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packagers playbook series

education for packaging professionals

2013 Edition

PRIMARY PACKAGING LINE EQUIPMENT


PLAYBOOK
HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY IMPleMeNt PRiMARy PAcKAGiNG LiNe eQuiPMeNt

8 Coding trends for primary packaging 8 Coding survey results 8 PackML and when to use it 8 How to compare machines at a trade show

Sponsored by

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ENGINEERED FOR PERFORMANCE

TM

packagers playbook series

education for packaging professionals

PRIMARY PACKAGING LINE EQUIPMENT PLAYBOOK

Contents

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Contributors
5 All the packaging experts who contributed to this Playbook

Introduction
7 Your Playbook for building a better packaging line

Equipment Strategies
10 Five trends in liquid filling equipment 13 Seven tips for buying liquid filling equipment 17 Best practices when implementing weigh/filling equipment 20 Key implications of FSMA for food packaging suppliers 26 Auger filling equipment trends and buying tips 30 Nine best practices for selecting capping equipment 33 In-line cappers versus rotary chuck-style cappers 35 Trends in coding/marking for primary packaging 37 Ten tips for buying coding/marking systems for primary packaging 42 Comparing coding technologies 48 Best practices for specifying conveying and container handling equipment

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Contents

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Equipment Strategies continued


53 Best practices for buffering and packaging line design 57 How to calculate Overall Equipment Effectiveness: A practical guide 71 Trends and drivers for machine vision technology 77 Best practices in specifying vision systems 80 Metal detection, X-ray, and checkweigh trends 82 Best practices in specifying inspection systems 86 Trends and tips for specifying induction sealing equipment

Project Strategies
89 Ten financial justifications for new equipment 92 Best practices for specifying packaging machinery 98 Vendor evaluation methodology for packaging equipment 100 Tips on finding the right equipment supplier 105 Seven tips for comparing machines at a trade show 108 Roadmap for a successful Factory Acceptance Test 114 Eleven tips for a successful packaging line start-up 119 Benefits of PackML and when to use it on your line 122 How projects fail: 11 pitfalls to avoid

PRIMARY PACKAGING LINE EQUIPMENT PLAYBOOK

Contributors

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The following brand owners, consultants, and engineering experts contributed to this Playbook:
Roy Greengrass P.E.
Senior Engineering Manager Del Monte Foods

Sunny Ishikawa
Engineering Research Fellow Wrigley

Paul H. Davis
Project Engineer Ryt-way Industries, LLC

Dave Hoenig
Principal DH Technical Consulting, LLC

Stan Walulek
Vice President Michels Bakery, Inc.

Paul Zepf
P.Eng., M.Eng., CPP Zarpac Inc.

Paul Redwood
Senior Research Engineer Church & Dwight

Greg Flickinger
VP Manufacturing and Corporate Engineering, Snyders-Lance, Inc.

Shawn French
Engineering Manager Sun Products

Adam Pawlick
Director of Packaging Bay Valley Foods

Matthew Courtesis
Packaging Dept. Supervisor Boston Beer

Glenn Whiteside
Packaging Engineer, CPP Synthes (USA)

PRIMARY PACKAGING LINE EQUIPMENT PLAYBOOK

Contributors

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Additional Contributors:
Sterling Anthony
Consultant

We gratefully acknowledge the expertise of these supplier contributors:


Accutek, All-Fill, Apacks, Axon, Cognex, Cozzoli Machine Co./MRM/Elgin, Delkor Systems, Domino, Douglas Machine, Econocorp, Fanuc Robotics, Fowler Products, Griffin-Rutgers, Heat & Control, ID Technologies, Lion Precision, MGS Machine, Morrison Container Handling Solutions, Nalbach Engineering, Optima-USA, Pearson Packaging Systems, Spee Dee Packaging Machinery, Thermo Scientific, Videojet, Weighpack, Yamato, Z.I.T.O. (Zito Induction Technology Options)

Tommy Lancaster
Chief Operating Officer Bryson Industries

Curtis Wardaugh, P.E.


President Medalist Engineering, P.C.

Elizabeth Barr Fawell


Associate, Food and Agriculture Group Hogan Lovells US LLP Several other brand owners were interviewed for this Playbook on the condition of anonymity.

PRIMARY PACKAGING LINE EQUIPMENT PLAYBOOK

Introduction

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Your Playbook for building a better packaging line


Specifying and installing a modern, automated packaging line is essentially an exercise in team building. You may be in your present position because of your technical knowledge and experience, but packaging line experts have told us over and over that good communication skillswithin your plant and outside of itmay be just as important to the success of your new or upgraded packaging line. You must know your product and your lineand be able to communicate that knowledge to both internal and external members of the team. Learn what package machine builders need to know in order to give you the solutions you want. The idea behind our Playbooks is the creation of one source that spells out all the tricks and tips associated with buying, testing, commissioning, and starting up packaging equipment. To unlock these secrets, we spoke with or consulted with dozens of sources. Most of these consisted of in-depth phone interviews with experts in the fieldengineers and managers at leading consumer packaged goods companies. We also talked to suppliers, which gamely set aside their sales hat and spoke honestly about best practices and pitfalls to avoid. Remember that while you may buy one filler or inspection system or coding/marking system in a given yearif that manythe companies selling that equipment have been through dozens of projects in that same time period. Learn from their experiences.

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Introduction

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continued

Your Playbook for building a better packaging line

In short, what youre reading is the collective thinking of an industry, representing hundreds of years of packaging experience, distilled into a short, actionable, bulleted style that makes for easy reading. This particular Playbook, like our other successful Playbooks in the areas of flexible packaging, labeling, and package development, has been updated for 2013. The Primary Playbook covers the front half of the packaging linefrom unscrambling through induction sealing. New material in the areas of weighing/filling, robotics, and primary coding has been added to bring these subjects up to date. You will also want to download the End-of-Line Equipment Playbook, which covers everything on the back half of the packaging line, from cartoning, case packing, and shrink bundling through palletizing and stretch wrapping. The two Playbooks will equip you well for your next project. (See all our Playbooks at Packworld.com/playbook.) All of our Playbooks are designed to be read either on the screen, or printed out. A final word. The entire cost of producing and distributing this Playbook has been underwritten by the companies that have sponsored it. We thank them for their support, and we thank you for reading.

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Introduction

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Our Editor:
Melissa Larson has been writing about the packaging and converting industries since 1984. She was senior editor of Packaging magazine, was the founding editor of Pharmaceutical and Medical Packaging News, and was managing editor of Converting. She has also blogged for PMMIs Connected Communities and other packaging industry clients. She resides in Barrington, IL.

Melissa Larson
Contributing Editor

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Equipment Strategies
Five trends in liquid filling equipment

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Speed and precision are the hallmarks of liquid filling systems. As the economy improves, packagers are under the gun, using all their planning skills to take care of business while utilizing the equipment already on the floor, and perhaps contemplating new technology. Heres what they are discovering is available in liquid filling:

1. Shorter lead times: Short build times are the norm as the economy recovers, as most
packagers are dealing with multiple product lines, projects, and deadlines. They are searching for suppliers that can deliver a full packaging line with the shortest build time. Budget is still a concern, but the growing demands, in particular, of the food and beverage business dictate a fully integrated solution on a tight deadline.

Source: Apacks

2. Flexibility and adaptability: Packagers continue to look for flexibility in machinery


so they can package products with a wide range of containers, caps, labels, sleeves, and products. They want machines that can handle different size/shape containers as a standard feature, without additional add-ons or a custom solution.

3.Quick changeovers: SKU proliferation and retailers that order at the last minute to
avoid holding stock have driven the need for faster changeovers in recent years. This has led to the development of technologies for quicker cleaning, eliminating pistons, cylinders, and valves that have to be removed, cleaned, and reinstalled. Instead, such components can be

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Five trends in liquid filling equipment


cleaned with hot water or steam straight through the filling nozzle. On in-line machines, theres also a trend favoring universal change parts, reducing or in some cases even eliminating the need to remove parts for a size change.

4. Compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA): Cleanability per FSMA
is a big concern for filler machine builders. Fillers have a tendency to have complex fluid pathways due to the many pistons, pumps, and check valves inherent in their design. Cleanability goals are quick disassembly with no tools needed, disassembly of hoses, etc., and no hidden fluid pathways.

5. Multiple-function machines: Packagers are


asking for machines that can perform multiple functions beyond that of the traditional monobloc filler/capper. One example cited was a machine that orients bottles and caps to one another as well as to the final case-packing system. CPGs also want more equipment flexibility to accommodate

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Now proudly offering Allen Bradley Components.

Five trends in liquid filling equipment


a continually expanding range of packaging formats, including a wider variety of container shapes, sizes, material structures, and closure mechanisms. Five years from now, some machine builders predict more complexly integrated machines with software adaptations that can handle maybe four to six operations (for example, filling, capping, labeling, coding, cartoning, and casing) in one system. Also predicted are multiple production cellsif one module fails, you can take it out and replace it without having to replace the entire system.

Teamwork...

In-Motion.
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Equipment Strategies
Seven tips for buying liquid filling equipment

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There are several things to keep in mind when selecting liquid fillers to ensure the right fit for your application:

1. Understand how the machine affects the product. You need to think about
the impact of the filler on the product youre packaging. The state or viscosity of the liquid can be inadvertently changed, based solely on the construction of the equipment. For example, running a liquid through extra elbows, pipes, and pumps can change the viscosity, resulting in a liquid that is much too thin. High speeds can also impact some products negatively. You need to keep the product characteristics front-of-mind when selecting equipment.
Source: Apacks

2. Understand how the product dictates the type of filler. The type of
machine utilized for a project is often dependent on beverage/product characteristics and the type and shape of the containers. Free-flowing liquids like beverages work well with a timedflow or overflow machine, whereas a more viscous product might be better suited for a piston or positive displacement (PD) filler. The fill size or type of container might also determine the type of machine used. Timed-flow and overflow machines are both good for free-flowing liquids but differ in how they deliver product to a container. Timed-flow fillers are a volumetric fill machine, meaning each fill cycle they deliver exactly the same volume of product. These

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Seven tips for buying liquid filling equipment


WE KEEP YOU

MOVING.

machines are designed for very precise fills regardless of the container shape. However if the container varies in volume, the fill levels may have an inconsistent look. Glass bottles are a good example of containers that often have varying inner shapes and volumes.

3. Know the filling challenges of handling beverages with pulp or fruit pieces. Pulp or fruit
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pieces, otherwise known as particulates, require specialized pumps and valves based on the size and density of the individual particulates. Challenges with filling particulates arise whenever there is a significant variance in the size of the pieces. Pickles are a good example of a product that has particulates with a large size variance. Small or soft particulates are usually easier to accommodate.

4. Look at ease of cleaning. Pay attention to the


cleanability of equipment. As with any product destined for consumption, the machine must be made of FDAapproved sanitary materials. Most customers, including beverage providers, want equipment that is easy to clean

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Small Character Ink Jet

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What does world-class uptime look like to you?

Seven tips for buying liquid filling equipment


and maintain. When filling bottles, keeping the nozzle clean is of primary importance to good manufacturing practices. Simpler design is better: Make sure the equipment doesnt have nooks and crannies that can harbor microorganisms. Also look for filling machines that have clean-in-place systems as a standard feature.

Thermal Ink Jet

Laser Marking

5. Lighten up. Plastic bottle lightweighting continues


to be a major trend, and with cost and sustainability advantages, this trend isnt going away anytime soon. So be sure to look for unscrambling and filling technologies that will accommodate progressively thinner bottles. Feather bottles, down to just seven grams of plastic for a half-liter bottle, with a short-skirted cap, call for kinder, gentler unscrambling and filling.

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Thermal Transfer Overprinting

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6. Dont give away product. Dont accept a vendor


giving you a general average in weight variation. You need to know what that percentage is at the actual container sizes you intend to run today and in the future. Giveaway can actually vary slightly at different container sizes.

Print & Apply Labeling

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Seven tips for buying liquid filling equipment

7. Avoid complexity. Complex fillers equal complex maintenance needs. The simpler
the machine, the less maintenance, the less training, and the fewer parts that need to be kept on hand. Watch for parts or components that may have the potential to break off. If you dont have a screen prior to the fill head or nozzle, pieces of metal or plastic can get into your product. Even good inspection systems may not be 100% effective in detecting a piece of metal or plastic in a metal can.

8. Ask about changeover times. If you know youre filling different products, or
that you may be someday, you need to know about changeover times. Changeover time reductions are a key factor in boosting efficiency. The goal is quick, repeatable changeovers, so you can get your line up and running again as soon as possible.

9. Know what you need today, but have flexibility for tomorrow. When
selecting a machine, keep an eye on future output. See into Year Two, and think about future new products and their filling needs. Look vertically across your products, as well as upstream in the supply chain. What happens if a key ingredient in the formula of your product changes? Does this mean your nozzles may become ineffective? Think about future filling challenges.

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Best practices when implementing weigh/filling equipment


Weighing can be the most important operation in food processing, and the one with the highest ROI within your plant. While almost any filling machine can potentially be set up to fill by weight, weigh filling is more often used with dry products, such as powders or granules. The challenge is determining the best solution for not only weighing, but also for handling your product properly to minimize any degradation after the weigher. Confidence in both the equipment and the supplier is vital when you consider the typical life of a weigher can be more than 25 years. Here are some best practices:

1. Determine the overall system goals, looking at each transfer point.


Carefully specifying each component of a system (like a weigher) is important, but all components must work in concert to achieve the desired output, which is accurately filled packages and efficiently running equipment.

Source: Weighpack

2. Review your products flow characteristics with prospective suppliers. Send product samples for machine builders to test and ideally videotape. This
is time-consuming and somewhat tricky if your product tends to change with transport and handling, like produce. The trickier the product, the more important the validation.

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Best practices when implementing weigh/ filling equipment

3. Carefully examine and document your facilitys environmental conditions. This includes humidity and temperature of the filling area, as well as bulk
storage. Depending on what is being filled, these conditions may have a damaging effect on the product. They can even change the consistency of the product enough to have an adverse effect on the equipments filling ability.

4. Make sure your sanitation practices and maintenance are top-notch.


Avoid product buildup on tooling and control services. Choose equipment that is easy to disassemble and clean on a daily basis or as required. Follow a rigorous maintenance schedule to ensure top production output.

5. Consider how weighing/filling is affected by fresh, frozen, dry, fragile product. Weighing is affected by all product conditions, both physical and environmental.
The same product will convey, transfer, fall, and handle in a completely different manner when fresh as compared to when it is frozen. The supplier should also have a large selection of application-specific weighers to choose from, such as:

Gentle-slope weighers for fragile products. USDA Dairy-approved systems if applicable. Weighers for fresh, sticky, and large-piece products, such as poultry.

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Best practices when implementing weigh/filling equipment

Weighers designed for RTE (ready to eat) fresh

products, such as salad kits, etc., which are extremely popular right now but are challenging because they may change in shipment, and are hard to validate.

6. Consider the unique challenges of granulars and particulates. Your supplier should
have a range of weigher models to handle different target weights of granular and powder products. Consider specifying sift-proof hoppers for your weigher, as well as a dust collector for products that create high concentrations of airborne particulates. You might also want some sort of secondary automatic bulk loading of product to the equipment so that the machine is never under- or overfilled with product.

