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.

 

 

OBM

 

 

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

 

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