In this blog post and Tech Bites video we outline solutions to achieve repeatable quality and productivity on horizontal flow wrappers and vertical sealing machines across all production shifts, multiple packaging machines, and different plant locations.
Begin by identifying and quantifying your goals for seal integrity, package appearance, output levels, and other quality and productivity measures.
Are you meeting these goals? If so, then identify the plant locations, machines, and even the production shifts where you best achieve these standards and use them as your benchmark. If not, work to achieve your goals in at least one situation before proceeding with this assessment.
Determine Causes for Inconsistent Results
Then use the following outline of variables to compare your benchmark with other locations, machines, and shifts to determine causes for inconsistent results.
Implement solutions that will help you reproduce benchmark quality results on a broader scale.
1. Machinery Make and Model
First, evaluate the different makes and models of machines in use. They may use design variations that can affect results, such as cutting and sealing head design and clearance and pressure settings.
• Cross Training
When machine design varies, education and cross-training for operators and mechanics can ensure more consistent results.
2. Machinery Condition
Results are also impacted by the age and maintenance history of each wrapper or bagger. Specific variables can include worn bearings, backlash, or play, between rotary crimpers, and product contamination.
• Systematic Maintenance and Cleaning
Standardized, systematic maintenance and cleaning schedules can help ensure consistent, repeatable quality output.
3. Product or Portion
Variability in the product, portion, and package formation process can also cause inconsistent results.
• Identify Variation
• Evaluate Product Flow and Package Formation
Look for even subtle differences, such as weight or size, and evaluate the entire product flow and package formation process—from the product feed and film unwind through to the discharge belt.
4. Components and Tooling
Critical components and tooling can vary greatly between machines and locations and are a frequent cause of inconsistent results.
• Optimal Design
• Repeatable Precision
• Optimal Condition
Sealing jaws, knives, formers, heaters, and other components should be optimally designed to match your packaging film, machinery, and conditions. Be sure to work with suppliers that have the expertise to recommend the optimal component designs, accurately and consistently replicate them, and adapt these solutions for different machines and plant locations.
Also make sure that components are maintained in optimal condition and replaced when worn or damaged.
5. Set-Up and Troubleshooting
After eliminating variability wherever possible, you can better standardize or adapt set-up and troubleshooting procedures across different shifts, machines, and locations and provide ongoing training on these procedures for operators, mechanics, engineers, and project managers to establish and maintain repeatable quality and productivity across a broad scale.