Scrap Rates in Packaging Manufacturing

Does Your Packaging Manufacturing Plant Know Its Scrap Rates? In which stage of the scrap reporting are you? Alongside downtime, scrap rates (or waste) are a major concern for any plant manager, especially in the packaging industry. Although the numbers vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer, when we look at in-line production facilities (where all machines are connected in series), scrap rates of 15-25% are completely normal. During this time, the plant is consuming energy, raw material and equipment uptime. This means that for every 4 hours of production, the company is throwing material, energy and equipment time in the bin. The struggle to reduce these numbers is hard, daily and constant, and only one thing is for sure: you cannot do it without reliable production numbers, just by looking in the rearview mirror. Although almost every piece of equipment has integrated counters for rejected parts, few companies collect this data automatically to transform it into intelligence. As a result, they end up depending on manual notes, the nightmare of information reliability. Anyone who has spent a few hours on the factory floor knows: the life of an operator is not easy. The routine of production, quality…

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The four core technologies that drive digital transformation

Based on the Chapter 3 of the book: “Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an era of Mass Extinction” by Thomas Siebel By Mario Ishikawa, CTO of PackIOT In his recently published book “Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an era of Mass Extinction”, Thomas Siebel, Founder, and CEO of C3 IoT addresses the fact that the moment we are living now is unique. Digital transformation, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is bringing massive changes to how we live as a society, and especially for companies, it is a moment to thrive or die. CEO’s are playing a core role in this process. Digital transformation in a company is started and supported by the CEO, in contrast to earlier technology adoptions on enterprise, usually led by IT and Engineering teams. By going to the very core of the organization, digital transformation requires the CEO to understand the fundamentals of his business. If you are a car manufacturer, is your business fundamentally about making cars or is it about delivering transportation and mobility? Once the importance is understood, then comes the digital transformation plan, and the challenges are of great magnitude. Many large corporations tried to create their own…

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How a packaging manufacturer increased $144k in factory capacity?

Where will we allocate the retrofit budget for our machines? This question had been asked over and over, every year by one of our customers, a major player in the packaging industry. Imagine the situation and even try to remember if it happens in your company: the CFO gathers 4 or 5 managers and launches this question in the room, projecting the budget for the following year. The industrial director made the same challenge with his factory management. And that's where the "opinion fight" begins. (We like to say that without data, you are just another person with an opinion). Each one brings his/her side, wanting the best for his/her line. But no one can prove why retrofit money should be allocated to a particular machine, since downtime and scrap data are difficult to gather without a proper system. So, did you identify yourself within the situation? In the past, the company used solve this situation in an unsatisfactory way: CFO, CEO and Industrial Director ended up dividing the retrofit budget into equal parts. This ends up not being an effective strategy, not even measurable in the medium term of the plant but at least it made everyone in the…

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How to identify bottlenecks in a packaging production line

Imagine a production line in which only good parts are produced (100% quality), as fast as possible (100% performance) and without stops (100% availability). The Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) would equal 100%, which means “perfect production”. Even though dreams can come true (100% OEE), perfect production is rather rare, and in many cases, the manufacturing shop-floor can become, for those directly involved in the production, a nightmare instead. Machines fail for several reasons, humans make mistakes and all of this together makes it impossible to achieve perfection. The good news is that there is always room for improvement, i.e. we can always do things better. Aiming at that, a continuous improvement process should be put in place to tackle exactly what prevents a production line from being perfect. In the “Theory of Constraints”, Eliyahu M. Goldratt, author of the best-selling book titled “The Goal”, argues that one should follow “The Five Steps of Focusing” to achieve the goal (e.g. maximize overall throughput): Identify the system's constraint(s); Decide how to exploit the system's constraint(s); Subordinate everything else to the above decision(s); Alleviate the system's constraint(s); If in the previous steps a constraint has been broken, go back to step…

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Os 5 maiores erros que as fábricas de embalagem cometem ao analisar o OEE

OEE + Fabricantes de embalagens + Desafios Todo gerente de produção está familiarizado com OEE (uma abreviação para a métrica de fabricação "Overall Equipment Effectiveness") e tentou implementá-la em sua fábrica. Para um gerente de produção, OEE é quase tão importante quanto sua taxa de crédito nos bancos, índice de massa corporal ou qual o custo do material escolar dos filhos. Ele carrega a simplicidade de ser um número único e isso é ótimo. No entanto, há muitas armadilhas a serem evitadas ao usar isto em sua fábrica para saber se você está fazendo bem ou não. Abaixo inserimos os erros mais frequentes que os fabricantes de embalagens cometem ao usar o "número sagrado". 1. Comparar Maçãs com Bananas Por ser um único número, as pessoas tendem a usá-lo para comparar diferentes fábricas, como um método de projetar sua eficiência. Este é um jogo perigoso, por algumas razões: Nem todas as empresas calculam OEE da mesma forma. Na verdade, se você perguntar a 10 gerentes de produção como eles calculam o OEE, você obterá 11 respostas diferentes. Algumas excluem a manutenção preventiva dos cálculos de disponibilidade, outras excluem as férias, outras não. Os tamanhos dos lotes e…

