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Want more production out of packaging equipment?

More and more packaged goods companies are turning to the performance indicator known as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) to wring more production out of existing packaging equipment.
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More and more packaged goods companies are turning to the performance indicator known as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) to wring more production out of existing packaging equipment. Contributing editor Greg Farnum filed a story recently in Automation World that nicely captured a number of useful insights into this machine performance issue.

Here are a few highlights:

• Todd Smith, FactoryTalk metrics product manager at Rockwell Automation: “OEE is a simple performance indicator to which all managers can relate. Because it shows a machine’s actual performance compared to its theoretical maximum, OEE can be applied to accurately compare any machine or any line, in any industry, anywhere in the world.”

• Barry Lynch, global industry manager for consumer products at GE Intelligent Platforms: “Margin pressure since 2010 has been increasing. The cost of energy, raw materials, and packaging materials among other factors have all been increasing. As a result, companies are looking for ways to drive up the profitability of existing assets. OEE is a key metric in helping them do this.”

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•Andy Hansbrough, market development manager for motion system provider Kollmorgen, predicts that OEE functionality will be integrated within the machine by the machine builder in what might be called an “OEE-onboard” approach: “Operation teams need OEE or equivalent metrics from their machines and factories to be productive and to accomplish their objectives. The easier it is for them to understand factory performance, the easier it is for them to take action when and where it is needed. So expect more integration of OEE with machines as a value-added feature.”

• Mike Pantaleano, business manager for information software and manufacturing intelligence at Rockwell Automation: “The concept of ‘information-enabled equipment’ is still not a main priority for many OEMs, but it is clearly becoming an issue for their end users, who try to stitch solutions together from a variety of OEMs.” OEE and other machine-based KPIs will have a continuing and growing impact on the packaging space, including packaging equipment OEMs. Packagers, says Pantaleano, need to have better information on how their machines are actually performing, and they are increasingly expecting this functionality to be built into equipment before it arrives.



While the OEE is well establish methodology for automated lines, very little has been written or developed on how to apply OEE to semi automated and manual lines. This is the situation at many subcontractors (or TPMs) in the cosmetics, personal care and even pharma areas. Many of these TPMs deal with continuously changing customers and products, and keeping flexibility while minimizing investment in dedicated equipment has been the overriding business mentality. My experience, consulting to such manufacturers, is that skepticism of automated measuring , or the efforts required to measure properly(which are all tied to standard work), are the biggest hurdles to many stake holders in the plants. I have had some success applying OEE in TPM environments, even in Mexico, and each client is a special customized case....

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