Steady Whine of the Corrugator

February 8, 2012

Was supplemented by the rhythmic ‘chachung’


of the knife. It had been so for


the first hours of the first shift. The run


speed was good and luckily so, since


there was a rush of urgent sheet orders added to


the regular plant mix.


Without warning the whine ground to a halt.


The bridge filled with curls of single-face and


the chop knife stopped. In less than a minute


a pager’s scratchy sounds alerted maintenance.


That was the start of the repair. That was the


beginning of an extended downtime.


Throughout hundreds of corrugator plants this careening


from being “in control” to being “out of control” is a daily


worry. And, rather than playing a “blame game,” keep in mind


Dr. Deming’s assertion that “94 percent of failures are due to


the system, 6 percent are due to the worker.”




The Tortoise Challenge


The reality is that for many plants their maintenance program


is a bit of a “Zeno’s paradox” operation. Zeno’s problem had a


tortoise challenge Achilles to a race with agreement that the tortoise


would get a small head start. The paradox has Achilles never


catching the tortoise since by the time Achilles reaches the tortoise’s


starting point it will be at a point further and Achilles would


have had to catch up to the new distance, and so on; Achilles was


never able to catch the tortoise. For many plants their maintenance


program is a bit like Achilles catching the tortoise – always


just a bit out of reach. For many, a valid preventive maintenance


(PM) is at best a misnomer and at worst an item on a wish list.


With too many North American companies there is a line


of thinking that argues PM programs are more expensive than


programs that only repair broken equipment. A major flaw


with this mentaility is the inability to predict when or where a


breakdown will occur. The result is an “adjust and tinker” quick


repair scheme that adds to waste and product quality failings.


A solid and ongoing integrated PM program must be part


of your lean strategy. If not, you’ll


only be fighting fires. The current


demands on business are


immense and vastly different


from just five years ago. If


you cannot or will not


participate in this


change you will fall


back. Fall behind


and the competition


will speed by you.


In other parts of the


world there is a whole different mindset, based on


the philosophy that a new piece of manufacturing


equipment can be made better only after installation.


We see this line of thinking as a must in the


Concours d’Elegance show car aficionado community,


where a displayed vehicle will have a better fit


and finish than when it first left the factory.


No Breakdowns Occur


Here is an insight into a Japanese sheet feeder


that runs a variation of the 8-4-8-4 production


scheme – two shifts per day after which maintenance


will spend nearly a full shift centerlining the corrugator.


For two shifts the machine is run continuously at the top end


of the manufacturer’s suggested run speed. Minimal to none


run speed variation takes place and no breakdowns occur,


resulting in maximum throughput and top tier quality board.


Over the past half-century most of us have become familiar


with the initials TPM - Total Productive Maintenance. However,


that concept has moved far beyond and into a whole new arena,


from reactive to preventive, and now predictive maintenance.


Electrical Consulting Services details an American Society of Mechanical


Engineers motor testing study. When service is performed


as required, based on trending and only when required, the savings


gathered is 50 percent from reactive to preventive and climbing “to


more than 100 percent when comparing predictive vs. reactive.”


As an initial small step towards improvement in your maintenance


program, possibly consider the efforts implemented by


the Temple-Inland Shakopee, Minn., box plant a number of


years ago. Here the morning production meeting, a timed event,


revolved around the display of their current, live, plant schedule.


Included in this meeting were senior management from production,


customer service, sales, shipping, and maintenance.


If maintenance required a downtime two or three days out,


scheduling would perform an instant “what if” scenario and the


impact would become evident immediately. This ensures timely


upkeep with little or no production interruptions—all impacted


orders were pulled correctly to accommodate the event.


High quality, plant flexibility, short runs, minimal to no


inventory, and on-time production are the current mandate.


To do this, achieving a zero unplanned equipment downtime


is a must. Quoting Nike – Just Do It.






Editor’s note: Share your thoughts with Pastoor at dirk@



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