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Key implications of FSMA for food packaging suppliers


BY ELIZAbeTH BARR FAWeLL On Jan. 4, 2011, President Barack Obama signed into law historic food safety legislation the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The law has two major themes: prevention and accountability. Prevention means that food companies need to have controls in place during manufacturing to assure the safety of their products and to prevent problems (not just react to them after-the-fact). Accountability means that food companies are accountable to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help ensure that their suppliers are making safe ingredients. Although the law primarily has significant implications for food manufacturers, importers, and the fresh produce industry, it also affects the food packaging industry. Importantly, not all provisions in FSMA apply to food packaging in the same way. Some provisions of the new law make food packaging manufacturers accountable to FDA, while other provisions make food packaging manufacturers accountable to their customers. In order to help keep everything straight, I encourage you to think about a few key principles as you read on.

First, who does the legal requirement apply to? Some requirements apply to food

as defined in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), and others apply to registered food facilities. Second, where is your business in the supply chain? Are you acting as a seller or as an  importer/buyer? Third, who cares about your activities? Is it FDA or your customers (or both)?

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Key implications of FSMA for food packaging suppliers

There are two major provisions in FSMA that are particularly relevant to food packaging manufacturers and their relationships with their food-industry customers: Preventive Controls and the Foreign Supplier Verification Program. Third-party certification is a tool that may help ease compliance for food packaging companies.

Preventive Controls
The Preventive Controls provision is found in Section 103 of FSMA (FFDCA Section 418). It requires all registered food facilities to evaluate the hazards that could affect food manufactured, processed, packed, or held by the facility and to identify and implement preventive controls to significantly minimize or prevent the occurrence of such hazards and provide assurances that the food is not adulterated and does not contain any undeclared allergens. As stated above, this requirement applies to all food facilities registered as required by Section 415 of the FFDCA. By regulation, FDA has exempted food packaging companies from the registration requirement (it defined food to exclude food contact substances). This means that these companies are exempt from the legal requirement to comply with the Preventive Controls provisionmeaning such companies are not accountable to the FDA. But in practice, they are still accountable to their customers. Although food packaging manufacturers are exempt from the Preventive Controls provision, in all likelihood their customersfood facilities that use packaging materials to package foodsare subject to it. And it is important to understand that one of the preventive controls that registered food facilities will need to have in place is a supplier verification program. Because food manufacturers will be required by FSMA (and FDA) to verify that their suppliers

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Key implications of FSMA for food packaging suppliers

are making safe packaging materials, they may very likely require their packaging suppliers to have preventive controls in place so they can meet their legal obligations. Remember two of our key principles from above: Where are you in the supply chain? Who cares? In this case, if you are selling food packaging materials to food manufacturers, FDA will not require you to have preventive controls. Nonetheless, because food manufacturers (your customers) are accountable to FDA, you will be subject to your customers oversight. And your customers may require you to comply with the Preventive Controls provision or otherwise assure them that your packaging materials are safe.

The Foreign Supplier Verification Program


The second major provision in FSMA is called the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) (FSMA Section 301; FFDCA Section 805). This provision applies to all importers of food, and requires importers to perform risk-based verification activities to ensure that the food they import is produced in compliance with the Preventive Controls provision (if applicable) and is not adulterated or does not contain any undeclared food allergens. There are two definitions that are critical to understanding how this provision may affect your business:

FSMAs Preventive Controls and Foreign Supplier Verification Program provisions are of particular relevance to food packaging suppliers.

First, FSMA defines importer as the United States owner or consignee of the article

of food at the time of entry of such article into the United States or the U.S. agent or representative of a foreign owner or consignee of the article of food at the time of entry. Second, for purposes of this section, food includes food packaging materials.

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Key implications of FSMA for food packaging suppliers

Therefore, if you are an importer, and you import food packaging materials, you will need to have an FSVP. If this is confusing, lets look at our principles again: Who does the legal requirement apply to? Unlike the Preventive Controls provision, which applies to registered facilities, the FSVP applies to all importers of food, whether they are registered or not. Under the FFDCA, the term food includes food packaging materials. Although FDA exempted food packaging materials from the definition of food for purposes of facility registration, that exemption only is an exemption from registrationthe basic definition of food in the statute remains. It is possible FDA may grant an exemption from the FSVP for importers of food packaging materials in the regulations implementing the provision, as some members of the packaging industry have requested of the agency. As of this writing, FDA has written a proposed rule implementing the FSVP, but that proposed rule has not yet been published or made publicly available. Once FDA releases the proposed rule, the agency must provide time for public comment on its proposal. At that time, food packaging manufacturers can comment on the proposed rule to FDA expressing their support for an exemption. Even if FDA does not propose an exemption in the proposed rule, it is possible that FDA may grant an exemption in the final rule. So stay tuned.

Third-party certification
Furthermore, there is a tool at your disposal that may help you comply with FDAs requirement that you have an FSVP and/or your customers requirement that you have preventive controls in place. The tool is third-party certification.

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Key implications of FSMA for food packaging suppliers


If you are an importer, you can use third-party certification as a verification activity. That is, you can require your suppliers to get certified. Then, meeting the FSVP requirement is much easier. If you are a supplier, you can use third-party certification to show your customers you have rigorous programs in place to ensure safety and quality. You can show your customers you are certified, and then they can more easily satisfy their obligations under FSMA. (Please keep in mind that you are not legally required by FDA to use third-party certification. I am merely suggesting it as a potential tool for your consideration.)

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Conclusion
In the end, the passage of FSMA means that big changes are coming for food companies everywhere, and that applies to makers of food packaging as well. As you think about preparing for compliance with the law, be sure you:

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Key implications of FSMA for food packaging suppliers

Understand which provisions apply to registered food facilities (Preventive Controls), and which apply to importers of food (FSVP). Think about what activities you need to engage in to satisfy FDA (FSVP), and what you need to do to satisfy your customers (preventive controls). Work with others in your industry to see if FDA will grant an exemption from the FSVP for food packaging materials, and think about whether third-party certification makes sense to satisfy both FDA (if applicable) and customer requirements.

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Auger filling equipment trends and buying tips


What has most affected the design of auger filling equipment in the last year or two? It boils down to these trends:

1. Greater throughput and reliability with servos: For more than a decade, servomotor technology has increasingly found its way into dry filling lines to become a mainstream technology for all package sizesfrom club packs to stick packs, K-Cups, and single-serve packs. This technology allows precise control of acceleration rates and revolutions for greater accuracy and repeatability as well as reduced product giveaway. Along with the accuracy of turning on and off cleanly with every fill, servos also can automatically shut down in the event of a line stoppage, eliminating the burnout of old AC motor and clutch-brake designs. Also in contrast to older AC systems, servos use fewer parts for reduced maintenance. These benefits, taken as a whole, have allowed greater management of complex lines and greater confidence to expand, for instance, a K-Cup filling line from two to eight or more lanes.

2. Quicker changeover: Along with greater control and reliability of dry filling lines,
machine design enhancements open new opportunities for making incremental gains in capacity, especially in the area of changeover. For example, when reconfiguring the appropriate number of filling heads for a change in package or product, new designs offer easy access to parts, speeding cleaning and changeover. This can be seen in the reduced tools, and in some cases

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Auger filling equipment trends and buying tips

tool-less changeover procedures, that contribute to greater productivity for greater throughput, while at the same time reducing the risks of unnecessary tools and loose parts in the production environment.

3. More powerful controls: The wide adoption of programmable controls has led to
more powerful management and integration of filling equipment. Current-generation dry filling equipment is typically integrated with upstream infeed systems and downstream baggers, such as horizontal or vertical form/fill/seal systems. Additionally, checkweighers further downstream communicate with that equipment to automatically adjust feed and fill settings and prevent drift in weight and other parameters. The advent and adoption of control and software standards have led to more cost-effective, plug-and-play compatibility for great reductions from software programming to hardware costs that range from wiring and maintenance to spare-parts stores.

4. Increased sanitation: Particularly in the food industry, packagers are looking at


sanitation levels more closely than ever before. New laws such as the Food Safety Modernization Act in the U.S. have prompted the design of machines that are more sanitary and easier to clean, reducing or eliminating cracks or crevices that can capture food particles, and streamlining extraneous machine parts that might inhibit cleaning. Suppliers are also upgrading from 304 stainless steel to 316 stainless steel, for the additional resistance to corrosion and staining the higher grade delivers.

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WHY CHOOSE FOR YOUR DRY FILL PACKAGING SYSTEM ?

Auger filling equipment trends and buying tips


Buying advice
When it comes to purchasing auger filling equipment, its critical to make the equipment manufacturer aware of your container or package design as early in the process as possible. A manufacturer may be able to give input into package design that will positively impact line speed. For example, if your container opening is too narrow, increasing it by of an inch may greatly increase filling speeds, as well as provide benefits to the consumer regarding ease of evacuation of the product. To select the right equipment for your application, the filler manufacturer will need to know the target weight and the speed requirements in packages per minute. Accuracy requirements should also be known. These three factorsweight, speed, and accuracyare not always simultaneously achievable. You might need to give up one to get the other.

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Rigorous testing to verify achievement of your most demanding speed and accuracy expectations. Thorough on-site training guaranteeing a seamless system start-up. Professional, positive attitude telephone troubleshooting support with rapid, no excuses on-site service to ensure years of continuous operation and maximum uptime. These are some of the many ways Spee-Dee, for more than three decades, has surpassed the expectations of many highly respected corporations around the globe. Today, were ready to assist your company in achieving, year after year, a more profitable bottom line. NOW is the time to meet Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery. We promise a memorable first impression!

www.spee-dee.com 877-375-2121 262-886-4402

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Auger filling equipment trends and buying tips


Of course, this means that the product you will put in your container is just as important as the container itself. Products that are free-flowing like salt or sugar are handled differently from those that are lumpy or prone to bridging. Density is another factor to measure, and if you dont know it, the machine manufacturer should have the resources and capabilities to account for it. A holistic consideration of package, product, and machine characteristics can speed machine design, testing, and successful implementation of your dry filling line.

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Nine best practices for selecting capping equipment


There are few key things to keep in mind when buying and specifying capping machinery:

1. Know your closure. The tip we heard the most, from both suppliers and end users,
was that you must understand the tolerance of the closure itself and then marry the material tolerance to the machine tolerance. You must completely understand all the geometry, tolerances, and measurements of your closures before you order a machine. For example: What sort of pressure does a snap-on closure take? With a screw-top closure, you might be able to use 20 times more force, but how many times do you have to rotate it? Often, packagers dont take into account the type of closure and balance the application torque and removal torque required by the consumer. Induction sealers add another variable, as they may loosen caps, requiring the addition of a retorquer. Additionally, every closure has a decay time on the removal torque; you need to know the decay time, because it may loosen on the shelf. Know this information and share it with your supplier.

2. Consider both the consumer and the machine. Because the cap has
to interface with both. Consider the size of the bottle opening from both a filling and evacuation standpoint. Also evaluate whether to use a single-closure assembly versus a two- or three-piece cap assembly. The geometry of the package must be considered first, and then you should explore the type of feeding system you need to deliver the closures to the capping machine.

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Nine best practices for selecting capping equipment

3. How will the closure design interface with the machine function?
Before you consider centrifugal sorting bowls, you must know the height and diameter of the part versus the length of the part, as well as the weight bias, to determine if it will sort well, or at all. Other considerations include: Do the sidewalls have paper or not? This makes it more unstable in handling. You must look at this in a very granular fashion; you must know what the natural tendency of a part is before you toss it into a sorting bowl. Its critical to know how the cap design will interface with the machine function. And you have to know that before you apply any sort of force to it. You have to find a way to differentiate shapes in the sorting bowl. Once you know the natural tendencies of a part, you can assist those tendencies through the design of your machinery, and you will achieve more reliable operation when capping and handling. One philosophy is to permit machine function to drive closure designin other words, make sure that the design of the cap is compatible with whats typically available in the way of unscrambling and orientation equipment.

4. Consider future closure flexibility. Like any other packaging machine, try to
anticipate future needs. Capping machines may need to be able to deal with a variety of different types of closures over time. Over the years, cap designs and applications have become increasingly complex: For example, spray-through caps must be oriented with the graphics on the container.

5. Rotary capper considerations. When looking at rotary machines, examine the


number of heads and infeed method (starwheels or screws). A key element to look at is how the cap is applied. Servo-driven chuck applications permit easy changeover to different closure styles. Closure pickup is critical, as is chuck handling. Look at the cappers centering mechanism and any anti-rotation devices to ensure proper closure placement.

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Nine best practices for selecting capping equipment

6. The need for speed. Think about how many heads are required to achieve your
current line speed, and make sure you have the ability to add heads later for higher-speed applications.

7. Examine container handling and stabilizing. For some lighter-weight plastic


bottles, youll need to look at the machine to assess how well it holds the container tightly in place during the capping application and torquing to assure a good seal, especially for food products.

8. Test tolerance variances. Look at what your container and closure suppliers are
providing in terms of both the widest and narrowest tolerances. Test the opposite extremes with one another and see how the machine handles it. Youll obtain valuable insight into how flexible the machine will be with borderline materials.

9. Test known bad inputs. Deliberately feed in the wrong container and the
wrong closure. This is known as induced failure testing. This is part of trying to simulate what happens on the third shift, when operators may be tired and not as aware of their surroundings. What happens if material is loaded in the wrong way? If operators load the wrong caps? Will that break the capping machinery? Better to find out before you buy.

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In-line cappers versus rotary chuck-style cappers


In-line cappers are traditionally cheaper than rotary chuck cappers, which can cost up to 10 times the price. In-line cappers will typically have a smaller footprint than a rotary machine. In many cases, an in-line machine can be mounted over an existing section of bottle conveyor. Finally, in-line cappers typically have lower costs for the additional change parts required to run different sizes of containers and closures. Rotary chuck cappers have much higher speed capabilities than in-line machines. Chuck cappers can be supplied with as many as 40 heads that operate at production speeds from as low as 10 bottles/min to speeds as high as 1,200 bottles/min. (In-line cappers are typically speed-limited to a maximum of 200 bottles/min. In-line cappers are limited in the diameter of cap that can be dependably appliedtypically 28 mm to 70 mm. An In-line capper will generally be limited to applying closures that are round in shape. Chuck-style cappers can apply round, rectangular, square, oval, tapered, and reverse-tapered caps.

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In-line cappers versus rotary chuck-style cappers


Chuck-style cappers have an advantage over in-line machines when applying closures with tamper-evident (TE) bands. The TE band typically has an interference fit with the threads on the neck finish of the bottle. Direct pick-off of these caps by the bottle results in the caps sitting crooked on the bottle finish and generates a high number of cocked caps with in-line machines. A chuck-style capper has a TE cap positively held by the jaws of the chuck, and the TE cap is brought down squarely onto the bottle finish and held securely during its entire application, avoiding the incidence of cocked caps. In addition, the capping head on a chuck-style machine can deliver a downward force (top load) onto the closure as it is being applied. Top load helps force the TE band over the thread finish of the bottle neck to properly engage the threads of the cap with the threads of the neck finish. This article was adapted from a Fowler Products Co. white paper.

