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Articles

Achieving Peak Performance through Your Equipment and Performance Improvements

08/01/2015
by Ron Crews

Last month, we discussed improving productivity by investing in your team and training. Another approach to boost your results could be to invest in latest and greatest state-of-the-art equipment. In theory, it makes sense, but what else can be done? New machinery and new lines, additional employees to run the new lines, and additional space to house the equipment are all major capital expenditures. Before going that route, are you sure you’ve maximized what you already have?

This month, we’ll examine how equipment maintenance is the final piece toward improving your packaging lines and improving peak performance.

Equipment
Every day, the equipment must be kept in peak performing condition as if it were new. Preventive maintenance schedules must be created in detail from past experiences. The team must be diligent in their efforts to ensure the equipment is in the best condition possible. If the equipment has been neglected for some time, it is usually less expensive to rebuild it on-site than to purchase new equipment. Purchasing a new piece of equipment comes with other associated costs to ship, install, commission, tooling, parts, and training for your personnel, before it is ready to hopefully provide you with the benefits you purchased. Machine manufacturer technicians do not always have the experience required to help get you to the level you need to make the improvements you want. If you do hire outside technical help, make sure the person you hire has at least 10 years experience with equipment and operations similar to yours. 

Performance Improvements
Once your personnel have been trained and the equipment has been rebuilt, you are ready to move to the next phase of making improvements.  At this point, you can push to the perceived limits of speed, efficiencies, and yields. Set speed standards that can be easily achieved and will produce high efficiencies and yields.  Then prove it over a week or so.  Begin making speed improvements one unit per minute each week.  Solve the problems you encounter at the new speeds.  Then continue on this path until, you reach a peak. At this point, machine modifications might be necessary to get you beyond this peak.

All in all, the time you take to make improvements in terms of personnel and equipment will pay off as you reach peak performance on your packaging lines.