Increasing economy of scope by increasing throughput

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Information about Increasing economy of scope by increasing throughput

Published on April 26, 2014

Author: tobeyhouston


Tobey Strauch Navarro Systems Increasing Economy of Scope by Increasing Throughput- Running Your Plant Efficiently

Motivation:  Most industrial plants are not running at capacity due to the following:  Waste  Manpower  Outdated Equipment

What if?  Instead of having to hire outside integrators/contractors to put in new equipment and new lines, companies use their inside talent to make changes in process and automation to get their lines up to par?  Results:  Improved throughput  Better process  Improved training and response to downtime

How it works:  Evaluate the current system  Gather data:  Current throughput  Current waste  Current cycle times  Current maintenance issues  What is repeatable?  Tag the activities that are repeatedly causing downtime that can be fixed. Most of the time, the in-house maintenance will know what needs to be done. They have not gotten the go ahead or had the down time allowed to do so.

Controlled Down Time:  No one in production wants down time, but controlled down time is your friend.  Uncontrolled down time is what causes profit declines.

Give Them the Tools:  If maintenance is capable, then give them the tools  Software  HMI data on the screen to decrease having to get online with controllers  Up to date drawings  10 minute stand ups to share information between shifts  Shift overlap and information flow.

Shift Overlap and Information Flow  Maintenance teams need to talk. ITS NOT A COMPETITION.  If the widgets don’t get out, everyone in the plant is in jeopardy.  There should be overlap between maintenance and operations, and between maintenance and engineering.

Case Study:  Cereal Plant was installed expecting 4000 pounds throughput per hour based on physical capacity.  Actual Capacity: 2300 to 3300 pounds/hour  Limitation:  Bulk of material  Change overs  Equipment issues  Static electricity  Moisture  Size of Grain Particle

Main Problem:  Bulks of 340 mg/liter and above have decrease “flow-ability”  Production wanted to increase throughput of bulk density products measuring 340 mg/liter, plus or minus. Primarily this is mixed oats and multigrain oatmeal products at a micro-flake size for instant cereal.

Solution:  Without adding equipment or having contractor costs  Retune the weigh belt to guarantee that the weight we see is what we are getting.  Look at the blower speeds for the vacuum flow  Look at the variable frequency drives on the conveyors to maximize  Evaluate the material level fill switches

Actions:  Found error on the fill levels: The intermediate silo was not getting filled to the top. Changed PLC code to allow the max level in that silo to be used so that the system had more product to use before having to play catchup.  Retuned the weigh belt and adjust the PID loop so that the weigh belt speed would change with set point.  Adjusted intermediate air locks so that the VFD speeds would increase for more material flow.  Adjusted shut down cycle to make sure the levels were full before the next call for product.

Benefits:  The box filler can now run at 77 cartons per minute, and the system keeps up.  This is a 20 % increase in throughput.  How does it increase economy of scale?  Less man hours needed to run for the same demand.  If less man hours needed, then more room to advertise for co-packing.  Co-packing brings a higher return than packing our own product.  Can’t co-pack without being consistent due to meeting demands of partner’s supply chain schedule/requirements.  Only way to guarantee consistency is to spend the time and money on the automation and the skillset required to run your plant efficiently.

Confidence in Selling:  When the plant runs efficiently, we can sell. Morale increases. There is a helping attitude instead of “point the finger” attitude.  Difference is in management, not production workers. Attitude toward efficiency is a top down change.  This includes management of technology.

Real Time Benefit:  62 Cartons/Minute  Yields 3720 Cartons per hour.  Cartons are 8 ounces of product.  3720/2 =1860 lbs per hour  44640 Cartons a day with two shifts running 8 hours, but 6 hours production  77 Cartons/Minute  Yields 4620 Cartons per hour.  4620/2 = 2310 lbs per hour  55440 Cartons a day with two shifts running 8 hours, but 6 hours production.

Real Time Benefit:  Reduction in number of shifts required to meet orders.  Increase in availability for co-packing.

Engineering Contract Costs: 0

Contact:  Tobey Strauch  Navarro Industrial Systems  515-451-0656

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