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Trends in coding/marking for primary packaging


BY MARTY WeIL A number of trends are shaping the development of coding and marking equipment for primary packaging:

1. Better integration capabilities. While equipment controls have remained


relatively the same, machines have evolved to integrate more effectively across the packaging production enterprise, particularly to ensure that coding on the case ties into the package itself.

2. Triumph of the visual. Not only has packaging become more graphic (see point 4,
next page), but coding equipment has also. Coding suppliers are incorporating better and more colorful touchscreens to help simplify operation, improve productivity, and maximize control. Even ink containers have become more visual: In many cases, bottles have given way to selfcontained cartridges that have meters for easy and more accurate visual assessment of levels.

3. Designed for traceability. Regulatory pressures at multiple levels continue to


increase the need for products to be traceable throughout the distribution chain. The food industry has taken the lead in this effort with the adoption of the Produce Traceability Initiative; it includes an action plan to achieve whole-chain electronic traceability by the end of 2012. Other industries, most notably pharmaceuticals and CPG, are likely to follow suit in the near term.

Source: Domino

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, ,

If my production line stops , our prof it drops . Markem-Imaje , , gets that.

Trends in coding/marking for primary packaging


4. Customer-driven standards. The requirements
that coding and marking equipment must meet are being driven less by manufacturers than by the customers of manufacturers, such as Walmart, Target, and Costco. The way manufacturers are implementing coding and marking equipment depends on their customer mix.

5. Response to harsh environments. In harsh


environments, there is greater variance in stainless steel on bagger machines, but in environments with caustic chemicals, stringent stainless grading is the rule. Also, better bracketry is being used, along with print rollers that are food-grade acceptable.

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Ten tips for buying coding/ marking systems for primary packaging
Even for packaging veterans, coding and marking can be tricky. The equipment is high-tech and high maintenance. It requires an extra dose of operator training, advanced cleaning techniques, and the willingness to periodically update capabilities and analyze their effectiveness. The following practices are recommended to those specifying new or upgraded coding and marking equipment for primary packaging:

1. Know your operation. Careful analysis can make the difference between a successful
coding installation and one that experiences needless downtime, resulting in unhappy customers. Once you know these factors, it will be easier to choose which marking and coding technology is best for your application. Key factors to consider include:

Source: Domino

Types of materials or substrates youll be marking Desired speed of application or throughput Print quality: permanence and readability Up-front investment your company is willing to make
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D-Series Laser Coders


Think small.
Everybody increasingly needs to do more with less. For the new D-Series scribing lasers, small means more flexible. The new i-Tech scan head is beautifully compact and fits where larger ones cannot. The multi-position head makes it much easier to adapt to your production line from any angle, even in the most restricted of spaces. Modular construction includes an option of standard or IP65 casings, and makes the D-Series lasers footprint smaller overall. Altogether a more compact industrial design (and 20% lighter) the new, smaller D-Series is a big improvement all round.

Ten tips for buying coding/marking systems for primary packaging

Whether variable data, graphics, and bar codes are


needed

The distribution cycle characteristics for your packaging


2. Find room on the package, and room on the line. Make certain an area of real estate on the
package is available and accessible to coding and marking equipment during the packaging process. To accomplish this, make sure your packaging line OEM works with your coding supplier early on to ensure all the necessary requirements for integrating the marking and coding equipment are considered. Too often, marking and coding is an afterthought in the line layout, and packagers find themselves scrambling to find an area on the package to mark the variable information, like date and lot number, and an accessible area of the packaging line to accept the marking and coding equipment.

1.800.486.7414

www.domino-na.com

Domino. Do more.

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Ten tips for buying coding/marking systems for primary packaging

3. Know your coding options. Ink-jet doesnt work for logos on a primary package.
Some types of ink-jet technologies dont do bar codes well; use thermal transfer instead for bar-code applications. Specify to the vendor the grade, printing substrate, and printing application. Fully understanding the application will reduce costs and increase coding efficiency. On-demand or preprinted labels? Preprinted labels work for operations that have a volume of identical labels with many colors or complex graphics, because this option saves both time and money. However, to be flexible and responsive to operational changes, ondemand labels can provide a solution for those with variable data.

Ink-jet, laser, or thermal printing? Ink jet works well for printing cartons and product packaging, but is not necessarily ideal for all bar-coding applications. Laser printing works for some bar-code applications, but requires an area to be printed on the label (assuming a white label) that can be burned off to leave the variable information Primary packagingplan to add or switch to these coding methods behind. Its higher up-front costs (compared to ink jet) are offset by the fact that laser printers run longer without issues, are cleaner, and 34% Continuous ink-jet (CIJ) have almost no moving parts. Direct thermal is a simple process that Thermal ink-jet (TIJ) works well with printed labels that have a short shelf life and are not 14% exposed to heat, sunlight, or rough handling. Thermal transfer can Laser 31% handle heat and moisture as well as the vagaries of shipping and Thermal transfer 15% the distribution environment. When looking at the options, dont overprinter (TTO) just consider cost of hardwarethink about costs of supplies and Print-and-apply labelers 19% consumables as well. If you are presenting a prospective supplier Other (please specify) 17% with a challenging application, an online demo of the equipment you are considering is always a wise choice and in most cases will Source: Packaging World Reader Survey January 2013 make your decision much easier.

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Ten tips for buying coding/marking systems for primary packaging

4. Value versatility. How versatile is the coding system? Are you choosing a flexible
solution that enables quick response to new packaging substrates or configurations? Brand owners understand that new and fresh packaging has a direct and positive impact on sales. New packaging configurations are changing faster than ever. Can your coding system adapt?

5. Realize that no machine is an island. Can the coding system youre considering
be integrated for improved efficiency? Historically, coding and marking printers have been purchased and installed as stand-alone devices. Today, automation and integration is increasingly important for improving efficiencies and as a means of reducing errors. For example, packagers are networking coding equipment in their plants, both horizontally and vertically. In other words, they are creating a central command post that manages information not only among production lines, but also among primary, secondary, and tertiary coding systems. The ability to enter a product code one time and have it quicklydownload from product to pallet printing stations can save significant time and reduce message entry errors. There are solutions available today that offer a coding automation platform that provides a modular approach, allowing entry-level investment that can grow into fully automated integrated systems.

6. Find a coding partner. Consider investing some time up front to find a coding
and marking partner and simplify your life. Most plants have multiple brands of printers. This makes managing your printer fleet and coding supplier relationships complex. Large suppliers that can install and service one brand of printers that serves all coding needs (up and down the production line) can make your life easier with coding user interfaces, technical training, and service programsnot to mention one phone number to call for your coding requirements. Obviously this increases sales for the big vendors, but it provides cost and time benefits for packagers as well.

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Ten tips for buying coding/marking systems for primary packaging

7. Know the operating costs. While initial cost is a significant factor, the cost of
ownership has the most impact on budgets over time, as well as effect on the supply chain relative to production. You need to know operating costs: energy, materials, maintenance, repairs, parts replacement, and service. Make sure you understand the impact of all costs before proceeding with a particular supplier.

8. Prepare for future legislation. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will
impose new requirements for machines used in food packaging. You should expect, and require, your machinery vendors to help you meet those requirements. Understanding how your coding supplier is preparing and positioned to meet these requirements can reveal a lot about their seriousness about building long-term partners versus short-term sales.

9. Invest in training. The real barrier to effective coding is knowledge. Make sure all your
maintenance personnel have knowledge of the equipmentnot just one or two people on each shift. See that the vendor-trained personnel, those with really detailed knowledge of the equipment, spread that knowledge to all maintenance and production people on every shift. This investment will pay off in reduced downtime.

Download Survey
Packaging World magazine recently surveyed coding end users about their current and possible future usage of coding technologies. To see the full survey, click here. http://bit.ly/Coding_Survey

10. Take the precautions equipment demands. When dealing with lasers, product
must be well-guarded and people must be protected. You must have a fume-extraction process in place, so whatever youre burning off doesnt stay in the environment. With ink-jet printers, consider self-cleaning options to eliminate problems associated with clogging. System design should be hygienic, preventing foreign materials from adulterating the ink.

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Comparing coding technologies


Continuous Ink Jet (CIJ) and Thermal Ink Jet (TIJ) are the two predominant ink-jet technologies used in primary package industrial coding applications. Laser systems, which have experienced steady increases in adoption over the past 10 years, are offering a third option in industrial coding applications. Thermal Transfer Overprinting (TTO) has found increasing application with flexible packaging. Each technology has an inherent set of operating considerations. When choosing among them, it is useful to consider the strengths of each technology.

CIJ strengths:

It adheres to most packaging materials and can be used on curved surfaces, such as the
bottom of a soda can.
Source: Videojet

It is capable of achieving very high speeds for alphanumeric codes. Many small-character CIJ printers are portable and can be moved from line to line as
needs arise.

The latest generation has significantly improved reliability with decreased maintenance
requirements.

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Comparing coding technologies

Small-character CIJ printers create lot codes, expiration dates, bar codes, and graphics
TIJ strengths:

on a wide variety of primary packaging, while large-character CIJ printers do the same for secondary packaging, such as cartons and corrugated boxes.

Works well on porous and semi-porous materials (e.g., chipboard cartons with an

uncoated printing area). The high resolution (typically 300 dpi or above) makes it an excellent choice when visual appearance of a bar code is important or when used with a camera-based code verification system.

Maintenance is simplified because the print head and ink are contained in a low-

cost, disposable cartridge. In the last few years, significant improvements to ink-jet printers make them cleaner and easier to use, regardless of which technology is being employed.

TIJ printers enable high-speed coding of serialized data and many types of bar codes,
including GS1 DataMatrix, to be compatible with track-and-trace applications.

Advancements in print-head technology include automated cleaning and a perforated


design that reduces ink and debris build-up across the face of the print head.
Source: Videojet

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TIJ printers are inherently clean and easy to use due to their replaceable cartridge

design. As inks become available that are darker and deliver better dry times, and printer vendors offer more rugged industrial designs, TIJ technology is experiencing increased adoption.

Laser strengths:

While requiring a higher initial investment, lasers offer high reliability with minimal It can be used for marking numerical codes, 2D-matrix and bar codes, logos, and
symbols onto labels, sleeves, glass and plastic bottles, cans, kegs, tubes, blisters, cardboards, tubular films, and caps.

maintenance and good print quality. These factors will continue to drive an increased usage of lasers in industrial coding applications.

The advantages of laser coding include speed, versatility, code permanence,

noncontact operation, clean and dry process, maintenance-free operation over thousands of hours, extremely low operating costs, and adaptability to a fully automated line.

Source: Videojet

Lasers also offer high reliability in no-code/ no-run operations. This means that if its
mandatory to code the product prior to distribution, then production will stop if a product is coded incorrectly.

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Comparing coding technologies

Laser coding vendors are often asked about the difference between laser ablation and laser color change. In most cases, the substrate will determine if you need to choose between laser ablation and color change. Most of the applications of a CO2 laser are laser ablation, where the top color is removed, and the color underneath shows through. There are some limited substrates that actually change color when marked with a CO2 laser, with polyvinyl chloride being the most common. CO2 lasers are often engraving what they mark, which can slightly alter the color, as seen with PET bottles. When marking PET bottles with a CO2 laser, the mark turns slightly opaque, which allows it to stand out more. That is, the color does not change, but the material reacts to the laser to cause this effect. YAG lasers perform a color change on most plastics, which is caused by the effect of the 1064-nm wavelength of the YAG laser on the material to be marked. The best way to determine the optimum laser technology for your application is to provide samples to your sales representative, who will advise you of your options.

TTO strengths:

TTO features a thermal transfer print head and ribbon that makes contact with a flexible
substrate, such as synthetic films and plastic labels. Miniature print elements under a glass coating heat small areas of the ribbon and transfer ink to the target substrate.

Print elements are program-controlled to create real-time images, including clean,


high-resolution bar codes, text, and graphics.

TTO systems can address applications in both continuous (moving) and intermittent
(stop-print-start) environments.

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Comparing coding technologies


Primary Packaging - Coding Options Continuous Ink Jet Folding Carton 2 Metal Can 1 Shrink Wrap 2 HDPE Container/ 1 Pouch PET Container/ Pouch Glass Container OPP Container/ Pouch CPP Container/ Pouch BOP Container/ Pouch Paper Container/ Pouch Coated Foil Pouch Foil Pouch 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Laser 1 3 3 2 Thermal Ink Jet 2 3 2 2 Thermal Transfer Overprinter 3 3 3 2 Comments Conduct laser sample testing CIJ most optimal for this substrate Consider TIJ and conduct sample testing CIJ likely best option (for strong TCO and substrate adhesion), but if laser or TIJ work, this could be a good alternative Laser is typically an excellent option CIJ and laser used extensively for glass printing Generally a difficult substrate to mark

1 2 2 2 2 2 1 1

2 3 1 2 2 1 1 2

3 3 2 1 3 2 1 1

Often limited to CIJ coding TIJ may be an excellent option Generally there are many coding options for this substrate It is recommended to conduct sample testing for all applications and substrates

1 - Best fit 2 - Good fit 3 - Not a good fit

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Comparing coding technologies

Typical applications for TTO are within the snack, bakery, meats, and frozen food

industries, where flexible packaging is common. Such packaging also plays a big part in the retail hardware sector, where items like screws, nails, and fittings for do-it-yourself projects are sold prepacked.

Ultimately, when deciding on a coding technology, the strengths of each must be matched with how well it will integrate with other equipment on the line. It is critical to match the production line communications with printer capabilities, as well as ensure that the printer has the ability to process the information and print at the speeds necessary to meet production demands.

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Best practices for specifying conveying and container handling equipment


Despite their importance, conveyors and container handling technologies are often an afterthought. They shouldnt be. Things to consider:

1. Buy the conveyor pre-integrated. When considering a new line, its often
smart to buy the conveyor as part of the machine. If youre buying a packaging machine as a replacement, it might be tempting to retain the old conveyors, but be aware that the match might not be optimal, especially at transfer points. If the machinery builder supplies the conveyor already integrated, it reduces installation costs (versus purchasing a separate conveyor), installation time, and line commissioning of I/O devices. This will also ensure that no stand-alone control cabinet is required and that all variable frequency drives (VFDs) and devices, and the power panel and PLC control panel are assembled onto the conveyor legs and frame. All the information will show up on one screenmotors, alarms, and controllers making things simpler for the operator, technicians, and engineering staff.

2. Understand how your containers behave. You need to consider package


geometry, center of gravity, and mass when specifying conveyors. For example, empty PET bottles act differently under pressure compared to filled bottles; hence the conveying and container handling has different requirements on different stages of the line. Fully

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Best practices for specifying conveying and container handling equipment

understanding your package geometry can also help you avoid excessive back-pressure. When youre feeding a product, excessive back-pressure can force a package into a machine before it is ready. Whether youre feeding, sorting, or unscrambling, back-pressure values are all dependent on the dimensional stability of the package; so, you need to completely understand your package or container spec when asking a vendor to design a starwheel or a timing screw around the package. Everything depends on form and shape. Starwheels are good for certain shaped containers, whereas timing screws are often better for rounded containers.