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Traps to avoid when building your own production metrics system

Manufacturing companies are full of very smart people: engineers, technicians, skilled operators, maintenance people and so on. So, sometimes DIY (Do It Yourself) is the way to go to solve many problems in the company.This is not different when it comes to analytics systems for the production (sometimes called MES systems) and this is a valid approach. Software development is hard, but we must say that some companies are successfully doing it. Here we try to enumerate some of the mistakes that are normally made by manufacturing companies when trying to develop their own systems. 1. Since we are already doing this, we could as well… This happens in house renovations as well: we start wanting to replace the floor tiles, which would take us one month, but end up breaking walls. Since we are breaking the walls, we could as well remake the bathroom, and so on.Normally a project for production metrics at a company starts with: “let’s just add some sensors and save them on an SQL database, and we already know production, uptime, and speed” ( and that is a nice way to start ). But then new demands come: “how do we know the production…

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Without engaging operators, your digital transformation might be a huge flop

Despite automation, the rise of new technologies and the growth of industry 4.0, factories employees still play and will continue to play a key role in the industry's success. According to a Gallup study, employees in production jobs are now the least engaged compared to other sectors. This clearly shows us that the industry as a whole is still struggling to actually increase employee engagement. While industry 4.0 technologies - such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics, and mobile solutions - are being implemented in manufacturing plants around the world to transform manufacturing processes, little has been done to transform the employee experience. For years and years, managers for all kinds of industries have been trying to implement new processes and tools based on their own decisions and ways. And I can assure you this is one of the most common problems when companies are trying to get into new approaches and technologies. Usually, those who make a decision are those who are not going to effectively will use the new tech/process. To really achieve great results in digital transformation, the industry sector must bring the operators to the center of this discussion. And by saying this,…

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Measuring OEE on packaging lines: SCADA or a MES? Maybe none!

What technology do I need to measure the efficiency of my packaging manufacturing lines automatically? SCADA? For many people, SCADA (Supervisory, Control and Data Acquisition System) is the first kind of system that comes to mind when thinking about a shop floor software. And indeed SCADA systems are quite flexible and therefore can supply custom demands a manufacturing plant. But when talking about OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency - see more here ), there are several key points to have in mind. OEE is strongly dependent on counters and unlike other time-series variables such as temperature and speed, counters only make sense when you consider the value within a time-frame. Usually it will be shift, day, week and jobs. So analysing performance of a job means aggregate the counter increment within the job period. And there are several other characteristics that add complexity to the case: when is counter reset on the PLC? How to get a fast query response of total production during a shift if the counter was reset during this period? How to get quick response on reports for longer periods, such as month to month? The challenge is no longer on how many tags and displays…

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How to track downtime in your packaging manufacturing line in 7 steps

Understand how often and why your packaging line is stopping Knowing how often your production line is stopping is one of the most important single things a production manager can do to start improving productivity. This comes before OEE, for two simple reasons: downtime is an actionable metric and easy to understand. There is a lot of theory as to how to do that. It is covered by Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma. Although it is important to understand the theory and we encourage you to study it, what we see in reality is that what most companies need is an easy-to-use and effective system. Therefore, we divide this into 7 steps. The reliability of information is the number one priority when it comes to data. People do not use the number they do not trust. And time is a difficult one to track without an automatic system. It’s easy to measure (you just need a stopwatch, right?), but it’s difficult to track. Many companies ask their operators to log downtime on a spreadsheet. “Every time the machine stops, you ‘just’ have to write down when it stopped and for how long.” That…

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7 Biggest Mistakes Packaging Factories Make With OEE

OEE + Packaging Manufacturers + Challenges Every production manager is familiar with OEE (an abbreviation for the manufacturing metric Overall Equipment Effectiveness) and has tried to implement it in their factory. For a production manager, OEE is almost as important as his or her credit rate, body mass index or golf handicap. It carries the simplicity of being a single number and this is great. However, there are many traps to avoid when using this in your factory to know if you are doing it right or not. Below we would be outlining the most frequent mistakes packaging manufacturers make when using the “holy number”. 1. Comparing Apples To Bananas Since it is a single number, people tend to use it to compare different factories, as a method of comparing their efficiency. This is a dangerous game, for some reasons: Not all companies calculate OEE the same way. Actually, if you ask 10 production managers how they calculate OEE, you will get 11 different answers. Some exclude preventive maintenance from the availability calculations, others exclude holidays others don’t. Batch sizes and process inherent particularities can hugely affect OEE. Take for example a film extrusion line compared to cosmetic plastic…

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