Downtime is a period of time during which a system fails to perform or production is interrupted. It’s a hot topic among many manufacturers.
Downtime results in stopped production, missed deadlines and lost profit.
It also increases stress and frustration at all levels of the manufacturing operation, and leads to higher product costs due to reworks, labor overhead and material waste.
Its effect on overall efficiency and the bottom line makes downtime the second most common complaint for manufacturers regarding their case sealing operations. Disruptions to the packaging line due to taping can be attributed to two sources: essential tasks and mechanical failures.
Those everyday jobs that are inevitable, but also time-consuming and costly in many cases. On the packaging line, this includes tape roll changeovers.
In many changeover situations, operators are forced to stop production to thread a new roll – which can take a few minutes – before restarting the line. Difficult thread paths on tape applicators and errors that require incorrectly threaded tape to be fixed can hinder quick replenishment of packaging tape, which creates a bottleneck.
Often forgotten are the stress and frustration associated with tape roll changeovers, especially for operators who are tasked with replacing the tape rolls as quickly as possible to minimize downtime.
Mechanical failures on the packaging line can also lead to downtime.
These can frequently be attributed to a malfunction by the tape applicator and may lead to:
- Poor tape adhesion/Packaging tape not sticking: forces operators to stop the line or slow production while maintenance or the operator try to fix the tape applicator. During this downtime, operators will attempt to hand-tape the cases, but it’s a slow, labor-intensive process. In addition, operators must rework the bad case seals, generating even more waste.
- Uncut tape: causes a chain reaction of line stoppage, clean-up and rework. The line must be stopped to cut the tape, the tape must then be cut to unlink the cases, and finally the operator must rework each case seal.
- Broken tape/Tape not running down to the core: results from poor tension control that places extreme amounts of tension on the tape, causing stretching and breakage. When this happens, the operator must stop the machine to either adjust the tension settings or change the tape roll, resulting in wasted tape and efficiency.
- Case jams: Although not directly related to the tape applicator because they are often caused by the flap folders, a case jam almost always happens at the tape applicator because the major flaps were not tucked before entering the case sealer. Case jams stop production and can result in significant damage to the case sealing machine and/or tape applicator; in extreme incidents where a jammed case is left stuck in the case sealer, deterioration of the conveyor belts is possible, increasing the prevalence of future case jams.
Whether an essential task or a mechanical failure, manufacturers place high priority on addressing downtime in an effort to improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), a reflection of machine availability, performance and quality. An increase in OEE means more products are produced using fewer resources.
Training is one approach. Ensuring your workforce has the proper tools and knowledge to tackle the issues that cause downtime can help alleviate some of the stress, frustration and inefficiency associated with it.
Another approach is to make sure the right equipment is in place. On the packaging line, this includes having the right combination of packaging tape and tape applicator, as well as a systematic understanding of all factors related to the packaging operation – the type and temperature of the environment, the weight and size of the carton, the contents that you’re sealing, etc. These factors help determine the formulation and grade of tape needed, in addition to the best application method for that tape.
Ready to learn more about what causes downtime – and how to eliminate these factors? Visit ShurSEALSecure.com.