3. Realize that its all about control of the container. Conveying is rarely, if
ever, just free-flowing product or containers. Proper spacing, position, and orientation must be maintained. The goal is to ensure that product flow can take place within a given footprint. Conveying is not just a means to get something from one machine to the next. You must understand what the next machine can handle. You need to understand the following:

Whether container control may best be achieved by single-file or mass conveying How many lanes should be used Where is the optimal speed How to maintain control at the desired speeds with an unstable container Whether the container needs to be controlled by the neck or the base
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conveying systems stop

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Whether or not control can be maintained if something downstream breaks and Is there adequate clearance and access to easily clear a conveyor of jams? Or will things
slam into each other, lock up your machines, and stop your line? Slower speeds may mean a higher chance of success.

4. Carefully consider unique features and options. Some conveyor


manufacturers offer a simplified change of direction, having integrated features into conveyors that turn packages at a 90-degree angle. Its done with rollers in the conveyor mat top, and you can adjust the direction of the turn to your specific floor space. Similarly, some engineers prefer to have VFDs on every conveyor. Its a great feature, but sometimes that extra hardware is an unnecessary expense. Depending on your product, some things will never need a change in speed. Think about whether the extra VFDs just add unnecessary complexity, or are worth it for future flexibility.

5. Pay close attention to friction, cleats, and changes in elevation. When


conveying unpackaged foodstuffs with vibratory conveyors, it is wise to minimize drops and stick to a general guideline that no drop should ever exceed six inches. Similarly, when conveying delicate product, reduce friction by seeking out the most nonabrasive conveyors. If you bounce your product against redirecting plates, as opposed to a soft landing on other product, you will end up with less good product in the box. Timing screws can offer gentler handling compared to starwheels, and also tend to be more compact.

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6. Consider a robotic solution to product handling. Product handling can be


an ideal robotic application on the packaging line. The most successful applications tend to have these characteristics:

Where the product comes in randomly or not oriented, and must leave in a specific
orientation/order.

Where there is a degree of product variation in size or shape


(example: frozen egg rolls/burritos).

Where there is high changeover and plans for totally new products/packages in the
near future.

7. Look for ease of maintenance. The level of technology involved should be a


factor in evaluating the equipments total cost of ownership, as it can directly affect the type of maintenance required, and the skill level of maintenance personnel. A sometimesoverlooked component of good maintenance is spare parts inventory and equipment documentation. Determining which parts should be kept on-premises can be the difference between a short stoppage and an extended one.

8. Put safety first. Conveyor accidents impact companies in lost productivity, workers
compensation, and even OSHA fines. Safety hazards should be designed out; however, owing to the fact that conveyors have moving parts, there remains an inherent danger. Make use of every safeguard available: Conveyors should have lockouts, guardrails, and other safety features. Pay attention to operator ergonomics such as easy and quick access to emergency

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Best practices for specifying conveying and container handling equipment


stops and speed controls. Not every aspect of safety, however, can be factory-ordered. Your company should have safety policies that include employee training. There are federal government-compiled statistics on industrial accidents, categorized by type of equipment. Its a good reference source to assure that employee training, at the very minimum, addresses the most common causes of conveyor accidents.

AUTOMATION. IT BEGINS FACE-TO-FACE.


Our approach to custom automation solutions is uniquely customer-centricwith a low clientto-engineer ratio, a culture built to tackle your toughest challenges and a production process thats virtually eliminated change orders. The result is an experience you wouldnt expect, and results you never thought possible. So for turnkey solutions to complete line design and upgrades to existing lines, make Conveyor & Automation your choice.

9. Pay attention to sanitation. For food-contact


applications, pay attention to sanitation and cleanability. If youre trying to remove cross-contamination between products, make sure the conveyor belt design doesnt trap particles. For food, beverage, or pharma applications, look for conveyors with a minimum of nooks and crannies that can harbor bacteria and dirt. Verify that if the conveying chain is swabbed, it removes 100% of the product. (That will be especially important for compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act.)

T he Experience Matters

conveyor-automation.com

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Best practices for buffering and packaging line design


BY PAUL Zepf Whether or not to buffer a packaging line ranks right up there with Total Cost of Ownership as one of the most divisive issues pertaining to automated packaging lines. We talked to experts on both sides of the debate, and came up with the following considerations that can help keep your lines moving:

1. Use buffering to add value, not cover weaknesses. Buffering isnt intended
for convenience, or to cover weaknesses in line flow and speed. A buffer may be hiding performance issues upstream or downstream.

2. Higher line speeds require more buffering. The higher the line speed,
the more likely buffers will be required, precisely because the cost of downtime increases commensurately with the number of packages produced per minute. On a line moving 60 items/min, no buffering is typically needed because people can physically offload product to a cart. At around 100 products/min, it may be necessary to install a buffering solution.

3. Buffering smoothes out certain processes. Buffers may also be required for
processes that take time, such as drying packages emerging from a water bath, evacuating air from pouches before filling, or the strict dwell-time and temperature standards of heat pasteurization.

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Best practices for buffering and packaging line design

4. Buffer to close gaps caused by intermittent motion. Indexing machines


and batch processes with gaps in their motion or flow may require buffers, as opposed to the steady stream of continuous processes. Remove bottlenecks by using buffers to mitigate intermittent gaps in flow.

5. Transition from processing to packaging. Some form of accumulation may


be necessary to accommodate quality checks before products are released to packaging. Limiting the number of items on the line at quality checkpoints, however, helps keep the focus on process improvement with minimal accumulation.

6. Consider redundant machines. In an operation where time is money, the cost of


redundant machines may be lower than the losses that result from shutdowns. One option is to use some sort of bidirectional mass-flow buffer; another option may be to install, for example, two labelers running at 50% capacity and split the flow. If one labeler goes down, the other can handle the full flow.

7. Find the lines sweet spot. Some lines run best at breakneck speed; others are
most efficient at a slow and steady pace. Practitioners of the manufacturing and packaging art often make the mistake of setting speeds too high, too close to design specifications. One failure can be disastrous to productivity. Installations vary, but trial and error become evident when you document your results to arrive at the optimal combination of speed and product quality on a balanced line with minimal upsets or downtime. Trained personnel can choose from a wide array of statistical analysis tools to arrive at the right speed for your equipment and overall line.

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Best practices for buffering and packaging line design

8. Calculate appropriate minimum buffer capacity. While there are formulas


that take into account mean time to repair and mean time between failures, a rule of thumb is to set the buffering capacity to be at least the mean time to repair the problem. So if it takes, on average, 10 minutes to fix the average line stoppage, your buffering capacity should be at least 10 minutes. For bagging or wrapping machines, if an auto-splicing option is not purchased, then the mean time to change out the film must be factored into the minimum buffer design.

9. Each line is unique. No two products or even lines for similar products are the same,
so the same buffering system wont necessarily work on every product. Rigid products such as cans can handle back-pressure, but frozen pizzas need more gentle handling, such as an accumulator fitted with multiple lanes and drives to prevent traffic jams, toppling, or stacking and shingling.

10. Let your filler set the pace. In an ideal filling line, the filler, which has been called
the heartbeat of the line, never stops. Because its critical to ensure feed, buffers are often used upstream of the filler.

11. Leave sufficient space between machines. Just as automated lines are often
set to run too fast, machines on automated and highly integrated lines are often spaced too closely to one another. If automation isnt state-of-the-art and fully trusted, plan sufficient space between machines and stations to allow for placement of buffer zones. Remember to include provisions for effective evacuation of nonconforming product at shutdown or start-up cycles of critical machinesespecially fillers and cappers.

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Best practices for buffering and packaging line design

12. Protect against electrostatic discharge. Modern equipment minimizes


electrostatic discharge (ESD), but low humidity as well as machines that are isolated by rubber, plastic, or other nonmetallic parts are prone to static charge. Conveyors are a common source for which special ESD belts or chains can be employed. Often, the fix can be as simple as the addition of a ground wire to connect isolated components.

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How to calculate Overall Equipment Effectiveness: A practical guide


BY PAUL Zepf

OEE Overview and Efficiency versus Effectiveness


There is a lot of confusion out there about OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) and about the words efficiency and effectiveness. Let us look at these things in an objective and clear manner. Is OEE just a nice-to-have? No, it is a simple yet powerful roadmap that helps production floor people and management to visualize and eliminate equipment losses and waste. OEE is not a fad. First of all, OEE has been around for decades in its elemental form. The words efficiency and effectiveness have been around longer, but have only been used in a confused manner in the last decade or so. To start, we have to make a clear distinction between effectiveness and efficiency before we can discuss OEE. Effectiveness is the relation between what theoretically could be produced at the end of a process and what actually came out or was produced at the end of the process. If your machine or system is capable of making 100 quality products an hour, and it makes only

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70, then it is 70% effective, but we do not know how efficient it was, because nothing is said about what we had to put in (how many operators, energy, materials, etc.) to get the 70% effectiveness. So if a machine or system runs 50% effective with one operator and becomes 65% effective with two operators, the effectiveness goes up 30% (yes, 65 is 30% more than 50), but its efficiency dropped down to 50%, based on labor! The same goes for yield, or more commonly known as quality (basically salable product). If you are bottling a beverage, all filled, labeled, and capped bottles could theoretically be perfect, so the quality would be 100%. But if you throw away half the filled bottles because of packaging or material defects, your yield or quality is only 50%. In this example, you would be 100% effective but only 50% efficient.

A simple example
Basically OEE is about (as the name says) effectiveness: It is the rate between what a machine theoretically could produce and what it actually did. So the fastest way to calculate it is simple: If you take the theoretical maximum speed (for example 60 products per minute), you know that at the end of a 480-minute shift, there should be 28,800 units. 1 shift = 8 hours = 480 minutes Maximum production speed = 60 products per minute 480 x 60 = 28,800 units

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Then we need to count what we produced at an end point in the production process such as whats on the pallet going to the warehouse. If there are only 14,400 good products on the pallet, your effectiveness was 50%, right? Not rocket science so far.

The A-P-Qs of OEE


Why does the OEE formula in Figure 1 include availability (A), performance (P), and quality (Q)? What do these words mean, and what value do they bring? Theyll help us find where those other 14,400 products that should have been on the pallet disappeared to.

OEE = Availability x Performance x Quality OEE = B x D x F A C E


Availability

A = Total Operative Mode Time B = Run Time Time Losses


Performance

C = Normal Speed D = Actual Speed dr


Quality

Speed Losses

E = Product Output F = Actual Good Product


Scrap Losses

Figure 1: The simple overview of the elements of OEE and OEE raised the bar and moved how they interrelate in OEE. us away from the traditional efficiency calculation as a measure of production line output that was easily manipulated to show mediocre lines running at efficiencies up to 150%.

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Here is the power of OEE. OEE, when broken into its three main components, is going to track down where we lost it. Every day that we run 50% OEE, we can lose units in different ways, and every loss has its own cost structure. If we lose 14,400 products because the machine ran flawlessly, with no quality loss but at half the maximum speed, thats completely different from producing 28,800 products at full speed, and then dumping 14,400 out-of-spec products into the landfill. Effectiveness is: Making the right thing the right product or SKU at the right speed (Performance) Making it the right way no rework, no defects, no waste (Quality)

 Making it at the right time producing as planned, keeping the machine up and running, minimizing time losses (Availability) So how do we find out what we lost and where? And how do we prevent it from happening in the future?

Availability
Going back to the bottle example, lets track down a normal day. A standard shift takes 480 minutes. Our operators take 10+30+10 minutes in breaks, as well as do two changeovers of 35

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minutes each and lose 60 minutes of machine downtime during the shift. The rest of the time the machine is in the running mode. Breaks = 10 minutes morning + 30 minutes lunch + 10 minutes afternoon = 50 minutes Changeovers = 2 x 35 minutes = 70 minutes Machine downtime = 60 minutes per shift Total = 180 minutes lost time

This means we lost 180 minutes, and there are only 300 minutes left to be effective. Even if we run the rest of the time at full speed with no quality losses, we can never be more than 62.5% effective during this shift. This ratio we call Availability or how time is used. 480 minutes 180 minutes = 300 minutes 300 480 = 62.5% Availability

Lets see how we spent that 62.5% of our time that is available

Performance
Let us also assume our packaging system has an ideal cycle time or takt time of one second per bottle, which is 60 bottles per minute. (Takt time, derived from the German word Taktzeit,

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which translates to cycle time, sets the pace for industrial manufacturing lines.) This means in the remaining 300 minutes, the machine or system can make 300 x 60 bottles = 18,000. So if at the end of this shift, the machine would have made 18,000 bottles during the time it was running, it performed at 100% speed. If production would be at a slower speed, let us say the cycle time would be 1.5 seconds, it would slow down the maximum speed by 2/3, and thus its performance would become 66.7%. The actual output now at 66.7% performance is 12,000 bottles. 300 minutes @ 1 second per bottle = 300 x 60 bottles = 18,000 units 1.5 seconds per bottle = 1 1.5 = 2/3 = 66.7% Performance 66.7% x 18,000 bottles = 12,000 units

How to calculate Overall Equipment Effectiveness: A practical guide

Running at 66.7% performance in this case equates in time to losing another 300 x 33.3% = 100 minutes or the line ran on average 2/3 x 60 = 40 bottles per minute. If at this point, all output would be within specification or salable, what would be the effectiveness? From the 480 minutes, we lost 180 minutes in not running and 100 minutes due to too slow a cycle time; so (480-(180+100))/480 = 41.7% so far. (480 minutes (180 minutes + 100 minutes)) 480 41.7% Efficiency

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Quality

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Whether this is the actual effectiveness depends on how many bottles were within specification. If from the 12,000 bottles, there were 3,000 out of specification, then the quality rate of those bottles was (12,000-3,000)/12,000 = 75%, or converting to minutes would be 3,000 bottles / 60 bottles per minute = 50 minutes lost due to quality. (12,000 3,000 defects) 12,000 = 75% Quality 3,000 bottles 60 bottles per minute = 50 minutes lost Quality

In other words, we lost 180 minutes by not running; from the remaining 300 minutes, we lost 100 minutes by slow running; from the remaining 200 minutes, we lost 50 minutes making scrap. As a result, the line yielded 150 minutes of perfect running at quality and at rate. Theoretically we could make 480 x 60 = 28,800 bottles. At the end, there were 9,000 bottles that were salable, so the Overall Equipment Effectiveness was 31.25%. 9,000 28,800 = 31.25% OEE

Availability (62.5%) x Performance (66.7%) x Quality (75%) = 31.25%

Time equals money


OEE is purely time-based (time converted), but since one takt time equals one bottle, OEE can be calculated in bottles for ease of use. Most operators will not say, Today I ran at a takt

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time of 1.5 seconds, but instead, Today I ran 40 products per minute which is the same thing. Likewise, I stopped for 5 minutes is the same as, I lost 200 potential bottles I should have made. OEE helps to create this kind of awareness; with operators, with engineers, with logistic departments, and with anybody else involved in the value-adding process. It gives a common language to everybody involved in manufacturing and leads to effective and efficient improvements.

