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How externalization cut one company's downtime 50%

How does externalization work in practice?

Consider the advantages when a packaging plant has an extra roll of material standing on a pouch, bag, or other film-packaging machine. If only one roll can be mounted on the machine, when it runs out, the machine must be shut down until it is replaced.

This downtime can be reduced significantly by making a provision for a backup roll to be mounted ahead of the packaging run. When the active roll runs out of material, the backup roll can be immediately spliced in and the machine restarted.

The time saved by taking this simple extra step may seem trivial until it is calculated. Here’s a real-life example:

A chemical company packed its product in pouches and was changing film rolls six times daily over two shifts. Time to replace the roll averaged about 10 minutes—a total of an hour of line downtime each day. By adding a backup roll, mounted ahead of time, the company reduced downtime by 50%. Five minutes may not seem like much, but given the number of changeovers, it added up to 120 hours (15 shifts) of additional machine availability per year. Total investment for the backup rolls was a couple of thousand dollars.

See the main story that goes with this article: Bulldog-Mentality changeover tactics

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