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Definitions to measure packaging line productivity (sidebar)

Michael Mailutha of Pfizer Global Manufacturing and Ignacio Munoz-Guerra of AutoPak Engineering Corp., co-delivered the presentation “Ways to Increase Packaging Productivity and Reduce Bottlenecks” at the 2004 International Pack Expo in Chicago in November.
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They offered three key formulas to help understand and increase packaging line productivity:

1. Machine efficiency is the ratio of the actual operating time divided by the total available production time. For example if the actual operating time of a packaging machine was 301 minutes and the total available production time was 430 minutes 301 divided by 430 would equal 0.7. Multiply by 100 to get a machine efficiency of 70%.

2. Line throughput is the total amount of products packaged in a shift divided by the amounts of minutes in a shift. So if a 240 bpm line ran for 301 minutes it would produce 72 bottles. If the total shift was 430 minutes line throughput would be 168 bpm.

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3. Dynamic speed control is described as the equipment capability to change its operating speed given by the backup level experienced at the infeed end of the equipment.

Tips: The impact of dynamic speed control on line efficiency is that it enables a machine to lower its speed when an external stoppage occurs running for a longer period of time before it stops. Dynamic speed control also increases line production throughput. When coupled with a buffer system (equipment that balances production output between work centers) dynamic speed control will be able to divide the line in two creating a cushion between equipment. That helps the equipment run longer with fewer stoppages.

Recommendations: The two speakers described a buffer case study in which the line’s initial conditions included a running speed of 240 bpm with throughput at 168 bpm. Downtime was unknown. After observing the line the study recommended adding buffer equipment that could accommodate 1 bottles before a labeler and operate at a speed of 210 bpm. The study projected an increase of line throughput to 200 bpm with a 20% increase in efficiency. The implementation cost of $100 was projected to deliver a six-month payback.

For a more detailed look at this presentation visit www.pmmi.org/ms/peconf/m14.pdf. —Jim Butschli

See the story that goes with this sidebar: Packets a prescription to savings

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