News | January 7, 2015

Improving Overall Equipment Effectiveness

Source: PMMI

For advanced efficiencies in machine operation and data reporting, PACK EXPO East exhibitors support OEE initiatives with innovation

Many companies have embraced overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) as a best practice for evaluating line performance and identifying areas for improvement. Using OEE performance metrics, manufacturers can identify opportunities to enhance efficiency throughout the production supply chain, often reducing costs and advancing sustainability goals in the process.

In improving OEE scores, manufacturers may identify opportunities to upgrade machine functions, optimize material flow on a line, fine tune production scheduling, improve operator training, upgrade materials, and redesign packaging, all in the name of increasing quality output.

OEE quantifies three areas in which productivity may be lost or gained. Along the way, manufacturing improvements implemented as a result of these OEE evaluations can translate to waste reduction and energy savings:

  • Availability — events such as equipment failures and product set up and changeovers that lead to downtime
  • Performance — short stops, material shortages, operator lapses, and the factors that inhibit production speed.
  • Quality — produced pieces falling short of quality standards.

Exhibitors at the premiere edition of PACK EXPO East (Feb. 16–18, 2015;Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia) will display machines with advanced efficiency, data collection and line integration and control capabilities, automated productivity monitoring systems, and services for assisting customers with OEE projects.

Automating with OEE Software
Ossid (Booth #601), a Pro Mach company, will showcase its new OEE software tool for Ossid Windows-based weigh-price labelers and in-motion case-weight scales at PACK EXPO East. The software automatically generates and displays data on OEE availability, performance and quality parameters. It also produces graphics and visual aids for live and historical data analyses for reporting to plant and corporate-level management.

“Demand for this tool has been especially high among manufacturers that package poultry and protein products, as these companies often produce to order, planning resources and production on-the fly. These industries also rely heavily on manual labor that typically makes production numbers vary by line and shift,” says Mike Alyounes, product manager, Ossid.

“One of our largest weigh-price labeler customers is running this tool in multiple sites where the data reported gives a better understanding of line deficiencies. They identified common causes of inefficiencies mainly in constant raw material supply and quality check procedures during product changeovers. Revised procedures and process debugging were quick remedies that reflected higher production numbers instantly,” says Alyounes.

Flexible Machines For Uptime
In addition to fast data analysis and communication, machinery that offers flexibility represents another critical component of advancing OEE. New England Machinery, Inc. (Booth #925), designs packaging systems for easy adaptation in handling different product sizes and shapes, reducing changeover time, and reducing downtime. Machines feature color-coded, “poka yoke” change parts, tool-less changeover, automatic purge mode, and an optional human-machine interface (HMI) for loading changeover parameters in recipe format. NEM offers Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) packages for tracking product, batch and parts-per-minute counts, as well as other line performance data.

NERCCE-6 Rotary Chuck Capper and NEHCPCL-36 Compact Unscrambler units featured at PACK EXPO East are designed for nearly 100 percent efficiency when running for optimal output. Featuring available challenge and calibration modes to ensure production meets specification from the start, the machines boast low on-going maintenance costs and low energy usage, says John Hansmann, engineering manager.

“Many of our customers are now looking at OEE as a component of their purchase requirements. NEM machinery sensors and indicator lights alert personnel to upcoming shortages of incoming components, Our sensors and reject mechanisms are available to perform real time inspect/reject of incoming components. Prime and backlog sensors maintain line synchronization,” Hansmann says.

A manufacturer of U.S.-designed and-built machinery for filling cartridges, squeeze tubes, syringes, airless pumps, and rigid containers, ProSys Innovative Packaging Equipment (Booth #836) will feature the newly designed RT60 Combo Metal and Plastic Tube Filling and Sealing machine, with servo-driven metering, lift, and fill stations for vertical, bottom up filling of plastic and metal tubes. An Allen Bradley control platform supports data collection, alarm history, and production status, with options for connection to customers’ manufacturing software and data acquisition systems, says Donald Sonntag, ProSys division manager.

“The ProSys RT60 enables quick change overs between metal and plastic tube types, tube sizes, product changes, and tube materials. These standard features maximize machine up-time and directly impact and improve OEE,” Sonntag says.

Real Time Control
Speed, efficiency, changeover — the performance indicators used to calculate OEE point to the importance of time as a resource. The more time that adds up, the more labor, energy usage and costs accumulate, eating away at profit margins. Real-time controls enable operators and other decision makers to identify and resolve issues faster, reducing the opportunities for wasted time.

At PACK EXPO East, Delta Systems and Automation, Inc. (Booth #915) will exhibit primary packaging systems for horizontal wrapping of confectionary, snacks, and baked goods designed around the company’s Softflow automation control system. The PC-based, open architecture system features an integrated HMI touchscreen that controls all touchscreen, motion, and logic events. The screen emulates a PLC program interface affording performance and cost advantages compared with conventional PLC-based controls. Technicians punch up the soft PLC for real time access to ladder logic programs for diagnosing system performance and discovering program faults, says Liam Buckley, sales director, Delta Systems and Automation.

Softflow features an array of embedded tools such as for tracking field sensor input/output and servo motor positioning. Scan time for running through a program is up to 100 times faster than with a PLC so operators can more quickly see what the machine is doing and instantly diagnose failures that result in OEE loss, Buckley says.