The straightforward approach to OEE


OEE and its basic approach have been around for decades in other industries and have recently moved into the packaging area. Although the concepts are fairly simple, their definitions and application have varied considerably, preventing any ability to use them as benchmarks and performance tools within and between plants, let alone between companies. The idea is to present a common definition and straightforward spreadsheet format to bring about a clear, common approach.

A practical definition of OEE


OEE is the Overall Equipment Effectiveness of a defined production process during the defined operative period or mode in which all activities related to production, personnel, and inputs are accounted for during all producing or dependent activities within a defined scheduled time or operative mode time. The defined production process is the start and end boundary under review, such as depalletizing to palletizing, or making it through to warehousing.

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How to calculate Overall Equipment Effectiveness: A practical guide

OEE is defined as the product or cost function or interplay of all availability or uptime of the operative mode multiplied by the performance or actual resultant production speed (from actual dialled rate and ramping rates) divided by the normal or steady-state speed and then multiplied by the quality or the output of quality product divided by the input of the critical component or aggregate of all the inputs (components consumed, lost, reworked, destroyed, or unaccounted for during the production process). For a diagram, please refer back to Figure 1. Quality is a fraction that is 1 minus the waste (waste and rework). Rework is usually considered within quality, but is the most difficult to segregate out. Quality does not typically relate to defective components not staged to the production line, but once staged to the production line, they have to be considered. This forces out pre-checks, because once it hits the production line, there are time and impacts to the ongoing production process such as removing and replacing staged defective products, materials, and supplies.

Scope of analysis
Although OEE could be done on a machine-by-machine or product-by-product basis or a shift-by-shift basis, it is usually the amalgamation of one weeks or one months production of a given size and product (by machine or line), because looking at smaller slices may not give statistically relevant data for decision making. Trends or specific comparisons could be done, along with looking at a months worth of production runs of the same product, family of products, or extremes of product sizes and formulations.

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How to calculate Overall Equipment Effectiveness: A practical guide

Looking at less than 10,080 minutes (one week) of operating time is not significant in and of itself for decision making, but may be adequate for trends and verifications of a decision implemented earlier to ensure positive directions or to ensure the anticipated results are being achieved. The reason for this definition of operative mode is to capture all activities required to ensure the production process could be carried out. Some companies in the past hid their changeover, PM, holidays, training, and cleaning by doing it in the so-called unscheduled production time or dumping it on a particular off time, but really it is part of the nature of the production process. The production scheduled time is the time period in which allotted defined products are to be produced, but process-dependent activities or situations must be done or considered beforehand (such as holidays) to ensure the schedule can be met or be reasonable. The calendar hours or calendar time are the sum of operative mode activities and potential mode activities that make up a week (10,080 minutes) or month (average 43,800 minutes) or defined period in which the asset as a functioning production element exists in the plant. If any asset is removed from the process in such a way as to make the process for a given product not viable then the expected OEE number is considered zero. This also applies to product recalled from the market that is reworked or scrapped. A total recall in reality yields zero OEE for the period that produced the recalled product. A partial recall will only deal with the loss of the defined lot or batch within the total, but will depress the OEE for that period considerably.

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Any scheduling and labor considerations are considered integrated within OEE. One could expand out from OEE with other ratios such as schedule capability, in which labor and scheduling times are evaluated and their interplay is calculated as ratios or costs to operations, but OEE keeps a top-line view that fits for the vast majority of industries and conditions in a simple but powerful way. High OEE numbers are indicative of high schedule fulfillment and optimized labor. Schedule fulfillment and optimized labor are a byproduct of the optimized process. OEE is the roadmap for insight, direction, and verification of all other activities such as continuous improvement, lean, Six Sigma, and upper-level accounting information. It gives the correct window in viewing the Cost of Quality.

OEE and the Cost of Quality


The Cost of Quality isnt the price of creating a quality product or service. It is the cost of not creating a quality product or service. (For details visit the ASQ American Society for Quality.) Every time work is wasted, there is a loss that results in the Cost of Quality escalating. When talking about waste, we can define or look at many definitions, variations, or types of wastage such as: waste of waiting, over-production, inventory or work-in-process, transport, motion, input defects, producing defective products, unnecessary process steps, and delaying. In looking at operations, OEE simply gives the clear and powerful picture-window view of the ability to sustain quality production or how Availability (time), Quality (good product), and Performance (speed) interact. The losses portion is the fraction of the time that is lost due to

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the inability of the production process to be consistent and under control. These losses relate to time down or downtime, rate losses in the process, and the scrap and rework generated during the operative mode. The operative mode is not only the planned scheduled production time, but that time that encompasses the nature of the production process and its supporting activities that are connected, dependent, or required to be done to ensure the timely production of the scheduled product. This means that apportioned preventive maintenance, changeovers, cleaning, and/or sanitizing are included.

The concept of downtime as understood in availability


For simplicity and order, the downtime of any machine or system can be divided into two parts: planned downtime events and unplanned downtime events. Planned events can be defined as those events in which no output of salable product results and which management has control over the timing and extent of the activity, mandates them, or the countrys regulations define part or all of them. Holidays are always mandated activities dictated by management, government, or both. One could argue that holidays should be left out, but that is incorrect, since it is a management decision to not use that time during a normally operative mode, and it is not proper to slip it into the potential mode.

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One can break down planned events into as many categories as one likes. Beware, when holidays are included in the analysis, some days or weeks or months will show depressed numbers and need to be highlighted. Because of this, there is a tendency to not include them. But one should include them as they happen. One can break down unplanned events into as many categories as one likes, but the most common ones are the unit ops or machines. The unit ops could be further subdivided into primary and secondary machines, zones, faults, etc. Primary machines (PM) are unit ops that are capital equipment that have a direct involvement in assembling the package, such as unscramblers, rinsers, fillers, cappers, labelers, cartoners, case packers, palletizers, etc. Secondary machines (SM) are minor unit ops that convey, manipulate, collate, inspect, code, or mark the package, such as conveyors, combiners, dividers (when separate from a primary unit op), coders (laser, ink-jet, impression, etc.), checkweighers, X-ray, Gamma inspection, independent fill, cap or label detection, and rejection units (independent of the major unit op, etc.) Most companies, especially companies with no or poor ability to identify unplanned downtimes or losses, should use the OEE macro analysis and use the lumped or aggregate estimate number until improved data acquisition approaches the estimate number. All times should be in minutes not hours, with precision down to a tenth of a decimal, for a more granular view of the problem.

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One can also look at unit ops as VE (value enabling), VA (Value Producing or Value Added), and NVA (no value added, such as a conveyor that simply needs to get product from point A to point B without inducing any quality defects).

A proven technique in manufacturing comes to packaging


Typically OEE is confined to the production or packaging process, but it does not need to be. Making, distribution, etc. could be included or viewed separately, but the boundaries must be clearly defined and the approach standardized across all lines and plants. Exercise caution when using and/or comparing intercompany OEE values because they maybe useless if the boundaries are different. In fact, OEE was embraced by manufacturing industries, from automotive to electronics, long before it trickled down to packaging. It is a proven technique, with extensive resources available in the marketplace, and a useful methodology that can be applied to the smallest operation with manual data collection to the largest organization with sophisticated OEE software tools and automated data acquisition systems. And OEE is one of the major applications justifying the investment to implement PackML.

Download Presentation
World Class Benchmarks Zarpac Packaging developed a presentation on World Class Packaging, benchmarks, keys to success and ways to lower costs and boost productivity. http://bit.ly/World_Class_Pkg

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Trends and drivers for machine vision technology


Machine vision is heating up. It can perform more tasks than ever before, and do them better. Here is how machine vision is impacting packaging:

1. When size goes down and power goes up, performance benefits. Due
to miniaturization and advances in the power of digital signal processors (DSP), imaging sensors, and decoding algorithms, traceability applications such as ID code reading, text verification, label inspection, and mark quality assessment can now be accomplished more economically by inspection systems.

2. New requirements are driving new technology. Facing increased regulations


in the coming years to fight counterfeiting and improve food and drug safety, major pharmaceutical and food manufacturers have put traceability at the top of their agenda. Most of them uniquely code each lot or batch to identify time and location of production to make recalls more efficient and less costly. But this is not sufficient to meet the increased regulations of the future that will involve traceability, serialization, and authentication requirements. Whether implementing traceability at the batch level or using serialized packaging to support full traceability (for initiatives such as e-pedigree in the pharmaceutical industry or other regulatory requirements), producers must deploy a broad range of technology and software

Source: Cognex

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Trends and drivers for machine vision technology


platforms, spanning all levels, processes, and systems. At the highest levels, enterprise systems typically interface between the supply chain and plant-level systems; at the machine level, inspection system technology is used for applications such as bar-code reading, text verification, mark quality assessment, label inspection, and general machine vision functions. Beyond supporting compliance, producers are discovering that inspection systems deliver value in being able to stop counterfeiting, prevent parallel trade through unauthorized channels, and achieve greater visibility into how products are made, distributed, and used across supply and value chains. In the CPG sector, suppliers are adding to this momentum. General Mills, Sara Lee, ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods, and other major consumers of food packaging have formed the Food Safety Alliance for Packaging (FSAP). This consortium seeks to minimize mislabeling and is largely focusing its efforts on suppliers of labels and direct-print food-contact materials such as carton board and plastic films.

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Washing Sterilizing Filling Liquid/Powder Stoppering Capping Checkweighing Accumulating.Unscrambling Trayloading FAT/IQ/OQ/SAT/PQ Validation Protocols

Trends and drivers for machine vision technology


3. The use of vision technology is spreading.
Vision is being used in more places throughout the manufacturing process, particularly with the application of small, distributed cameras. By using vision throughout the production process, problems can be identified at the source, reducing waste and cost while improving response time. A snapshot of todays applications includes:

Precision + Versatility
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Confirming package and product match, lowering


risk of recall

Reducing scrap by detecting wrong or mislabeled


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Checking for torn or missing labels Reading 1D and 2D bar codes, enabling track-and-trace Verifying print integrity, ensuring brand imaging on
store displays

Visit us online at www.cozzoli.com

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Detecting products damaged in operations such as cartoning Checking date code presence Ensuring that ink-jet printers are functioning properly Performing date and lot code OCR and OCV, verifying that product information is
correctly printed, and that labels are placed on the right products

Providing guidance for robotic actuators Gauging Checking for roundness and conformity Providing shape-based orientation
4. The PC-based versus smart camera vision debate continues. Generally,
todays vision systems are divided into two groups: PC-based and smart camera. Key differentiators between the two include architecture, cost, capability, and development environment. The primary architectural difference between PC-based vision systems and smart camera vision systems is one of centralized versus distributed processing. PC-based systems generally multiplex industrial cameras from a single processor to distribute vision at multiple points on the production line. Smart camera systems combine distributed processing with high-speed networking to provide highly scalable systems. Both approaches

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have advantages. PC-based machine vision systems provide great flexibility in the number of options users can select (e.g., line scan or area scan camera). They are easily used with thirdparty software, and tend to offer more power and speed due to sophisticated processors. PC performance increases with each boost in processor speed, which makes new PC-based vision systems well suited for the most complex or mathematically intensive applications. However, because PC technology changes so rapidly, its not as easily replicated as off-the-shelf smart cameras. Smart camera systems cost less to purchase and implement than their PC-based counterparts. They are simpler to operate, maintain, and integrate into the manufacturing environment. As they are less complex than computers, they are also more reliable, with fewer components presenting operational risk.

5. Its a more colorful, detailed world. The depth of color vision tools is
empowering packagers. Newly available color vision systems are entry-level in terms of price only. They are not one-tooled sensors, but highly capable smart systems with all the abilities of their monochrome counterparts, plus specialized ones. A further advance is the shift to higher resolution, which is prompting many users to tackle more challenging inspection applications.

6. Simplicity is a priority. Continuing to improve ease of use is something that all


companies making inspection systems will continue to focus on. That (and entry-level pricing) is attracting new customers and opening up new applications. User interfaces are being made simpler and easier with icons, multilingual help text, and one-button operations for functions such as learning a product. The more inspection system vendors reduce the learning curve, the more they lower the cost of deployment.

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7. The use of Ethernet is accelerating. Inspection systems generate an enormous


amount of process information, compared to many other factory-floor devices. As a result, they are one of the driving technologies accelerating the use of Ethernet on the plant floor. Users needed to move the large images and data files, so they turned to Ethernet because most had some in-house expertise with it at the corporate IT level. Today, Ethernet is a key enabler for those using inspection systems on the factory floor. Many systems offer built-in Ethernet networking capabilities that can link multiple sensors across the factory, integrate software for managing inspection activity remotely, and share emerging inspection information at all levels of an organization.

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Best practices in specifying vision systems


The following practices are for specifying machine inspection or automated identification systems:

1. Consider the following questions when evaluating specific smart camera vision system features:

Does the vision system make it easy to set up applications, create custom operator
interfaces, and administer vision system networks?

What is the importance of parts location tools, and how can you assess their
performance?

Does the vision system have a complete set of image preprocessing tools? What are character reading and verification capabilities? How can you determine the repeatability of a vision systems gauging tool?  ow do you evaluate industrial code reading tools and what are some specific H
features to look for?

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Best practices in specifying vision systems

What networking and communications features are included? What should you know about vision system accessories such as lights, communications
modules, and operator interface panels?

Does the vision system vendor offer a wide range of hardware options? Are they rugged
enough for your environment? Does the vision system supplier provide the support and learning services you need?

2. Choose a system that supports the complete set of standard networking protocols, including:

TCP/IP client/server to enable inspection systems to easily share results data with other
systems and control devices over Ethernet without any code development.

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) for immediate reception of e-mails on PCs or cell
phones when a problem occurs on the production line.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to allow inspection information to be stored on the network
for later analysis.

Telnet, an Internet standard protocol that enables remote login and connection
from host device.

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Best practices in specifying vision systems

DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) to allow an inspection system to

automatically receive its network IP address from a server, enabling true plug-and-play performance.

DNS (Domain Name Service) to assign each system a meaningful name, instead of
having to use a numeric IP address, easing identification and use for personnel.

3. Consider the total plant topography. To integrate with PLCs, robots, and
other automation devices in the plant, the inspection systems must also support Industrial Ethernet protocols such as EtherNet/IP, EtherCAT, PROFINET, MC Protocol, and Modbus TCP; Fieldbus networks, including CC-Link, DeviceNet, and PROFIBUS; and RS-232 and RS-485 serial protocols.

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Metal detection, X-ray, and checkweigh trends


These systems are getting more advanced and useful all the time. Heres a quick rundown on where the technology stands today:

1. Metal detectors are increasing sensitivity and reducing false rejects.


For metal detection, recent innovations increase sensitivity and reduce false rejects. Specifically, coil (transmitter and receiver) designs have been expanded or optimized, and digital signal processing has been improved to remove noise and product effects.

