All studies about packaging science and line efficiency show that industry has made a significant progress over the last decades. Initially what everyone expected from a filling machine was simply just fill to improve manpower limitations in terms of capacity, cost and availability. That was the beginning of a revolution in the research of new filling technologies, which eventually changed the industry model to the benefit of the final customer.
In 1979 Michael Porter introduced the concept of Value Chains as decision support tools and then everything changed. Visually, we have gone from the industrial model inspired in the 1936 film ‘Modern Times’ to the Industry 4.0 in a few years.
New concepts such OEE and KPI appear and what everyone expects today from a filling machine is not only to fill, but to be a source of wealth.
How can we achieve filling machine efficiency in the simplest way?
- Train the team. This is not the first time that I insist in this topic, and probably I will include it in future press releases. Training and skills management is a key factor. Do not limit the potential of your packaging line with poor trained employees.
- One day for the decision, 25 years of pain. If you are going to buy a new line, you should take some time to understand the different technologies: There are around 5 key filing systems used by the main manufacturers, but this is just the beginning. You have to ask in detail about machine OEE, filling accuracy, product range, limitations, quality monitoring, etc. At the end of the day these factors will represent the major cost or savings in this line during the rest of the lifetime of the machine.
- Productivity goals. Giving your staff goals helps keep productivity predictable. When the line operators are aware of what the company expects from them, it would ensure that they work hard throughout to achieve those goals. Try first with a step-by-step goal plan. If they reach one goal, they should set their sights to the next one.
- Keep the manufacturer in the loop. This is another recurrent topic. Take advantage of the manufacturer’s know-how and experience. It is critically important especially if you are planning to launch a new reference / product. Make sure you are having regular communication and everybody has a global idea of what you can expect from each machine in the line.
- The importance of data analysis. You don’t have to use IoT or SCADA, but that’s clearly a trend that makes sense to capitalize on. Whether you use IoT or find other methods for data collection, it’s key to determine your packaging efficiency, trending, diagnostic data and management information.
These are just 5 points to review from a long list of different actions to perform and new elements could be added as far as your rates of efficiency increase. So, never think that you can’t improve your line, there are always new goals to achieve.
CEO Mengibar Packaging Machinery