Any manufacturer’s worst nightmare is an inefficient production line that results in product loses, jams, tampered or faulty units, costing the company valuable production time and significant financial resources.
Mass flow accumulation systems are undoubtedly at the centre of the packaging process, where the product moves on the line through the various stages of filling, sealing, sterilisation, and labeling before it goes to market.
The past decade had seen vast improvements in the implementation of accumulation systems throughout the country, partly due to revolutionary technologies and their beneficial application. It is something Benjamin Cockram, MD Plastic and Chemical Trading, has been at the forefront of for years.
Case Study: Nestle Harrismith
Years ago, Plastic and Chemical Trading made contact with the engineers at Nestle who experienced problems with line efficiency at their baby foods manufacturing plant in Harrismith.
“It was clear that it was not just about the plant. There was a global concern about inefficiencies on the production lines. Demand for infant baby formula had grown dramatically in South Africa, and current lines could not keep up at the level they had been operating,” explains Benjamin.
With Nestle, the line was running at only 20 to 30% efficiency at most, whereas the desired target was more than 70%. It was necessary to consider a solution that would alleviate blockages, and eliminate micro stops along the line flow. At the time, Plastic and Chemical Trading chose to implement the innovative Hartness Dynac mass flow accumulation system.
Says Benjamin: “We identified two key areas that affected the client’s production line efficiency, based on their setup. What we looked at was the placement of the Dynac equipment downstream of the vacuuming and the closing system, and upstream of the labeler.”
At the Harrismith plant, all baby formula tin cans went into a vacuum unit which sterilised the cans after filling through a start-stop process. After sealing, the cans were transported to the labeler, a machine not equipped to properly handle a start-stop process.
As Benjamin explains, a labeling machine needs to have a constant flow or product going through it. The tension on the labels has to be constant. With a start-stop line, the likelihood of having the line jammed and losing labels increases, which in turn creates another undesired stop point in the process.
“The difference with the Dynac,” Benjamin adds, “is that the client gets to separate the infeed and outfeed procedures, and the machine absorbs the difference. You could finally have a situation when the outfeed conveyor feeds the labeler smoothly, and the infeed absorbs the starts and the stops.”
The company supplied the manufacturing plant with a compact Dynac 6400 unit, comprising of thirty-five metres of linear accumulation in a floor space of just under six square metres. Fortunately, the ordering process was quick, and the unit was installed within four months. The process may take anything from four to six months.
At the same time, the client was building another production line, and had brought specialists from Holland familiar with baby nutrition production lines worldwide. Plastic and Chemical Trading had the opportunity to introduce the Dynac concept to these specialists, and Nestle had purchased four additional units totalling 135 metres of linear accumulation.
“The new line was completely designed around the Dynac capabilities. Therefore it became a truly Dynac centric line with massive advantages.”
“Due to the complexity of the machines, the client could fill the Dynac with cans and use the cans stored in the Dynac to commission the downstream machine. Before the entire line was installed, the client could already commission different sections of the line, which gave them a huge advantage in the market.”
Results were dramatic. On the old line, the client went from 35% up to 70% line efficiency, and on the new Dynac centric line the company achieved its targets of 80% to 90%.
Aside from the primary goal of product line efficiency, the advantages were the ease of commissioning, the simplicity in the line control, and the ease of machine maintenance.
Read more about the Dynac system’s benefits for accumulation lines and Benjamin’s industry viewpoint here.
Thanks to our partner Hartness, Plastic and Chemical Trading offers specialised solutions tailor-made for the packaging industry, including mass accumulation and line efficiency solutions.
DYNAC is a simple, intelligent solution that provides pressureless product conveyance, accumulation and buffering, as well as line balancing benefits for your packaging operation — all in one space-saving configuration.