It’s vital to establish operational center lines for flexible production lines and, if possible, lock them down or at least limit the possibility of adjustments being made outside of the center lines.
Finding the key operational parameters of each machine and establishing the limits can sometimes be time-consuming, taking days to monitor each adjustment and the result. However, once they are found and noted, it’s so much easier to troubleshoot or find the variable causing lower efficiency later on.
By following these 3 simple steps, you’ll gain an understanding of line efficiency improvements you can make, which will be key to increase your overall productivity.