Design studies help our engineers determine optimized product flow, line efficiency, staffing strategy, and plant layout. These studies can encompass previously existing operations or new lines that have yet to be installed. The most common studies completed by EPIC are:
Packaging Line Up-Time & Accumulation Studies
Avoiding major bottlenecks along the packaging line requires careful performance study of equipment under certain manufacturing conditions. To offer our clients maximum productivity, we study all factors that affect equipment and packaging line up-time including how to best integrate machinery to achieve the best line changeover speeds.
Because we’ve worked on the plant floor, we understand the aggravation caused by downtime. We are committed to intuitive packaging equipment design that avoids frustrations, complications and costly-downtime issues.
The Study of Packaging Line Up-Time & Accumulation Reveals:
- The mean downtime of the existing line, machine or manufacturing process
- The standard deviation of incidents for each machine in the existing line packaging
- Where proper accumulation buffers need to be integrated
- Solutions for the maximized, uninterrupted up-time of the packaging line as a whole
EPIC Systems can help you complete an Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) study on your packaging lines to help improve the efficiency of your entire process.
EPIC can perform OEE on one or multiple lines, or for an entire manufacturing facility. EPIC can install OEE and downtime tracking systems that continuously display statistics on line or machine efficiency (MEE). These stats help plant personnel identify problems quickly, increase line efficiency, and can also feed into larger plant management programs, such as an MES. Executives can even remotely view the OEE data feed through a cloud based software set-up.
The goal of OEE is to maximize fully productive time and there are many benefits to performing an OEE study.
OEE takes the most common and important sources of manufacturing productivity loss and places them into three primary categories – availability, performance and quality – on which it provides metrics as a gauge for measuring where you are and where you can improve.
OEE = Availability x Performance x Quality
The most useful part of OEE studies are that they return not one number, but rather four numbers, which are all useful individually as your situation changes from day to day.
Ideal OEE results:
Availability = 90%
Performance = 95%
Quality = 99.9%
OEE = 85%
What OEE Measures
OEE is often used as a part of Total Productive Maintenance and Lean Manufacturing programs because it provides a consistent way to measure the effectiveness of TPM and other programs by providing an overall framework for measuring efficiency.
OEE analysis starts with Plant Operating Time and subtracts from it Planned Shut Down time to get the starting point of Planned Production Time. From this starting point, efficiency and productivity loss areas are examined.
The three major losses of down time, speed, and quality correspond with the three OEE factors as follows:
Availability = Operating Time / Planned Packaging Time
Availability examines Down Time Loss, which includes any events that stop planned production long enough to log as a trackable event. This may include equipment failures, material shortages, and changeover time. The time remaining after events are taken into factor is called Operating Time.
The two most common packaging factors that impact availability are:
- Breakdowns: Examples include unplanned maintenance, equipment failure and tooling failure
It is not only important to know how much down time your process is experiencing (and when) but also to be able to attribute the lost time to the specific source or reason for the loss (tabulated through Reason Codes). With OEE, Root Cause Analysis is applied starting with the most severe loss categories.
- Setup and Adjustments: Examples include changeovers, material or operator shortages, major adjustments, warm-up time.
Setup and Adjustment time is generally measured as the time between the last good part produced before setup to the first consistent good parts produced after setup. It often includes substantial adjustment and/or warm-up time in order to consistently produce parts that meet quality standards.
Tracking setup time is critical to reducing loss when paired with an active time reduction program.
Performance = Ideal Cycle Time / (Operating Time / Total Pieces)
Performance = (Total Pieces / Operating Time) / Ideal Run Rate
Performance examines Speed Loss, which includes all factors that cause the process to operate at anything less than maximum speed. Issues may include machine wear, substandard materials, misfeeds, and operator inefficiency. The time remaining is called Net Operating Time.
The two most common manufacturing factors that impact performance are:
- Small Stops: Examples include obstructed product flow, jams, misfeeds, cleaning/checking, blocked sensors/deliveries.
- Reduced Speed: Examples include rough running, under design capacity, equipment wear, operator inefficiency.
The reason for analyzing Small Stops separately from Reduced Speed is that the root causes are typically very different.
Small Stops and Reduced Speed are the most difficult to monitor and record. Cycle Time Analysis should be utilized to pinpoint these loss types. In most processes recording data for Cycle Time Analysis needs to be automated. Cycles are quick and repetitive events do not leave adequate time for manual data-logging.
By filtering the data through a Small Stop Threshold and the Reduced Speed Threshold, comparing all completed cycles to the Ideal Cycle Time, errant cycles can be automatically categorized for analysis.
Quality = Good Pieces / Total Pieces
Quality examines Quality Loss, which accounts for produced pieces that do not meet standards, including re-worked pieces. The remaining time is called Fully Productive Time.
The two most common manufacturing processes that impact quality are:
- Startup Rejects: Occurs during start-up. Examples include scrap, rework, in-process damage, incorrect assembly, in-process expiration.
- Production Rejects: Occurs during normal run time. Examples include scrap, rework, in-process damage, incorrect assembly, in-process expiration.
There are advantages to differentiating between Start-up and Production Rejects, since often the root causes are different. Parts that require rework of any kind must be considered rejects. Tracking when rejects occur during a shift and/or job run can help pinpoint potential causes, and in many cases patterns will be discovered.
How plant personnel interact with a system can be a critical factor in designing a skid for your plant. If the ergonomics of your new production system are key in your plant, we can conduct functional design studies to ensure a safe, easy to access system for your employees.
If enzymes are a part of your production system, reducing risk to plant personnel must be addressed with a balance of engineered controls and operational changes. EPIC provides actionable recommendations for improving existing operations or ensuring new systems will operate safely. Visit our enzyme handling pages to learn more.
Line Design Based on Line Packaging Studies
All line packaging studies are done to enhance packaging line design by EPIC’s integration experts. Fully extracting your packaging lines goals, EPIC will determine line layout, optimal equipment and a custom design that maximizes up-time. Our practical in-plant experience combined with our expertise in packaging applications allows us to guarantee your packaging rates upon completion of detailed line design.
Contact an engineer to beginning developing your custom packaging line today.