Packaging Machinery Post-Production - FAT's, Installation and Training
The day the equipment for a packaging project is completed on the production floor at Liquid Packaging Solutions is a big day for both LPS and the customer. However, when it comes to automatic packaging lines, and even some semi-automatic systems, there will still be work to be done to get the system up and running. At LPS, we understand the completion of manufacturing does not mark the end of our job and post-production activities can be as, or more, important than the manufacturing itself.
Factory Acceptance Tests (FATs)
Once a packaging system has been manufactured by LPS, it will not necessarily immediately go out to the packager, especially if it is a custom or automatic system. Instead, LPS encourages the packager to visit the La Porte, Indiana plant to see their equipment run prior to shipment. There are several reasons that an FAT is suggested for all but the simplest of machines. First, seeing the machinery before it ships, and watching the equipment run the product and bottles that it was built to run, ensures that the packager's expectations are met before the equipment leaves the LPS production floor. If adjustments are necessary, they are much easier to make while the equipment is still at LPS and all the necessary tools are available! Finally, scheduling and attending an FAT allows for the packager to receive some initial, and free, training before the machinery reaches their production floor.
The initial set up of the packaging line is crucial to reliable performance. Equipment must be level on the production floor, and will typically require some assembly when dealing with multiple machines or complete lines. LPS technicians are available to perform the installation and initial set up of the machinery alongside those who made need to adjust, changeover or modify the machinery in the future. Whenever possible, LPS will provide guides on the machines themselves, in the form of rulers, dials or other indicators to make set up or changeover from one container or product to another as simple and easy as possible. Technicians can also troubleshoot if components become detached or shift during shipping, ensuring an efficient start up for the system.
Finally, both during the installation and at the begin of the first production run, LPS technicians can provide training to those at the packager's facility that will be operating the equipment, often different individuals than were involved in the purchasing phase of the process. This training allows the operators to run equipment while a technician is on site to answer questions, explain errors and adjust equipment if necessary. The technicians can walk the operators through changeover of bottles or products and the necessary adjustments until the feel comfortable performing each of these tasks on their own.
Of course, LPS offers additional services in phone support, spare parts and future on-site technical service should it become necessary. However, as manufacturers of packaging machinery, LPS has found that where the FAT, installation and training are all used initially, future service seldom evolves past phone service and occasional replacement of wear parts. This post-production process has been a proven tool to immediately reduce downtime and increase efficiency in the packaging machinery leaving the LPS factory.
(The LPS Parts and Service Department can be reached toll free at 1-888-393-3693 x 310)