Many manufacturers in 2021 saw increased demand, supply chain shortages, labor shortages, and let’s not forget the ever-present threat Coronavirus had on keeping your doors open. Whether you’ve jumped one or all of these hurdles, one thing is for sure… 2021 has left us all saying, ‘oh brother, what’s next!?’ 2022 as yet remains shrouded in mystery, so to quell your anticipatory anxiety, here are two DO’s and two DON’Ts that the experts at Best Packaging recommend to help you ‘baton the hatches’ to your end of line and prepare for whatever comes next.
Fall behind on Preventative Maintenance
When you’re constantly adapting to new circumstances, everyday maintenance tends to fall by the wayside. But that’s precisely when it is needed most! Failure to regularly clean, lube and exchange worn parts can escalate a minor breakdown to a total catastrophe. Consider boosting your PM plan with performance monitoring technology. By combining line counter data with hands-on technician experience, you’ll get the clearest insight to predict wear and tear issues.
Overspend on Disposables
Disposables like stretch film, tape, and corrugate are called such because they are intended to be used once and thrown away. When you spend more than you need on single-use materials, you are essentially just throwing your money away! This happens when case tapers require more than one pass, when stretch film is so thin that it requires additional wraps, or when your cases are thicker than necessary for your application. Getting the right thickness or tension is a delicate science best left to an expert. Find out where you could be saving money by having our team of production line designers (and an ASTM contributor!) audit your plant for inefficiencies.
Integration doesn’t JUST mean robots. Advancements in manufacturing technology have steadily been picking up steam over the past few years. The infrastructure is finally available to make Industry 4.0 technology not only feasible for the average manufacturer, but affordable too. Take a few baby steps into the vast realm of IIOT (Industrial Internet Of Things) by implementing sensor automation with PLC integration to your existing equipment.
Take Care of Your Team
At a time when labor is scarce and employee welfare is ever the subject of public scrutiny, consider what you could be doing to improve plant safety or reduce the strain on your machine operators and material handlers. For example, graduating to a semi-automatic packing system, like a Wexxar Bel 507 & 150 combo that features a tilted packing station for better ergonomics could increase your packages per minute and still keep your valued workforce comfortable while performing repetitive motions.
If you are interested in exploring any of the solutions we suggested above, we’d love to get in touch! Or, if you need something more specific, Best Packaging is happy to assess your current production line to create a more personalized recommendation for improvements to your system. Contact us for more info!
As an end of line service provider, we are constantly being called upon to assess, troubleshoot, and optimize complex packaging lines. You’d be surprised at how many plants we’ve walked in to that don’t enforce safety regulations. Here are four best practices to help improve warehouse safety
When a machine is down, hire an expert. Injuries are most common in plants that don’t keep up with maintenance on the equipment used to perform their jobs. If your automatic stretch wrapper isn’t working well, what originally began as an automated process is now a manual operation. All the bending, pulling, and twisting involved with manual wrapping could potentially expose these workers to injury. Having unknowledgeable workers troubleshoot a machine will only cause more harm than good. By hiring an experienced professional to do the repair, they’ll be able to offer valuable preventative maintenance advice that will help you avoid more problems in the future.
Take measures to isolate operating machinery with proper guarding. Most of our customers operate very complex manufacturing lines. Although these machines have some of the most advanced capabilities, they can be dangerous if the proper safety systems aren’t in place. While machines can’t prevent employee negligence, actions can be taken to restrict access to hazardous areas. Most stretch wrappers now come with a safety guard gate option. This feature is designed to keep employees safe by providing a physical barrier that can prevent an employee from entering into a danger zone during the operating cycle.
Include cross training for all warehouse employees. The majority of the workman’s compensation incidents occur when an employee moves from one department to another. During times when one area of the plant is slow, managers will usually re-position their workers to lend a hand to a busy area. When employees are transferred but not properly training they are put at a higher risk of injury.
Make certain the aisles are kept clean and clear. Free the area of objects or obstacles that might interfere with a forklift driver’s ability to have a clear path. Clean up any litter that might have been left behind on the warehouse floors. It’s also important to allow enough space for multiple forklifts to pass through the aisles. After all, the last thing you want is to encounter pallets collapsing because a forklift couldn’t maneuver through a crowded lane. Once you have arranged a wide-enough space, mark the floor with arrows that designate lanes specifically for trucks and employees to pass through.
Take the time to identify where an operation exposes an employee to injury, and take action to implement a safe work environment before it’s too late.To enroll in a preventative maintenance program, or if you suspect one of your machines is not operating properly, give us a call to schedule an inspection at (888) 930 BEST or click here.
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