Flexographic Label Printing
Long changeover and setup times between product runs were creating considerable downtime. Buying additional equipment was being considered to prepare for a forecasted increase in demand. Quality defects and raw material waste issues that were considered “inevitable in this business” were also of great concern.
Using S.M.E.D. (Single Minute Exchange of Die) methods, we reinvented the entire operation and created a procedure that minimized downtime. Setups and changeovers became well orchestrated events. Due to the nature of the equipment we also relied heavily on 5S and ergonomic tools to properly stage needed items and reduce risk of injury and operator fatigue. Quality defects were addressed by implementing a series of strategies for component maintenance and machine calibration. Raw material waste was also addressed through a “go, no go” procedure and a setup innovation.
Depending on the number of colors used on a job setups and or changeovers were consuming between 3 and 7 hours, (5 hours on average) of production downtime per machine. After implementing the new procedures all setups/changeoversdef.htm were completed in under 30 minutes regardless of complexity. This improvement negated any need to purchase equipment to meet forecasted demand. Third shift employees were brought to second shift and throughput increased. Approximately 25% less raw material waste became standard, and quality defects were greatly reduced. These improvements were applied to six similar machines throughout the plant. Each of the seven machines experienced an increase of + or – 5 hours per shift additional uptime. The company gained shop floor production time of about 5 hours per machine per shift (accounting for the elimination of third shift), resulting in an additional 70 hours of capacity per day with third shift available in the event sales created even greater demand. These improvements resulted in more than a $3 million dollar annual windfall without adding a single piece of capital equipment or additional employees.