2. X-ray is a fast mover. As a newer technology being adopted by more customers


every year, X-ray inspection is innovating faster than other inspection technologies. This is because of its ability to find more than metal contaminants as well as contaminants in packages made of metal (cans, metallized film pouches, foil trays). The X-ray source is constantly being advanced by putting the complete generation system in a single box called a monoblock. This improves the cost, quality, and reliability while making replacement simple. X-ray detectors are also evolving to be more sensitive to changes and to have finer pixel pitch to produce higher-resolution images. X-ray image processing software is also constantly becoming better through the invention of new algorithms to find small, hard-tofind contaminants in complex pictures.

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Metal detection, X-ray, and checkweigh trends


3. Cost and accuracy innovations enhance checkweighers. Using a single controller to weigh
multiple lanes of product has improved the costeffectiveness of checkweigher systems. In addition, highaccuracy pharmaceutical checkweighers can mark and verify DataMatrix codes to track and trace these products through the complete logistics system, preventing counterfeiting and aiding in inventory tracking and product recalls.

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4. Inspection as a standardized platform. The


trend in product inspection is to have platform products that are configurable, upgradable, and standardized. This way, systems can be moved from line to line or factory to factory with few if any changes. This will meet the needs to reconfigure frequently to increase production in a particular area or start up a new product. Completely customized systems are becoming less popular and desirable for this reason.

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Best practices in specifying inspection systems


The following practices are recommended to those specifying inspection equipment:

1. Demand interchangeability. Make sure all the inspection equipment matches.


Oddball machines can throw a wrench into the works. Typically, several employees really know the equipment. Consider that tribal knowledge. Tribal knowledge of that oddball piece of equipment is more rare than water in the Sahara; interchangeability helps ensure you wont have to rely on it for survival. Can the data from one machine be transferred to other equipment? Can it stop upstream and downstream modules? External signaling with other equipment may be a requirement.

2. Check, and then check again. Have the operators check inspection equipment
on a regular basis. QAS forms are in place for things they should check hourly; these checks are critical. Operators should be filling out quality assurance sheets all the time, tracking and tracing according to your regimen. Then you can consult the forms and see when there was a problem, or when one began. At times, you may run production without certain things or machines; if the operator doesnt quite test correctly, you will be able to see that. So test and retest all the time.

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Best practices in specifying inspection systems


3. Proper spacing is essential. For checkweighing,
make sure you can space the products appropriately coming into the machine; this will assure your ability to weigh them properly. If you do not have control of your products, they wont be weighed properly or will be falsely rejected because the equipment cant read them properly. Conveyance speeds for inspection should be matched and rated to product flow to avoid a bottleneck. Make sure you select a checkweighter that can handle the pitch (i.e., the distance between packages) your business requires.

4. Size your apertures correctly. In metal


detection applications, make sure your aperture is the right size. Do your research, or it can impact the sensitivity or readings and create too many false rejections. With the wrong aperture size, you wont get the inspection you expect from your equipment. Metal detectors are not onesize-fits-all.

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WHY CHOOSE FOR YOUR DRY FILL PACKAGING SYSTEM ?

Best practices in specifying inspection systems


5. Isolation and vibration control are additional keys to good metal detection. The
environment is key to metal detection. Recycled cases, cartons, and overwraps may have tramp metal in them, so the metal detector doesnt know if it is reading the product or the package. What often happens is recalibration of detectors, resulting in tolerances larger than they should be and distorted pass readings just to get materials through. This doesnt protect the consumer as it should, and places operations at risk for the sake of expediency.

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6. If what youre looking to see doesnt float, X-ray may be your answer. X-ray is very good at
inspecting things that dont float. Theres a misconception that X-rays see everything. X-ray inspection is not suited for seeing wire ties or plastic tubing. X-ray does well with glass; it can see stainless and all metals the same. The technology has come a long way; it is much more reliable and less sensitive to heat and dust than it used to be, as well as much cheaper. Today, X-ray inspection systems cost a third to a half of what they did 15 years ago.

www.spee-dee.com 877-375-2121 262-886-4402

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Best practices in specifying inspection systems

7. Educate operators. Companies must educate the operators about the amount of
X-ray to use in inspection, as its effects compare to being in the sun. Make sure they just dont stick their heads in the machine; its not inherently dangerous, but education is needed about proper levels. Operators need to know its safe, or else theyll call OSHA. You dont want that.

8. Consider all scenarios. How does your machine handle a stream of rejects (e.g., 15 in
a row)? Does it cause a jam, or jam up downstream? Think about a scenario where you reject a significant amount of product; does your equipment have built-in sensors to let operators know theres a stream of rejects? It should.

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Trends and tips for specifying induction sealing equipment


Here are some recent trends in the area of induction sealing equipment.

1. The equipment has gotten smaller and more efficient. As a result, the
power needed to achieve a good induction seal has lessened. The use of cut screens has also made them faster. Advances in the power supplies also mean that higher line speeds can be achieved.

2. Anti-counterfeiting and tamper evidence still drive improvements.


Pharmaceutical manufacturers are most concerned with counterfeiting. So their seals are getting more sophisticated, with graphics and holograms to indicate tampering and/or counterfeiting.

3. Prices on user-friendly seals will come down. There are some newer
induction seals that are easier to remove, due to an added tab; this is growing in popularity. Consumers appreciate the ease of use, but these seals are expensive, costing upwards of an additional half a cent apiece, when compared to the cost of a standard, non-tabbed inner seal. But the emergence of new suppliers could ease pricing pressure. Suppliers within the U.S. are growing steadily, and globally they are multiplying dramatically.

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Here are three buying tips for specifying induction seal equipment:

Trends and tips for specifying induction sealing equipment

1. Know the major container factors. The two major factors to consider when
specifying an induction sealer are the size of the cap, and the speed of the production line. If it is a food application, a wash-down enclosure may be necessary. Other factors to consider are the type and composition of the container, the type of inner-seal material, and the type of product.

2. Consider your power supply. What size power supply is best for your application?
There appears to be a misconception concerning the relationship between the kilowatt ratings of induction sealing systems and sealing capability. While it is true that a higher kilowatt rating generally means a more powerful system, this doesnt necessarily result in higher sealing rates. Kilowatt rating is only part of the equation. The real secret to creating efficient and consistent seals consistently is the energy transfer from one part of the system to the other. Dont focus solely on kilowatts as a measure of high sealing rates.

3. Talk to allied suppliers. Talk to suppliers of closures, bottles, or induction inner-seal


materials; theyre constantly in the field and will know if a machine has a good reputation.

4. Know when a tamper-evident shrink band would be a better choice.


Tamper-evident describes the process that makes unauthorized access to a protected package easily detected. Tamper-evident bands provide package benefits such as on-thespot visual confirmation that the product is secure; printability with information, logos, bar codes, or other marketing-related materials; and the ability to cover inconsistent fill levels or unappealing product separation. The downside of tamper-evident banding is that it

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Happens

What

When We Dont Conserve The Earths Resources?

Trends and tips for specifying induction sealing equipment


does not provide an oxygen barrier between the outside environment and the product, as an induction seal does. Shrink banding is simply a deterrent for tampering. Induction sealing controls the internal atmosphere of the package. So, if a product is sensitive to oxygen, induction sealing would be the preferred method. Additionally, the induction liner is a hermetic seal that provides a moisture barrier that prevents product from drying out. Induction inner seals protect moisture-sensitive products, such as pharmaceuticals, from absorbing moisture, which can deter their effectiveness. Often, packagers will use both a tamperevident shrink band and an induction inner seal.

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Ten financial justifications for new equipment


BY PAUL Zepf Financial justifications for new equipment come in two varieties: hard and soft. Focus on the hard justifications, which will require you to provide data to demonstrate a return on investment. Then back it up with additional soft justifications for which you dont have data but which support clear benefits. For example, you may be able to provide three hard justifications that will generate more than $590,000 in savings over a three-year period. Then you may be able to pick out seven other soft justifications for which you cant produce data. You should never try to justify a project solely on soft justificationsat most companies, there are too many accountants who will require hard justifications. Be sure to include cost avoidance, not just cost savings, in your justifications.

1. Reduction/elimination of excessive maintenance costs. Even if you track


the cost of breakdowns, repairs, and maintenance to keep an older machine going, the math sometimes doesnt justify a replacement machine. The key in looking at maintenance costs is to take a take holistic view of costs over the life cycle of a given machine. And maintenance costs, including costs of spares, vary widely in given applications and given environments.

2. More sales due to more uptime. You can only realistically use this justification if
youre selling 100% of what you make, youre maxed out in shifts, and if its indisputable that any marginal additional amount you can produce also will be sold.

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Ten financial justifications for new equipment

3. Reduced work periods, shifts, and overtime. This is tricky due to the nuances
in separating fixed costs that you incur anyway (overhead, lighting, rent, etc.) from variable costs (hourly workers staffing the line). Also, by eliminating downtime you may not actually reap as much savings as you thought because you arent necessarily going to send people home and save that money.

4. Full depreciation at the end of its useful life. At the end of the depreciation
period, the justification is that you need a new machine to remain competitive. Some engineers have found more success with this justification versus relying on justifications related to downtime or maintenance costs.

5. Flexibility for the future. Financial justifications must acknowledge the fact that
packaging itself now changes so frequently, it requires machinery that can satisfy not only the current project but package designs yet to be created. In other words, flexibility can be its own justification.

6. Material savings. If you switch to a machine that will enable the running of a different
or thinner material, the material savings can partially justify the investment in new equipment. You must be able to support this with in-in-depth analysis of potential efficiencies.

7. Less rework. This has associated costs in labor, space, scrap, and material disposal,
and the time lost to produce product that needs rework versus producing good product the first time.

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Ten financial justifications for new equipment

8. Keep scope in check. Scope creep can render all prior financial justifications useless.
Ensure that critical success factors are fully vetted during the financial justification process.

9. Take the long view. Once financial justification is agreed upon, it needs to be held
accountable. Often projects are justified, but a year later, its discovered that the goals were never achieved. From scrap reduction to labor savings or whatever the anticipated objective was, you need to ensure those dollars come to fruition.

10. Total cost of ownership (TCO). The topic of TCO is among the most provocative
of any in this Playbook. Some CPGs swear by it, some swear at it, and some use it as part of a process. TCO is a great concept that doesnt get implemented well probably 80% of the time, says one CPG engineer. While its easy to quantify acquisition and installation costs, its a different story when it comes to maintenance or sustainability. The fact that theres no standard, accepted metrics for these can make true TCO difficult. Another CPG engineer provides a contrarian view of any attempt at estimating a TCO up front: You can make up whatever kind of number you want on a new machine; its crap on top of BS, its all based on assumptions. TCO only works after five years, when you look at an installed asset and compare it to an installed asset someplace else over the same time period.

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Best practices for specifying packaging machinery


BY DAVId HOeNIG There are a number of basic best practices that should be observed when buying packaging machinery of any stripe:

1. Document and discuss your requirements. Every machine purchase should


start with an in-depth user-specification requirement so that no gray areas can slow or stall the equipment-building process. CPGs sometimes neglect to spend time conferring with suppliers on certain critical functionality aspects, and sometimes such aspects dont necessarily make it into the specs. Not only is it a good idea to document all of the details, but its also crucial to follow up with frequent teleconferences and checks. Some experts believe its important to project-manage the supplier and machine buildout, going so far as to get dates and the names of the people on the suppliers staff who are responsible for hitting those dates.

2. Get operators and technicians involved early on. Cross-functional teams are
often composed of employees who are too far removed from the production floor. While the executives will, and should, eventually make the call on a specific machine, the input from the operators, technicians, and mechanics (as well as the container, film, or material suppliers), can prevent missteps resulting in having to refabricate parts halfway through a project. One technique to involve line-level personnel is to hang the blueprints up in the break room for weeks before you actually purchase equipment for a brand new line. The operators can take ownership, be involved, and make notes right on the blueprintsand their specific

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Best practices for specifying packaging machinery


knowledge of the floor space can be extremely insightful, and not readily apparent to someone who doesnt spend eight hours a day there.

3. Flexibility of equipment for other applications. Dont assume youre developing


requirements just for one particular package. Marketing will most likely come knocking a year later with a request to go to a different package size. All of your assumptions in the beginning are no longer valid, and suddenly, your equipment has limited capabilities. Youll be at fault because you didnt think about whats coming next. People put in high-speed lines that are not flexible enough to change: Suppose a consumer unit changes from a 12-pack to a six-pack; somehow you need to get more throughput to makes sixes or fours in the same machine, so you need to use more foresight when specifying equipment.

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, ,

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Best practices for specifying packaging machinery


4. Dont just replicate what youve done before.
Doing so may be easier, more comfortable, and less risky, but you wont be exposing yourself to new technologies and new vendors that may give your package and operation significant cost and time-to-shelf advantages. But, especially if its a new piece of machinery, something you never had before, make sure maintenance has all the documentation they need.

5. Dont fall in love with technology. The


machinery you specify ultimately depends on what the product is: Leave your engineers hat behind and think like a businessperson. If you specify machinery purely as an engineer, you may be prone to fall in love with a cool technology. But if you think like a businessperson, youll find the right tool for the problem. And thats not necessarily the cheapest machine, but the one that works best for your product. The idea that one piece of machinery is good enough because it comes with a lower price tag, or an extremely lower price tag, can really create problems. By trying to save money up front, you end up spending more due to machine downtime, poor support and parts

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availability, poor accuracies, material waste (product and packaging materials), and so on. Buy the equipment that is right for your product.

6. Determine speed requirements. This really breaks down into multiple


componentsthroughput (nominal, jog, surge) as well as the conveyor speed. Devise two speed requirements: the speed required to produce enough product for the initial launch, as well as the speed required for ongoing production. The overall strategy in approaching this is the balance between short and long term. Try to build in excess capacity (15% is a rule of thumb) for future growth. Specifying speed requirements for machines can be dicey and is subject to many conflicting opinions. If the first machine should run X, and the next runs 15% more, the next runs 15% more, by the time youre at the end of the line, that machine is really running more than twice as fast as it needs to. And vendors tend to overstate what the machine can do. If a machine is supposed to run 30 cases a minute, it may actually run 26 really well. So the machine becomes a bottleneck at 30. If you need 30, consider designing it for 35. Running a machine slightly less than what its designed for usually yields consistent and reliable operation.

7. Put cost in proper perspective. When initially canvassing vendors, dont


eliminate a machine based on cost. One manufacturers price may include more options relative to the other manufacturers. Also, dont automatically choose the lowest-cost machine, because you may pay an additional price later on in reliability. Initial cost pales into insignificance when you consider all these other questions: How willing and able are they to customize the machine to your needs? Every plant is different, can they adjust to that? Do you have dirty air, flour everywhere; can they adjust to your system, your

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environment? How willing are they to do that? In short, many experts feel that buying machines on price is a bad idea; its an important criterion, but it is not even in the top five. You may end up spending more money in the long run modifying an inexpensive machine or getting it to work in your application.

8. Conduct ongoing risk assessments. An underutilized best practice is to


revise your risk assessment throughout the project, perhaps on a monthly basis. The act of continually questioning where things might go wrong may not avert every problem. But having thought through potential pitfalls and having contingency plans in place better prepares you for when problems do crop up.

