Minimizing Changeover Times: Improving Food Manufacturing Profitability & Operational Efficiency

Crucial production time is lost every hour equipment sit idle during changeovers. New report presents strategies to minimize equipment changeover costs and improve profitability and operational efficiency.

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Minimizing Changeover Times: Improving Food Manufacturing Profitability & Operational Efficiency Researched and Written by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director Advantage Business Media Manufacturing Group December 2013 Sponsored by: Page 2 | Minimizing Changeover Times in Improving Food Manufacturing Profitability & Operational Efficiency Improving Profitability and Efficiency by Minimizing Food Line Changeover Issues Negating the time and profit-sapping attributes of line changeovers starts with component selection strategies that limit maintenance struggles, improve cleaning procedures and reduce machine downtime. Growth in the manufacturing sector can emanate from a number of areas, but perhaps the most popular approach entails product diversification. Developing new product lines can spur fresh revenue streams, address competitive deficiencies and enhance customer appeal, all while strengthening the brand and expanding market presence. For food manufacturers, product diversification takes on two forms. One is obviously the end product. Placing a known brand name on more than one type of cookie, cheese, beer, lunch meat, etc. offers retailers and consumers more options and perhaps greater peace of mind in choosing a strong and growing brand. The second deals with production capabilities. Obviously not every food manufacturer is directly associated with a brand name. In fact, market factors such as consolidation, cost controls and expanded food service opportunities have made contract manufacturing a growing facet of food production. So whether the company flies a well-known brand banner or works as a contract services provider, the ability to effectively and efficiently manage a diverse collection of food products has become essential. For many discrete manufacturers product expansion allows for leveraging existing resources, and as a result minimizing initial risk and investment. These manufacturers can take advantage of shared processes, material or customer bases while growing profits and expanding their market. Some of these dynamics apply to food manufacturing as well, but in most instances the desire and need to follow industry protocols and meet regulatory guidelines will demand significant investment for new product lines. In order to reap the benefits of product expansion, food manufacturers will need to either pur- chase new equipment or implement processes that allow them to use their current machinery for more than one type of product. The latter is the genesis for what is perhaps the single greatest source of operational inefficiency, maintenance planning struggles and profit losses in a food manufacturing facility – line changeovers. Separate lines for the same products Multiple lines for handling different varieties of products How Facilities Handle Equipment Changeovers 22.3% 77.8% Page 3 | Minimizing Changeover Times in Improving Food Manufacturing Profitability & Operational Efficiency The Drain on Profitability In a recent survey of Food Manufacturing readers, 78 percent said they perform changeovers on a daily basis in order to effectively manage their varying food and beverage offerings. While es- sential in meeting food quality standards and safety regulations, any number of factors associat- ed with these line changeovers can sap profitability from production, including: • The frequency of changeovers. • The amount of time spent per changeover. • Cleaning processes. • Equipment reliability and maintenance issues that arise during changeover procedures, including the replacement of components and subsystems. Readers that took part in the survey stated that their facilities conduct an average of 4.6 change- overs per day. The average amount of time spent per changeover was just under one hour.* Cleaning the line was cited by 59 percent of respondents as the most time-consuming portion of the changeover. Issues surrounding different packaging materials were also mentioned promi- nently. However, some of the most profound comments were made regarding equipment main- tenance and performance, often performed around line changeover activities. Essentially, as the lines are being started, stopped, torn down for cleaning or reconfiguration, and then re-started, a number of issues impacting equipment performance commonly arises. All these factors add to the time consumed and profits lost during changeover activities. More spe- cifically, Food Manufacturing readers cited the following as aspects related to equipment perfor- mance triggered by line changeovers: • Equipment malfunctions weren’t realized until the lines were re-started. • Set up times took longer due to component failure. • Maintenance personnel are insufficiently trained. • Poor component specification/purchasing decisions continue to be made. * While this average is accurate by statistical definition, it’s important to look at the individual data sets that comprise this time/changeover average. The unique qualities of each facility and the products they produce resulted in equally unique survey data. So looking more closely at these responses shows that about half of the respondents averaged closer to 31 minutes per changeover, while 34 percent are closer to two hours. Most Time-Consuming Portions of the Changeover Process Stopping the line Cleaning the line Re-starting the line Changing machine components59.4%9.8% 28.6% 2.3% Page 4 | Minimizing Changeover Times in Improving Food Manufacturing Profitability & Operational Efficiency Reviewing the primary operational obstacles of changeovers helps reinforce where the most significant gains can be realized