Make the Most of Your Packaging Production Time
Preparing products for the shelf and meeting production takes efficiency not just from packaging machinery, but also from those operating the machinery. Delays, improper set up, human or machine error or a lack of replacement parts can all contribute to finishing a day behind schedule. The best way to avoid such issues? Simply have a plan of action, starting with the set up of machinery.
Many packagers like to discuss the speed with which a packaging machine can perform, usually in terms of bottles per minute. For instance, this rinsing machine can clean 100 bottles per minute, our filler can fill 120 bottles per minute, that capping machine can tighten 120 caps per minute. From here, the packager translates the bottles per minute into an eight hour day to reach a number that should be possible in a work day. Issues occur when other aspects of running the equipment are not taken into account, or when machinery is not maintained properly.
In addition to running product, a production plan should include set up and changeover time, clean up and maintenance time and an estimate of time spent supplying and troubleshooting machinery. At the start of the production day, packaging machinery such as the power conveyors, container cleaning equipment, filling machines, capping machines and labeler should all be inspected to ensure proper alignment. A company may go as far as checking to ensure everything has remained level and that wear parts such as belts, seals and tightening disks still look usable. A few moments of preventative maintenance at the beginning of the day can save hours of troubleshooting and repair at a later date. The same can also be done when changeover requires the adjustment, addition or substraction of components from packaging machinery. Any time equipment is moved or adjusted, it should be fine tuned to check for a level, properly aligned layout.
At the end of the production day, a chunk of time should also be reserved to clean equipment. The time required will depend on the equipment in use, as some equipment may only need to be wiped down with a rag to avoid the build up of dirt and debris and other equipment may require disassembly to wash out product. Again, the few moments of preventative cleaning can save hours of future downtime while also extended the useful life of the machinery.
In addition, proper cleaning of the equipment can help to make wear and spare parts last longer. Sprockets on conveyors will wear faster when debris travels along the power conveyors to collection points, also making the motors work harder. Gripper belts and disks on a spindle capper will last longer when machinery is free of debris as well. Finally, keeping spare parts in stock at the production facility can keep a packaging line from being down for a day or more waiting for delivery of the necessary replacement component.
For more information on creating a proper procedure for your own specific equipment, feel free to contact a Packaging Specialist at LPS for input on what could and should be done. LPS technicians can be reached toll free at 1-888-393-3693 during the work week!