9. Dont skimp on training. Consider sending production people to the vendors


factory for in-depth equipment and safety training, during or even separate from the Factory Acceptance Test. Not only does it pay off in the end, but it can also provide the equipment manufacturer with more feedback to design better equipment and operator interfaces. Its also critical to schedule follow-up training, either to reinforce certain things after the equipment has been running for a time or to address issues that have cropped up. Be sure to specify both types of training as part of your requirements. Its key to have trainers with real-world, in-plant experience. The best training curriculum includes a combination of both classroom and on-floor tutorials.

10. Plan for spare parts. Make sure that your specifications include the identification of
common wear parts and that your vendor guarantees their ability to stock them in-house.

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Best practices for specifying packaging machinery


11. Pay attention to service contracts. Also be
sure to establish good preventive maintenance practices and schedules to minimize downtime.

12. Dont force the vendor into a corner.


Do not make the vendor promise something they cant deliver. Some vendors are tempted, even with the best of intentions, to agree to conditions that both parties know arent realistic. It only sets up both parties for failure down the road.

13. Consider outsourcing versus in-house.


You dont have to install a production line for every new product, particularly if the longevity of that product is far from clear. Ask whether someone else, such as a contract packager, can do this project better, or cheaper, than you, saving you the capital investment. Other considerations are whether the launch window is extremely tight, or whether this project makes the best use of existing plant space that might be better used for another project.

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Vendor evaluation methodology for packaging equipment


BY PAUL Zepf When evaluating packaging machinery suppliers, its important to follow a disciplined methodology to eliminate as much subjectivity as possible. What follows is an Intermediate Vendor Evaluation Analysis methodology that is well-suited to critical packaging machines such as fillers, labelers, case packers, etc. Broadly, the process breaks down into four phases:

1. Canvass the field. Before you put together your Request for Quote (RFQ) document,
take some time to broadly canvass the field of suppliers and look at options, getting a rough idea of prices and capabilities. A simple checklist of requirements will suffice at this stage. Youre just looking for a rough guidedont hold them to it without furnishing a formal RFQ.

2. Write your requirements document and RFQ. Put together a detailed


requirements document of what the project will require, and use that as the basis for the RFQ. Its critical to have everyone on your cross-functional team review the RFQ before it goes out to the vendor, to ensure that it addresses areas important to each team member.

3. Issue the RFQ. Youll want to issue your RFQ to ideally three, but no more than six,
packaging suppliers. With the responses you get back, rate them using the Intermediate Vendor Evaluation Analysis spreadsheet tool (see download link, next page).

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Vendor evaluation methodology for packaging equipment

4. Conduct the Intermediate Vendor Evaluation Analysis. When you get


quotes back from vendors, rate their responses and plug them into the Intermediate Vendor Evaluation Analysis spreadsheet. Make sure your entire cross-functional teams input goes into the scoring procedure! This can be achieved either by everyone sitting around a table and achieving a group consensus score-by-score, or by having each team member score the vendor quotes separately, and then compare resultswhichever works best for your team. This team scoring approach is especially critical if the machine or technology is a first-time buy. The Intermediate Vendor Evaluation Analysis spreadsheet tool separates the assessment of the machine builder from the machine. The tool rates each vendor across seven key areas, including prior experience, manufacturing capability, engineering and project management, company management, support, delivery, and references. Use the bottom tab to select a second worksheet that allows the rating of the actual machine itself across nine key areas, including technical risk assessment, throughput, reliability and maintenance, changeover, machine design, ergonomics, operator interface, safety, and cost. You can alter any of criteria within these sections to be more specific to your company or to the type of machine that you are evaluating.

Download Spreadsheet

Simple Vendor Evaluation Analysis http://bit.ly/intermediate-vea

To mitigate against the tendency of giving a middle-of-the-road 5 score to ambiguous criteria, restrict your scores to a 1, 3, 6, or 9 (on a hypothetical scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is best). This will force out a differentiation. If you dont have prior experience with the vendor, it helps to speak to the vendors other customers who have similar products, and use that as the basis for your scores.

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Tips on finding the right equipment supplier


When choosing an equipment supplier, be well aware that youre not just buying a piece of machinery to accomplish a certain task. If the machine is an integral part of your line, youre entering into a relationship that is more akin to a marriage. Here are a few things to consider:

1. Be transparent and consistent. Suppliers can only quote solutions based


on what youve told them. If youre not consistent with the information you provide to suppliers, youre not getting apples-to-apples comparisons. Try to avoid keeping small pieces of information from certain suppliers just because they seem inconsequential. Often, they can be quite the opposite.

2. Look for industry-specific experience. A company whose strength is in snack


packaging may not be the wisest choice for a frozen entre application. Manufacturers often build areas of strategic expertise around certain industries and applications. Request customer references for applications in your industry.

3. Dont make assumptions based on past history. Dont automatically


eliminate a supplier because of a supposedly poor reputation or a bad experience from long ago. Conversely, dont skip customer reference checks from a supplier with a supposedly good reputation. Things change all the time, and companies that provided bad service years ago may provide good service today, and vice-versa.

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Tips on finding the right equipment supplier


4. Get out of the office and look around. Its
vitally important to go out and look at different machines in personwhether at the suppliers plant or another customers operation. For some packagers, there seems to be an overreliance on equipment suppliers to make the case for their machines. A supplier salesperson can visit your site many times before you learn whats possible from one visit to a machine suppliers factory. If a trip to the suppliers factory isnt worth it, its likely not a good fit. Most importantly, when dealing with vendors, consultants, packaging distributors, and other end users, remember this: No question is a dumb question.

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5. Learn the suppliers processes. As you will likely


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normally do, it stands to reason that they may have some problems fulfilling that obligation. Look at service: Do they have service in the country youre in; in the continent youre in? Do they have a 24/7/365 support line? How soon can they get to you? Whats their guaranteed time to get a mechanic to you? Things break, screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place; how willing are they to help you with the machine when it inevitably breaks? Finally, try to choose vendors with qualified service technicians stationed close by. Paying travel and accommodation expenses for factory-trained service reps isnt a bargain. Companies without good transparent processes leave you open to mistakes; look closely at every detail of the proposed relationship. Knowledge of processes can also give you a leg up on risk analysis and mitigation of issues that may arise.

6. What kind of relationships do they have with other vendors? As its


unlikely youll be equipping an entire line with machines from one vendor, its important to know how they conduct themselves when they need to integrate with disparate machines both upstream and downstream. Is the supplier interested in trying to understand your process? What happens downstream of their machine? If youre looking at robotic machinery, look at the vendors capability and experience in integrating robotics.

7. Can they take on integration? If youre looking to purchase some major pieces
of machinery, maybe youd like to completely outsource integration issues to one of the equipment supplierswithout hiring an integrator. If you can find a supplier that meets all of your other criteria, assess whether that supplier can also serve as a single integrator with full accountability.

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8. Involve operators and maintenance techs. Many experts on both sides of the
table believe there is not enough involvement of people actually running the equipment in the buying decision, and that purchases are made at too high of a level. Maintenance people and production people need to contribute a clear set of expectations. Get firsthand feedback from operators, the people on the line, because the operations teams are solving whatever problems your existing machines have day after day. Conduct a project kickoff meeting with personnel including engineering, operations, tooling, and control teams, to clearly define what will and wont work in your factory. It could be worthwhile to involve human resource personnel, in the kickoff meeting, as they might have specific insight into the technical knowledge of a given workforce in a given plant. The best machine in the world wont work at all if your operators lack the skill set required to use it!

9. Pay attention to machine construction details. When youre looking at


machines, take a hard look at machine construction details such as finish, platings, welds and general durability. You know the conditions in your plant better than any supplier ever could. Does the construction of their machines look like it would stand up to your environment?

10. Assess flexibility. How willing and able are they to customize the machines to your
needs? Every plant is differentcan they adjust to that?

11. Find out how they react when the chips are down. When things go well,
everyone slaps one another on the back. But when a project runs into trouble, you dont want suppliers pointing fingers at one another. Though you may not get it, try asking for a customer reference on a difficult install to learn what the supplier has done to make it right.

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12. Clearly define and communicate your critical success factors. And
if a supplier is unwilling to agree to those factors, it may be time to walk away. Setting milestones for schedule and revision is key; highlight your managements expectations, and cost schedule. Is the supplier amenable to these factors? Work closely with the application engineers in the project management group, throughout the entire process. Too often communication dries up after the initial purchase is made. Figure out exactly what you need from an overall system, and communicate that. Is the supplier willing to engage in open communication, with weekly status meetings? Its important that you have clear objectives of what you want to accomplish, that you communicate those objectives, and that you have qualified personnel on hand at installation. Make sure its clear that youre only prepared to accept the equipment in the manner that it was specified. You also have the responsibility to deliver information about variations in your product or process to the supplier, before you actually receive the new equipment, so that the supplier can determine any changes that might need to be made.

13. Commitment to support during start-up. Vendors must commit to being


present as long as it takes to install the line successfully. This requirement must be clearly defined in the specifications. Whatever and whenever your start-up is, if youve defined it, and the vendor has signed off on it, the vendor must honor that commitment.

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Seven tips for comparing machines at a trade show


Packagers look forward to the industrys major trade shows as a chance to see whats new, and to shop for their next machinery purchase. You can make better use of these events by following a few tried-and-true tips. When the purchasing decision is made, youll know that your team properly evaluated the alternatives.

1. Do your homework in advance. Major trade shows do a great job of getting


the word out, weeks in advance, about who will be exhibiting, where booths are located, and even which machines will be on display in each booth. Take advantage of this advance information, and make plans to visit specific suppliers.

2. Choose a cross-functional team. Experienced packagers assemble a crossfunctional team to attend a trade show so that different points of view can be combined. You should, at least, involve representatives from operations, R&D, engineering, purchasing, and marketing. Agree on a plan for covering the show, either as a team or in smaller groups that convene later to compare notes.

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3. Agree on machine criteria. Everyone on the team needs an agreed-upon list


of what criteria are important: Whether its quick changeover, versatility, robust design, maximum speed, or a combination, make sure everyone is evaluating the machines on exhibit using the same criteria. Some experienced show-goers recommend tablet computers as a quick way to take photos and notes, record conversations, etc.

4. Set up appointments with the chosen suppliers. Its usually preferable to


set up appointments with three to five different suppliers at the show. This will assure that supplier representatives make time for your team, take your questions, and are able to learn a little more about your operational needs. Experts say that five suppliers is usually the limit for a full evaluation at one trade show, but you may choose to collect info on more candidates and narrow them down later.

5. Back home, rate equipment using a competitive matrix. When everyone


has returned from the show, you can begin the process of rating each of the suppliers according to whatever Competitive Matrix your company uses. Leave plenty of room for verbatim comments from team members that reflect their own areas of expertise.

6. Perform a financial stress test. As more American packagers purchase from


multinational suppliers, it has become customary to ask for financial info as part of the evaluation process. This goes further than simply pulling a Dun & Bradstreet report. As a prospective customer, you are in a position to ask for financial information from the suppliers CFO or other top officer. Due diligence now may save headaches down the road.

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Seven tips for comparing machines at a trade show


7. Invite finalists to present at your facility.
Some veteran trade-show teams narrow the supplier list down to two or three finalists, and invite each of them to make a separate, more formal presentation at the packagers facility. This provides a chance for the prospective supplier to tailor the presentation to your companys specific needs. It also lets company representatives who did not go to the show have input. Trade-show team members, numbering up to 60, from one large Midwestern CPG craft a Consolidated Report on both new and established suppliers, based on information gleaned at the show. This report is then uploaded onto the companys intranet so that everyone can access the gathered intelligence. Suppliers that pique interest from anywhere in the organization are invited to one of several lunch and learn sessions at headquarters, where they can talk about a specific machine, and take specific questions from the group.

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Roadmap for a successful Factory Acceptance Test


BY PAUL Zepf Factory Acceptance Tests (FATs) are a key milestone in any new capital equipment project. With proper focus, detail, and team participation, a successful FAT can be the difference between a successful vertical start-up and frustration as the plant struggles for days or even weeks. Consider the following tips as a roadmap to a successful Factory Acceptance Test:

1. Provide a detailed test plan. The FAT is the time to discover failures or issues,
determine reliability, verify efficiencies, and explore how the machine should handle failures. The test plan should be prepared up front and submitted to the supplier as part of the Request for Quote (RFQ). The machine will not perform as expected if the criteria arent specified; neither will performance be competently assessed. Clearly state in the contract all the responsibilities, accountabilities, and deliverables, in a measurable way. These must be quantifiable and agreed upon to eliminate finger-pointing. Doing so makes it easier for all parties by eliminating second-guessing. Specify how long the machine should be dry-cycled; 24 hours minimum is recommended. Specify how many packages should be produced and at what speed. Specify disposal plans for finished packages. Although youll pay for the FAT, most equipment suppliers will agree to a provision that if the machine fails, any subsequent test is free. Having a detailed test plan will help ensure that you dont shortchange the FAT. Performing a brief, shallow FAT will inevitably show up as a problem in the third shift, nine months down the road.

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Roadmap for a successful Factory Acceptance Test


2. Push the envelope, but use the right materials as well. In the FAT, use the materials that
will be put in operation during actual production. Not using them may compromise test validity. You can stretch the system with noncompliant materials and processes to better understand operational flexibility (wildcard testing), but the most important results will be those gleaned from using the materials you actually employ in your process.

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3. Engage the operators and technicians.


Focus on the personnel who will ultimately be responsible for running the machines, those who own the line. Sending engineers isnt sufficient; the operators will see what makes the most sense on the line. The people who will run the equipment daily are uniquely qualified to make observations beyond the specifications and recognize issues or flaws prior to delivery. Additionally, the ownership aspect is invaluable, as the best technology going into a plant is not going to work if the operators are not comfortable with it, or have no faith in it. Enaging the production team early in the process is one of the most

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Your source for complete filling and packaging solutions


Washing Sterilizing Filling Liquid/Powder Stoppering Capping Checkweighing Accumulating.Unscrambling Trayloading FAT/IQ/OQ/SAT/PQ Validation Protocols

Roadmap for a successful Factory Acceptance Test


important aspects of new equipment design. The FAT provides a structured and empowering opportunity. Do not miss this one!

4. Be smart about training. If training is provided


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as part of the FAT, make sure the people being trained are those who will run the line, not the engineers. Train and educate the right people.

5. Create and follow a detailed failure script. Make an inventory of the type of failures that
youve experienced or might experience in production, as well as expected outcomes. Use this checklist to fully assess machine performance during the FAT. Machines have a natural backup curve that is all about early failures. Running, even dry running, is very critical; you can find leakage, electronic failures, and more, and then make sensible engineering changes. You cant reap the benefits of testing if you dont do the testing. Changes made at the FAT stage are the least-expensive ones; many times you dont even pay for them.

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Roadmap for a successful Factory Acceptance Test

6. Test parts replacement and changeover procedures. Test how long it


takes to replace the most common wear parts. Determine how to remove a defective part and document the process in an easy-to-use format such as a One Point Lesson (OPL). Using your technicians and operators at the FAT, practice changeovers, and start-up and shut-down protocols. See where the users encounter difficulty and elicit their input and ideas. Leverage the opportunity to modify the equipment, standardize the procedures, and document in an OPL format with numerous pictures.