when addressing their inefficiencies. While advancements con- tinue to be made in the development of packaging materials that are more equipment-friendly, in many respects this issue is removed from the operational scope or influence of the plant floor. Sanitizing equipment, either by washdown or CIP (clean in place) procedures, is a crucial part of food production. And while little can be done by plant personnel to expedite the actual cleaning, there have been developments along the component and subsystem front to help decrease the amount of time it takes to break equipment down, prepare it for cleaning and then re-assemble to continued production. Additionally, when looking at the third area of major concern in managing changeovers – equip- ment performance and maintenance – there are a number of solutions worth exploring. Exam- ining new operational and maintenance strategies can help minimize equipment downtime, and the costs associated with them. First, however, let’s take a closer look at the true impact poor equipment performance and component replacement decisions can have on operational efficien- cy and facility profit margins. Page 5 | Minimizing Changeover Times in Improving Food Manufacturing Profitability & Operational Efficiency The True Costs of Inefficiency When improperly managed, misunderstood or approached without the right solutions, change- over times will have detrimental long and short-term impacts. Circling back to our survey of Food Manufacturing readers, an analysis of the amount of time and money that is lost during these changeovers reveals some startling information that every food and beverage processor needs to see and understand in order to implement the right solutions for their plant. Survey responses indicate an average profit margin of about 12 percent for food manufactur- ers. Additionally, changeovers are costing Food Manufacturing readers over $2,630/hr. when accounting for the production that is lost as equipment sits idle during changeovers. Contrast these numbers with 70 percent of respondents citing “throughput and processing efficiency” as the primary operational focus, and it becomes apparent that while priorities mesh with addressing changeover issues, effective strategies may be lacking. This is reinforced when looking at comments from survey respondents when they were asked about more specific obstacles related to changeovers and machine downtime: • “We experience long lead times on repair parts.” • “Poor training and lack of direct supervision during changeovers make them take longer.” • “We have a lack of troubleshooting knowledge.” • “Oil leaks, age of equipment and tight scheduling all add to the problem.” • “Parts are not organized, people are not ready and operator skills are weak.” • “Too many breakdowns.” Essentially, this group is seeing their line changeovers extended and made more complicated due to equipment maintenance and replacement component plans that are either lacking or expose facility weaknesses. Some simple math suggests that even shaving 15 minutes off of the average hour-long changeover could net facilities more than $750,000 in annual savings. These are savings that can be realized with the right focus – i.e. stronger equipment effectiveness plans and better component sourcing strategies. Equipment Changeover Time Is Money* $2,630+ Average production lost per hour when equipment sits idle during changeovers. $750,000 Projected annual savings realized by reducing hour-long changeovers by 15 minutes. * Figures projected across Food Manufacturing subscriber audience. Page 6 | Minimizing Changeover Times in Improving Food Manufacturing Profitability & Operational Efficiency Better Component Sourcing, Better Profitability When describing the operating environment of a food manufacturing facility, harsh would be a dramatic under-sell. As processors look to squeeze every penny of profit from their production lines, equipment is constantly in motion and subjected to varying temperatures, ingredients and cleaning cycles. In addition to the rate of production, these facilities are also tasked with produc- ing large quantities in order to compensate for the relatively low margins per product. All of these operational dynamics place a tremendous amount of stress on equipment and components that cannot fail. So with this in mind, let’s examine a collection of potential solutions for food manufacturers in addressing equipment effectiveness, component performance and reducing changeover inefficiencies. Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of those responding to the survey said they rely on some form of customized equipment. So whether machinery is designed and constructed in-house, provided by a supplier, or the project is handled by a systems integrator, component specifications need to reflect performance expectations. For example, any product with a rated load needs to be able to define how long it is expected to last under that rated load. This seems relatively simple, but some components will provide load capacity specifications and hide their expected life requirements. Let’s look at electric cylinders for example. Some manufacturers will specify a payload capacity of 1,000 lbs. in a 3” square foot- print while others may specify something the same footprint with a capability of up to 10,000 lbs. If the two are using a similar diameter screw and a similar thrust bearing set, then the difference in actual load capacity will not be that great. The real difference lies in what the manufacturer is claiming their expected life will be at this rated load capacity. The manufacturer who rates their product for 1,000 lbs. may be expecting to receive 100 million inches of life from the product, but the manufacturer with the 10,000-lb. force rating is using a high thrust force capability to hide a shortened lifetime (in this case it may be even below one million inches of travel). In a high throughput environment like this, the one million