Increased output and reduced costs

Published:  07 May, 2014

Tribology expert Klüber Lubrication was approached by a globally active soft drink producer who wanted to increase machine reliability and the improvement of lubrication management practices in order to maximise output in one of its plants.

One of the plant's seven bottling lines was chosen for the improvement project. Analysis was undertaken and this developed a comprehensive lubrication plan. Following implementation mechanical breakdown was reduced, while output increased significantly.

The plant operates on a three-shift system, 24 hours a day. Theoretical filler speed of the bottling line is 24,000 bottles per hour. Prior to consulting Klüber Lubrication, utilisation was 55%: 1760 cases were bottled per hour, equalling 42,240 cases a day. Klüber Lubrication went ahead with its proven KlüberEfficiencySupport package. Within nine months, production loss due to machine downtime was reduced from 7.4 % to 2.5 %, resulting in a substantial increase of production output: throughput increased to 72 %, equalling 2304 cases per hour, or 55,296 cases a day - an increase by roughly 13,000 cases or 32% a day.

The approach of KlüberEfficiencySupport includes the lubrication of all equipment throughout the entire bottling line. Klüber Lubrication proceeded in several steps. Based on a pre-audit, the objectives to be achieved within a time frame of 12 months were fixed. The exact requirements of all persons involved in the lubrication process were precisely defined for the first time. In addition, intensive training sessions on lubrication matters took place. All this resulted in increased lubricant awareness and increased beverage safety.

A comprehensive lubrication plan and a food-grade lubrication regime for all lubrication points was implemented. Oil analyses were conducted as part of preventative maintenance programme. In addition, storage conditions for the lubricants were improved.

Klüber Lubrication says this case illustrates the significant influence lubrication has on the efficiency of machinery. Typical operating cost reductions for a food manufacturing plant can be more than £100,000 per annum. Implementation time for an advanced lubrication programme is approximately six months, with payback in nine to twelve months. For many food processors it is very worthwhile to analyse and adapt lubrication management practices to reduce costs and increase productivity.

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