7. Check safety with a keen eye. Complete a review of the equipment from a safety
perspective. Look for poorly guarded areas and pinch points. Run your hands across the machine (carefully), looking for sharp edges and burrs. Test to ensure all limit switches and emergency stops are fully functional, robust, and appropriately placed. Test for flaws in all built-in safety components. Are there any safety options missing? Is making the machine LOTO (lockout/tagout) easy, or are there unexpected sources of energy that could cause injury? (Lockout/tagout refers to the act of disabling all sources of energy such as electricity and compressed air while physically locking down the machine so that it doesnt cause injury due to movement while the machine is being worked on.)

8. Take your time. Take your time on the FAT, especially with highly customized
machines. Why would you take a million-dollar project and squeeze the FAT into a sixhour window? Dont worry about relatively small expenses. Some testing will be more challenging than others. For example, high-speed testing can be difficult due to the sheer volume of product needed for the test. Never trade away adequate factory testing to meet a shipping deadline. You will ultimately pay the price for this in longer start-ups and lost productivity at the factory.

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9. Get a good integrator. This is key. Tie into other equipment suppliers; test
everything together. Sometimes its worth the money to run everything together on the integrators floor. It costs money, but saves it in the long run. Get as much of the peripheral equipment together on the same floor at the same time as soon as you can. Test as much as you can. You can never over-test equipment reliability and range of operation.

10. Work with your supplier, and your supplier will work with you. A
successful FAT is in both parties interest. Not all (or many) machinery suppliers have factories set up to perform a well-rounded FAT for customers. Some will build or mock up complete systems, but duplicating a customers process can be very difficult and expensive. Suppliers may be able to prove to the end user that their machine can perform in the manner desired during pre-sales (or pre-PO) product-testing procedures. Once customers are satisfied that equipment can do what they want it to do, POs are issued. Increasingly, customers are simply looking for a video testimonial that the machine actually runs before it leaves the suppliers facility, in lieu of a FAT. That being said, savvy customers will continue to demand FATs and training in a suppliers facility before the machine ships. Some suppliers are expanding their facilities to include more FAT handling, in a private, secure environment, where strict confidentiality of all technologies is assured.

11. Know the difference between a Factory and Site Acceptance Test.
One of the biggest areas of confusion surrounding the FAT is over whether it should simulate how the machine responds under actual factory conditions. In fact, that is the purpose of the SAT. In the machinery builders plant, it may be difficult or even impossible to simulate both the production volume and the conditions of your product, especially for more than a few minutes. This is especially true if the product will be packed at a certain temperature, or

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has a certain consistency or rate of speed coming out of production. Much time, energy, and money has been spent in vain trying to address failures in the machine builders plant, only to find that the machine works perfectly once in production at the customers plant. The purpose of the FAT is to verify the desired functionality of the machine. On acceptance of a FAT, youll be looking for items such as:

Completed FAT protocol Maintenance and users manuals Easy-to-use training materials
(OPLs, videos, etc.)

Standard work procedures Standard maintenance procedures Recommended spare parts lists
The purpose of the SAT is to affirm that the machine runs your product to your specifications in its operating environment. Knowing the difference between a FAT and SAT can save you and the supplier time, money, and aggravation.

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Eleven tips for a successful packaging line start-up


Here are some useful tips for line installation and start-up:

1. Involve operators and production personnel from the get-go. While


engineering and purchasing may seem to know everything about a project, production personnel have to live with the equipment on a daily basis. Get the production manager, line operators, and maintenance personnel involved as close as possible to the beginning of the project. (In the healthcare industries, its also vitally important to involve quality and regulatory/compliance personnel early on as well.) Production people dont need to be at every meeting, but they should be at the critical ones. The more familiar they are with the equipment when it reaches the floor, the more likely the installation will go smoothly.

2. Dont be penny-wise and pound-foolish about the install. Engineers


often think they can save the company money by installing the equipment themselves. However, having the supplier install its own equipmentor at the least, oversee installation according to its standardswill save you time now and money down the road. The suppliers technicians really should be present for the whole ramp-up curve; its better to pay for three weeks of their time than to have them there for a day and then have the line go down for three weeks.

3. Use your best production people. Dont choose mediocre or unenthusiastic


operators for something as important as a line start-up. Staff it with your best and brightest,

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Eleven tips for a successful packaging line start-up


who can then teach the others. While the oldest staff members are likely to have the most experience, younger personnel may be more open to new technologies and more readily learn how to properly run and change over the equipment. This is especially important if the machines are brand-new technology for the plant, or are considered critical to ongoing operations.

4. Document what you learn from suppliers.


Depending on the complexity of the equipment, it may be worthwhile to keep a supplier technician or technicians in your factory an extra few days. During that time, follow the technicians and learn everything you can to fill in any knowledge gaps among operators. Use all the tools at your disposal to capture this information, from shooting video to taking digital snapshots to simply writing notes. This information may prove invaluable over time.

5. Document last-minute changes to line layouts. Often during installation, adjustments are made
to equipment positioning that deviate from the line-layout

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Engineered for Performance

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Eleven tips for a successful packaging line start-up


drawings prepared at the beginning of the project. Take the time to go back and modify these drawings so that the final versions reflect the actual line as built. Down the road, youll avoid lost time caused by a mismatch between what the drawing says and the reality on your floor.

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6. Finish the punch list. During the line start-up, its


common to compile a punch list of minor adjustments and then never follow up once product is being successfully produced. Unfortunately, this can lead to problems down the road that impact product quality. Operators are less likely to bring these problems to anyones attention because its always been done this way. The punch list should be reviewed and approved by engineering, production, and management, with ownership transferred from engineering to production in a formal sign-off procedure.

7. Dont forget spare parts. Things do fail during


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start-up. Remember to request a spare parts list and order the critical spares so they are delivered prior to the equipment arriving at your factory.

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Happens

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Eleven tips for a successful packaging line start-up


8. Get complete equipment documentation.
Collect all the necessary equipment documentation and specifications such as mechanical and electrical schematics, equipment drawings (as built), and bill of materials.

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9. Establish performance criteria. Linking a


vendor payment to the equipments performance at startup can be a strong incentive for the vendor. As part of a formal acceptance test, consider an extended testing period, covering enough shifts (or even weeks) to really understand the machines abilities and limitations. Consider extended warranty and service contracts, especially for mission-critical equipment. Be fair to the supplier, though, when demanding so much; dont delay tests, or introduce a product change or variation, without consideration of the suppliers time.

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10. Consider pre-integrating the line off-site.


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Many packaging machinery engineering veterans insist its worth the extra time and expense to integrate at an off-site facility, rather than doing it in your plant. Remember, once the machines are in production, the expectation is theyll be

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Eleven tips for a successful packaging line start-up


in production quickly. For this pre-integration, try to select a vendor with the furthest upstream machine that has the space for integration, or even at the company that builds the processing equipment. Often something breaks or fails during this critical period, and if a machine part needs to be redesigned, it can be done far more quickly at the machine builders plant. Its not going to be done for free, and not everyone has the space to support it. Machine builders that do are well worth engaging. Some packagers have even rented a warehouse near one of their machine builders and installed the complete line, wiring the machines together, bringing in air, integrating controls, etc. It adds cost and time to the scheduletypically two to three weeksbut weigh it against the cost and time impact of running really poorly for the first month.

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11. Be realistic. Dont do too much too soon. Have


a reasonable ramp-up curve. Many projects fail in hour number two because theyre running at 100% too early.

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Benefits of PackML and when to use it on your line


What is PackML?
PackML stands for the Packaging Machinery Language. It provides a standardized way to collect uniform data across machines, lines, shifts, plants, and business units. This uniformity is essential to productivity-enhancing initiatives such as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) analysis and to simplify MES functions. It is being incorporated into ISA 88, the standard that for nearly two decades has proven its viability in the process control world.

PackML:
Standardizes commonly used machine modes, states, and tag names, plus a modular approach to machine control code. PackML does not impinge on a machine builders intellectual property, it simply standardizes aspects of communication the way that Ethernet TCP/IP did for non-real-time networking. P&G corporate engineers Jason DeBruler (left) and Dan Amundson (right) reprogrammed a Pace bottle unscrambler so that it would be compliant with the ISA-TR88.00.02 standard, also known as PackML. Benefits packagers that include it in their electrical specifications and requests for quotation. The greatest benefits come from integrating entire packaging lines so that individual machines, machine-to-machine communications, and line control and data acquisition are standardized.

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Benefits of PackML and when to use it on your line

Makes it easier for end users to get consistent data out of machines on a packaging line from different OEMs with different control systems. Reduces the learning curve for plant personnel by providing a common look and feel. PackML is independent of the control system vendor or programming language in use. It integrates readily to business systems with OPC, and promotes standardized, flexible data sets. Makes the machine builders initial investment reusable across machines, which reduces subsequent software development costs and time to market, while reducing the amount of customized code to test and thereby increasing reliability. It predefines machine interface, integration, and start-up. It also simplifies after-sale support. When does it make the most sense to include PackML in your specification?

When ordering a new packaging line When retrofitting an existing line When gathering production data for OEE or MES in a multivendor environment When implementing Six Sigma or lean manufacturing projects
Currently, the OMAC PackML committee has an initiative to document potential cost savings for implementing PackML simultaneously with best practices for software modularity.

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Benefits of PackML and when to use it on your line

TR 88.00.02 is the official ISA Technical Report that provides the PackML state models, modes and tag names. But dont expect it to be called PackML. Its an international standard that can actually be applied to any discrete control process. The other half of the standard is in progress, called ISA 88.05, and it promotes modular control architectures. PackML state model demo Download an interactive Excel demo that shows how the state model works. http://bit.ly/packml-demo PackML defined In this Wikipedia entry, see some of the development history, objectives, and PackML functions. http://bit.ly/packml-defined PackML at Procter & Gamble How P&G reprogrammed an unscrambler to be PackML-compliant. http://bit.ly/packml-pg-unscrambler Order the standard TR 88.00.02 is the official ISA Technical Report that provides the PackML state models, modes, and tag names. http://bit.ly/order-packml

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How projects fail: 11 pitfalls to avoid

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Packaging machinery projects fail for a number of reasons. Here are stumbling blocks to look out for:

1. Unrealistic expectations on both sides. Sometimes CPG companies set


a higher level of performance, either to help justify the project internally, or to pad the number under the assumption that the machinery builder will fall short but still meet the actually desired speed. The machinery builder may feel pressure to commit to a performance requirement while suspectingor knowingits an unreasonable goal. Both sides are now set up for failure and disappointment. Better to have a frank discussion over the real performance requirements and align expectations before the project starts.

2. Poor vendor/application fit. Most machinery building companies are founded or


run by engineers, and most engineers have never met a problem they didnt think they could solve. Vendors that contract to build machines outside their core competence area, or that are simply too overloaded, may end up disappointing their CPG customer.

3. Poor or incomplete project scope. Dont ever assume that anything can be taken
for granted; for example, that the supplier knows your upstream or downstream processes, or that they know the ambient temperature in your factory. Something that may seem obvious to you may be a surprise to the company building your machines.

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How projects fail: 11 pitfalls to avoid


4. Not adjusting the schedule for changes.
Changes do happen, but projects get into hot water when the CPG company expects machinery vendors to accommodate changes without impacting the delivery schedule. An eight-week machinery project thats already slipping into nine weeks may use a change request to justify that delay. (Were going to be a week late anyway, so sure, well take on that request.) In reality, such a change may turn it into a 12-week project, much to everyones surprise.

5. Insufficient expertise on both sides of the table. When specifying equipment, you need to consider
absolutely everything, and sometimes the folks who will be operating the machinery know something that engineers on the supplier and customer side wont know. You need to get them involved early in the process. Heres a war story from a supplier that shows a good reason why: We were building a machine for a company that sold processed and packaged spices. Garlic is extraordinarily sticky in a certain humidity range. We didnt know that! It was not included in the 50 pages of specifications, they just assumed everyone

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Pharmaceutical packages come in many shapes and materials. Matthews has a serialization printing solution for every one of them.

How projects fail: 11 pitfalls to avoid


knew. We might have built them a grossly inappropriate machine; luckily, we averted disaster because they happened to mention it at one meeting! Vendors dont know the eccentricities and idiosyncrasies of your product that you do. The operators know, but the 26-year-old engineer that draws up the specs doesnt.

6. Missed launch windows due to different interpretations of lead time. Its not unusual
for the customer and the machinery builder to make completely different assumptions about what lead time really means. A machine builder may define lead time as the time from when the order is placed to when that machine is ready for a Factory Acceptance Test (FAT). That could turn into trouble if the customer thinks that lead time extends to when the machine is up and running on the plant floor. Not accounted for are FAT itself, training, modifications, shipping, installation, and start-up. To avoid scheduling problems, make sure everyone agrees what lead time really means.

At Matthews Marking Systems, we offer the industrys widest variety of serialization coding and printing technologies and integration solutions. Our range of exible systems allows us to tailor a complete solution to your entire unit-to-case aggregation one that will work today and in the future. Use our years of experience and technical know-how to implement your successful serialization program. Contact Matthews today.

www.matthewsmarking.com 800.775.7775

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How projects fail: 11 pitfalls to avoid


7. Not adequately preparing for the machines actual delivery. You as the customer
have work to do after you sign the contract and perform the FAT, and before the truck rolls up with the new machine. Are all the utilities ready? Is there a clear path from the loading dock to the machines new location? A recent war story details the preparation the customer did NOT do in advance.leading to a two-day delay while an interior wall of the plant was knocked down. Do your preparation homework.

8. Unanticipated additional container sizes/ shapes. A machine designed to handle an oval container
will have tooling thats not suited to handling a round one. Take the time to think through all the possible containers youll be running and communicate that to your equipment vendor up front. If theres an oddball container thats throwing a wrench into the machine design process, the vendors need to know what percent of the time that size will run, so it can be addressed accordingly. Conversely, tell the vendor which container sizes and shapes are expected

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continued

How projects fail: 11 pitfalls to avoid

to account for the bulk of the production volume. That enables them to optimize the equipment, to the extent possible, for those sizes and shapes.

8. Pay attention to the line speed details. For example, avoid over-specifying your
speed requirements. Many assume each machine in the line should run 15% faster than the next closest machine to the critical machine on the line. But if your labeler is the fifth machine down from the filler, using this logic will require it to run 2X faster than the filler, which may not be close to reality. Another detail often missed is ergonomics. One manufacturer told us they have factory workers approaching thirty years of seniority, and they wouldnt have been effective if they didnt have ergonomically correct height-adjustable tables. Adjusting the equipment, rather than the people (like using a step stool), could lead to fewer injuries and downtime.

9. Dont count on integration unless you pay for it. Its a mistake to assume a
machine builder will serve as your engineering department and take responsibility for your entire line--unless you explicitly hire them to do so. The machine builders job is to build the machine, not to take responsibility for the line.

11. Define what success looks like. When it comes time to validate your purchase,
do you know what a successful implementation looks like? Failure is likely if expectations are unrealistic and/or vendor promises are not verified prior to purchase. You can only declare success at the end if you define it, and agree to that definition, in the initial specifications you present to your supplier.

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