We recently wrapped up a multi-year project with a consumer packaged goods manufacturer which:
- Expanded line capability without expanding the facility using a close-coupled strategy.
- Reduced meantime to repair by shrinking the line’s footprint and adding standardized HMI displays.
The combination of these solutions, increased the client’s overall operational efficiency by 2%.
How did we do this? We started by deploying our proprietary PLC programming, PolyCode. By using a proven, standardized programming tool like Polycode, you can efficiently manage line expansion projects and increase the precision of your manufacturing processes. This strategy can be applied to single lines with the same results and/or replicated over multiple lines. For this project, we replicated this strategy across several facilities and more than 20 lines.
Polycode simplifies the deployment of standardized programming and results in effective maintenance practices, optimizes your lines, and reduces the meantime for repair – crucial steps for lean manufacturing initiatives.
Start with Standardized PLC Programming
By using one system on all of your lines, operators have more control over maintenance. When operators have familiarity across machines, lines and facilities, they can diagnose an issue and implement solutions with ease and speed. Solutions can be replicated and deployed among multiple lines without the need to validate the code in each instance.
In a similar project, the benefits of a standardized PLC programming implementation demonstrated consistent improvements to the overall manufacturing system.
“The newly standardized system is delivering higher throughput, greater reliability, and faster speeds…downtime has been cut in half. With these improvements in productivity, the operation has recognized significant improvement in servicing manufacturing and packaging and a notable decrease in disruption to their warehouse workforce.” – Cracking the Code Case Study
Shrink Your Line with Closed Couple Manufacturing
In a typical packaging line, machines are spread out with conveyors to allow for accumulation, but the challenge arises when you need to expand lines or accommodate multiple products on one line. You can fit a large system in a smaller footprint to gain floor space for expansion without major construction to the facility or even adding an adjacent facility.
Efficient programming can increase the output per square foot of your facility by providing better control over line speed and line stops. The programming is actually able to “sync” speeds along the line to allow for production changes coming into the packaging area to eliminate the need for conveyor accumulation.
Getting more output from a space saves millions by sidestepping a facility expansion, but there is another added benefit of a more concentrated line: gains in workforce optimization. Physical overlaps within the operational team means the team can do more with less and address quality issues faster. More efficient use of space allowed our client to reduce their staff by three people on each line.
Standardize and Display Your Line Data
In addition to accomplishing more with less, operators also benefit from a clear display of line information. With displays that show the status of all of the motors and machines and their current speeds, operators can have a clear understanding of what is occurring on the line at all times. Faults or alarms can sound on the screens giving operators the ability to quickly diagnose a problem so that it can be fixed immediately.
Standardized displays improve efficiency at every level:
- At the system and machine level, consistency promotes user confidence with regard to expectations on how things operate. https://polytron.com/blog/when-sharepoint-is-done-benefits-of-hmi-standards.
- At the site level, users who move between lines and shifts understand how controls work regardless of assignment.
- At the enterprise level, users who move between sites know how to operate and troubleshoot more efficiently.
All of these benefits add up to an overall increased efficiency in manufacturing system and a reduction in mean time to repair by as much as 50 percent.
If you would like to see what standardized code and line reconfiguration can do for your facility, give us a call today and we’ll help you achieve your lean manufacturing goals.