Just like we human beings, production equipment also needs a health check-up every now and then, performed by a team of specialist “doctors”.
Whether it is the output or scrap rate, set-up or handling time – packaging and processing lines have many areas where subtle problems can hide. But once a problem is recognized, how is the manufacturer to identify these hidden issues without disassembling the entire line?
We have got the answer: a “technical audit”.
Before the examination
Imagine, for example, a flow wrapping line for cookies. The operations and maintenance teams of the cookie producer have been successfully working with the line for five years. However, the quality group recently compared the line’s current scrap rates with those when it was originally installed and found that the waste rate has grown. A pharmaceutical vaccines producer might encounter a similar situation.
In both cases, the reasons for the discrepancies are not immediately obvious – so both the cookie producer and the pharmaceutical manufacturer decide to invest in a technical audit. At this point, the technical audit team will determine the best course of action and define the next steps in the process. This will be important to providing the customer with solutions that correlate directly to desired improvements in the final proposal.
To that end, interdisciplinary experts make sure the line is running in a stable state prior to any data recording. All obvious issues are corrected immediately. The experts check and record the packaging or processing line’s performance in various categories. This in-depth analysis shows where the line is running efficiently and pinpoints areas of concern. The technical team identifies that the real issue is in the product distribution, product infeed or other upstream parts of the process.
Treatment in progress
Once the previously hidden issues have been clearly diagnosed, the team can make treatment recommendations. We create a quotation and a roadmap for improvement measures with estimated improvements in the customer KPIs as designated at the initial meeting. The treatment might consist of measures such as new spare parts, modernization or even operator training. Before the project is completed, the audit team checks all implemented measures.
Above all, we focus on the concrete results. In the case of packaging or processing machines, they not only prolong the lifetime of the equipment. They also result in significant savings due to increased line output and efficiency.