“We believe the PC-based platform is the most cost-effective way to run integrated, high-speed, multi-axis, servo-driven machinery. Softflow runs the HMI, the logic and the motion, allowing customers to reduce hardware costs, avoid the expense of software licensing and integrating an HMI package, and achieve higher operating efficiency and lower maintenance costs,” Buckley says.

Robotics’ Edge
Increased automation is an increasingly popular solution for enhancing key performance indicators in OEE calculation, including speed and quality output. A provider of end-of-line packaging equipment and a Fanuc robot integrator, Schneider Packaging Equipment Co., Inc. (Booth #1233), custom develops solutions for optimal machine and line operations.

“If we are able to design a unique machine to fit a specific product requirement, it allows us the opportunity to make an overall better running machine. In collaborating with our partners, we can integrate as many time saving solutions to a machine as possible. OEE is a critical factor; greater efficiency means long-term time and money saving for the end user,” says Pete Squires, vice president, engineering.

With Schneider Packaging’s Pro-Adjust automatic adjustment system, stepper motors with absolute controllers enable consistently accurate and repeatable changeovers, eliminating human error mistakes in manual changeovers that lead to downtime and product waste.

“An added benefit of equipping a machine or line of machines with the Pro-Adjust system is that your staff only need to be familiar with one product that serves all the changeover needs on the floor. Pro-Adjust is designed with an intuitive HMI that makes training unique operators to run the changeover process unnecessary,” Squires says. “Robotics is going to play a huge role in improving OEE. They are applicable to a wide variety of configurations and keep long term cost-of-ownership down due to less moveable/wearable parts and pieces.”

OEE as Methodology
Providers and customers need to harmonize their definitions of terms, so they speak the same language when evaluating machinery capabilities and OEE opportunities, says Richard Bahr, president and CEO, MGS Machine (Booth #825), a manufacturer of cartoners and secondary packaging equipment.

“We are seeing references to OEE in more specifications in recent years and have evaluated OEE for some customers. MGS has standard data collection on function and error of its machines. However, data collection about machine runtime performance only gets you part of the way to a complete OEE calculation.

“In our observations, there are many issues other than the machine that are overlooked by some of the packaging companies. Materials and people must be considered. Quality and handling of materials, breaks by operators, operator training, and turnover are all considerations. There is no doubt OEMs must do their all to build quality, efficient machines, but we all must continue to consider that people still run packaging lines,” Bahr says.

The Right Tools
The Operational Reliability Solutions Group (ORSG), of PMMI’s Alliance for Innovation and Operational Excellence (AIOE) has developed standardized tools that enable packagers and OEMs to use the same definitions and methods when identifying OEE benefits and implementing OEE improvements. ORSG has set standard definitions on data collection, use and calculation, and launched the OEE Opportunity Calculator, used as a rudimentary first step to evaluate the potential for improved profits, says Mark Hanley, senior asset reliability manager, Land ’O Lakes, and ORSG chairman.

“We found that everybody has their own definitions for OEE data collection and calculation. One of the biggest challenges is putting a dollar value to OEE. Companies need to know the benefits they will get in making a change in packaging process or equipment. Using these standard “rules of the road” manufacturers can have a good solid understanding for line-to-line and company-to-company comparisons, and talk the same language with OEMS,” Hanley says.

On the Innovation Stage at PACK EXPO International 2014, the group presented the OEE Benefits Calculator used for an in-depth read on how operational changes will affect the bottom line.

“The Benefits Calculator is doing some pretty fantastic things and has been very successful in our pilots,” Hanley says.

The OEE Benefits Calculator will be made available for free download along with AIOE’s other spreadsheet tools online at

Innovation in the East
Food and beverage manufacturers continue to make strides in OEE, implementing processing and packaging technology to enhance efficiency throughout the production supply chain. Whether they’re using software, robotics or automation in the search for new efficiencies, manufacturers can find the technologies and insights they need at PACK EXPO East 2015 (Feb. 16–18; Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia). The show will be the East Coast’s leading resource for packaging and processing technologies this year.

Visit to register for the show today. Registration is $30 prior to January 21, 2015, and $60 thereafter.

About PMMI
PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, is a trade association representing over 650 packaging and processing supply chain companies that provide a full range of packaging and processing machinery, materials, components and containers. PMMI actively brings buyers and sellers together through programs and events such as The PACK EXPO family of trade shows,, PMT Magazine, PACK EXPO Show Daily, networking events and educational programs.

PMMI organizes the PACK EXPO trade shows: PACK EXPO International, Pharma EXPO, co-located with PACK EXPO International and presented jointly with the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE); PACK EXPO Las Vegas, PACK EXPO East, EXPO PACK México and EXPO PACK Guadalajara, connecting participants in the packaging and processing supply chain with their customers around the world. Coming Up: PACK EXPO East, debuting Feb. 16–18, 2015 (Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia); EXPO PACK Guadalajara 2015, March 10–12, 2015 (Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico); EXPO PACK México 2015, June 16–19 (Mexico City, Mexico), PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2015, Sept. 28-30, 2015 (Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada), and Pharma EXPO co-located with PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2015, Sept. 28-30 (Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada).

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Source: PMMI