inches of travel life could be con- sumed in a few weeks, if not days. In this instance the two manufacturers are looking at different points on the load versus life curves. Comparing apples to oranges can result in selecting the wrong component or subsystem, which leads to bigger picture issues down the road in terms of erratic equipment performance, constant maintenance issues and longer changeover times. Inexperience, a lack of training or working with the wrong partners can cost food manufacturers on multiple levels. It was no surprise to see that the highest response rate (46 percent) for “upgrades that would reduce changeover times” was CIP servo actuators, motors, pneumatic cylinders and valves. One of the challenges with food manufacturing cleaning requirements is the labor associated with tearing down and rebuilding equipment during changeovers. Much of this centers around the removal and individual cleaning of components that are not CIP friendly. Page 7 | Minimizing Changeover Times in Improving Food Manufacturing Profitability & Operational Efficiency In response to these labor-heavy and time-consuming tasks, many machine builders are now working to specify products that are CIP compliant. And many solutions providers are design- ing products to address these needs. One manufacturer in particular, Parker Hannifin, has just launched an IP69K- compliant Stainless Steel servo motor that allows users to leave the motor bolted up during cleaning. This limits some of the teardown or new-build complexity by eliminating disassembly require- ments or additional shrouding and guards. Another automation component that has been widely used is the round body stainless steel pneumatic cylinder, which has been available in stainless bodies with aluminum endcaps for a long time. Recently manufacturers have introduced all stainless designs. The stainless design protects from the harsh cleaning chemicals used on these machines. To compliment this stainless steel line of pneumatics, we now see companies bringing electric cylinders to market with stainless steel features and benefits. From a pneumatics standpoint, the most effective solution to maintaining efficiency and through- put is a strong preventative maintenance plan that evaluates seals and filters accordingly. If seals are wearing out faster than the plan indicates, leaks can occur and significantly hinder operation- al performance, food safety and product quality. If compressed air filters are clogged or dam- aged, the air contamination will then penetrate the pneumatic components and cause premature failure, machine downtime, and necessitate larger scale component repair or replacement. During the initial stages of designing and specifying new or upgraded equipment for the food manufacturing facility, it’s important for processors to work very closely with the supplier and/ or machine builder. Looking at factors like CIP-friendly options, advanced sealing products and other improvements that have made component maintenance or replacement easier for opera- tors and maintenance personnel should always be investigated. While today’s economic climate demands fiscal responsibility, the investments that are made now can go a long way towards preserving profits in the future. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Better human machine interface displays and tools Better machine monitoring and diagnostic tools Easier to use food grade couplings and tubing CIP servo actuators, motors, pneumatic cylinders and valves Other 41.4% 42.4% 32.3% 45.5% 12.1% Reducing Changeover Repair Times Page 8 | Minimizing Changeover Times in Improving Food Manufacturing Profitability & Operational Efficiency Finally, as we work to overcome the hurdle of knowledge retention within the workforce, we rec- ognize that manufacturers of all sizes and specialties continue to fight the qualified worker battle. In addition to finding well-trained and highly knowledgeable plant floor personnel, many food manufacturers are also confronted with an aging workforce that carries more and more aggre- gate knowledge into retirement on a daily basis. Tools that can help limit the impact of these labor trends are control modules and automation products with enhanced diagnostic tools. New Human-Machine Interface (HMI) modules offer clear, color graphics and, with some support from the machine builder, can also provide detailed step-by-step instructions for identifying and clearing user faults, video instructions for change- over procedures, and an expansive number of other features. These HMIs are designed for use by individuals with varying knowledge levels, relying on graphical presentations and short videos that enable operators to troubleshoot nearly any performance issue that might arise before or after the changeover. The closer the partnership with your machine supplier and their vendors, the better the results will be in achieving an optimal solution for your OEE needs. Page 9 | Minimizing Changeover Times in Improving Food Manufacturing Profitability & Operational Efficiency Conclusion Changeovers in food processing are typically unavoidable. And as companies grow and diversify even more, the challenges inherent to these processes will continue. However, instead of becom- ing complacent with the resources they consume, food manufacturers have options in working to negate the negative impacts of changeovers. Hopefully, in consuming the information and solutions outlined in this paper, food manufactures can move forward with strategies focused on operational efficiency through smarter component selection and closer relationships with their machine builders. Ideally, options have been pre- sented that allow for tackling equipment sanitation in a new light. And most importantly, food manufacturers can see how paradigm-shifting component technologies can help ensure their place in the market for years to come via greater profitability.
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