QUICCA utilization example Vol.4
To the management and executives of food factories,
How about increasing productivity by reducing temporary line stops?
If no measures are taken against temporary line stops
Let us consider temporary line stops. Generally, a temporary line stop is a phenomenon in which production equipment or a production line temporarily stops or idles. When a packaging material is changed or the settings of a device are changed for the purpose of replacing a product produced in a production line, the production line is temporarily stopped. However, you can predict when the change will be required. On the other hand, let us consider a temporary line stop that occurs accidentally in a production line. Even if the downtime is short, frequent occurrence of temporary line stops must be identified and measures against them must be considered. Not taking any measures against such stops could lead to significant problems such as the collection of all products or serious equipment problems. Accordingly, visualizing a temporary line stop that cannot easily be quantitatively understood allows measures to more effectively be considered.
Conditions under which a temporary line stop occurs
Let us view examples of temporary line stops that are actually occurring at production sites.
① When meat fiber or fatty meat grease is caught in a forming machine for hamburger patties, meatballs, etc., the forming machine often cannot adjust the weight of the ground meat. In this case, you need to turn off the machine to adjust the weight. Depending on the situation, up to two temporary line stops occur in half a day.
② In the process for producing sliced ham, a change (increase) in the raw material temperature (product temperature) causes slice thickness to vary. When raw material which has just been defrosted is sliced, the slice thickness is even because the raw material is relatively hard. However, the raw material becomes soft as time goes by, which increases or decreases slice thickness. In this case, you need to turn off the slicing machine and adjust the position of the slicing blade.
③ In the process for packaging frozen food, the food slips on the conveyor belt during conveyance. Therefore, the worker needs to manually bring the food into line to feed it into the packaging machine. If the food is not properly lined up, it is caught in the sealed part of the package (i.e. biting). In this case, the production line is temporarily stopped. Because it is difficult to grasp when the tendency for biting will occur, this phenomenon is overlooked in many cases.
An experienced on-site worker restores the packaging machine from a temporary line stop. However, in most cases, the details of temporary line stops are not recorded. (Details include when and where a temporary line stop occurred and how long it lasted.) It is likely that on-site workers are too busy to record temporary line stops. You may adopt a method, such as the creation of a Pareto chart showing the cause-specific number and percentage of temporary line stops, in order to identify important control items. However, if the record is ambiguous, the dependability of the analysis will decrease.
Pareto chart (example)
Grasping temporary line stops in real time
For production line managers to consider measures for reducing temporary line stops, begin by automatically "visualizing" the occurrence status of temporary line stops. The use of QUICCA, a total quality management/control system, allows such visualization.
Use of QUICCA’s production progress monitor allows you to grasp the occurrence of a temporary line stop and production delay in real time while you are in the office. You can then immediately give the necessary instructions to the production line workers. You do not have to constantly monitor the screen. If you use QUICCA’s alarm function, an alarm or flicker of the tower light will alert you of a production line stop.
If you use QUICCA’s production progress monitor, a daily report (production status) containing a graph and a chart will let you know changes in production achievement and the status of temporary line stops each day, which helps you to identify clues for productivity improvement. Furthermore, in the weekly report mode, you can grasp changes in the operating rate during the week. In the monthly report mode, a graph and a chart will let you know the product-specific yield rate per month. These reports clarify weaknesses that require intensive measures.
We have so far described how to quantitatively "visualize" temporary line stops. Possible typical solutions are as follows:
- Provide thorough education on how to deal with temporary line stops to reduce time wasted.
- Consider improving and updating equipment.
- Review raw materials and production methods.
When you take any of these measures, you need to share information with on-site workers and management. Unless you present data that quantitatively and visually shows occurrence frequency and location, basic measures for temporary line stops may be postponed. We propose that you should remove the cause of a problem before that problem becomes more serious. To do so, please utilize QUICCA effectively.
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