Bottling Line Improvements Save Big Money
A food and beverage company working with the BSC Industries Worcester team had bottle line issues that were costing them big:
- A bottle separator jamming and stopping the entire line anywhere from 5-60 minutes every day
- Downtime costs of $50K per hour
- Repairs from the separator OEM at an annual cost of $150-200K
A solution was provided to the customer from BSC Industries and vendor partner, SMC that would not only greatly reduce the breakdowns, but also decrease the amount of time needed to get back up and running after a break down.
The first part of the solution involved improving the existing air cylinders on the line causing the stoppages. After testing the existing air cylinders, SMC determined there was a lot of dust and dirt in the cylinders. This could be eliminated by adding a scraper to the part. Wear-stripping from Slideways was also added to improve the flow. By adding connectors, the existing lines could still be used, but color-coded lines were added, indicating which lines were in and which were out.
The second part of the solution involved better placement for the cylinders. In their original placement, the cylinders were accessed by removing a plate from the bottom of the bottling machine, and crawling into the machine to remove the problem cylinder. If one pocket of the line was experiencing problems (i.e. missing bottles), it was often left until there were several more pockets that needed attention. Then, during a weekend shift, all cylinders were replaced, usually taking four to five hours.
Collaborating with the facility employees, several configurations were tested to determine the best placement for the cylinders and a custom bracket was machined to create a better fit for the cylinders. Should a breakdown occur, the new placement meant a cylinder could be changed in 15 minutes – the same day it went down. A six-month test on one pocket had no breakdowns. The remaining 63 pockets were updated with the same enhancements. In two years, the line is still operational, with no breakdowns reported.
This problem was at the top of the list for our customer’s facility and now the solution is being implemented in other facilities around the country. What’s on top of your list? If you want help crossing it off, contact the BSC Industries’ team.
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