A new generation
Pepsi bottling plant installs new automated system for team success
By Jay David
When Pepsi Bottling Ventures (PBV) in Nampa, Idaho, wanted to improve changeover performance, they knew one strategy was to identify constraints and bottlenecks. One way to do this was to establishing better decision-making for cross-functional teams. Other key strategies were to eliminate guesswork and assumptions with consistent and reliable data and to understand payback metrics and use this data to justify future projects requiring capital investment.
They needed a full-blown system of data collection and analysis capabilities, easy-to-understand HMI visualization, and efficient programming. When they installed a new system meeting all these qualifications, the result was reports and trending capabilities that enabled cross-functional teams to review performance data in consistent, reliable, and easily shared formats.
PBV manufactures and distributes more than 100 different flavors and brands. The company has become the third largest manufacturer and distributor of Pepsi-Cola products in North America, operating 27 bottling and distribution facilities in six states.
In Idaho, PBV runs a manufacturing and sales distribution plant in Nampa as well as three other distribution centers throughout the state. And even as a new member of the PBV family, joining in early 2009, this division has contributed to the company’s operations with remarkable results.
The Nampa facility was built in 2005. Equipment included a combination of new and legacy machinery. Blending these assets proved possible, but issues of waste and downtime were apparent.
Downtime tracking a must
One of the main challenges was integrating new and legacy equipment. Downtime data was recorded manually, and this tracking system did not include recently installed equipment. A lean headcount meant engineers’ time was at a premium.
A home-grown data-collection system in place for the legacy assets did not take full advantage of the capabilities of the new equipment. Operators tracked downtime and recorded it manually during their shifts. Relying on these clipboard notes sometimes led to inconsistent decision-making and an inability to track trends accurately over time.
But PBV did not accept this situation for long; they knew a better answer was out there. Their vision included a performance management and downtime tracking system to connect equipment and help quantify return on investment (ROI) and justify future plant upgrades. After installing their system of choice in September 2008, they commissioned and validated it one month later.
Smooth filler-line switch
With such a wide variety of products, making smooth switches from formulations is central to the plant’s productivity. Before the software installation, engineers estimated changeovers took 60 minutes. With the new system in place, the data showed actual time to switch between flavors averaged 90 minutes.
Realizing this degree of downtime was putting a damper on profitability, PBV used the software to identify the chief constraints and their root causes. Armed with this data, they determined the most critical bottleneck was in the filler process. Correcting this issue improved changeovers by up to 45 minutes and resulted in additional savings in raw materials and packaging. Efficiency on the filler line increased by 10%.
Clear communications with HMI
The new system’s historian provides reports and trending tools to help cross-functional teams analyze plant operation consistently. Maintenance, operations, and engineering staff members can depend on accurate, reliable data, which takes guesswork and assumptions out of the process.
PBV personnel share an overall view of operations with the HMI software. A graphical visualization of the plant makes operational tasks intuitive and facilitates clear communications. It also makes the system easy for new operators to learn.
Like most manufacturing businesses, PBV maintains a lean headcount. So the software’s object-based programming enables fewer engineers to do more work, speeding the development process and making it as efficient as possible. When the plant adds a new asset or line, the system can easily and quickly replicate existing processes thanks to the software’s standardization.
Understanding ROI is important for PBV on a day-to-day basis, but it is even more valuable when it comes to planning for investments to ensure the operation’s continued success. Especially now, capital expenditures undergo close scrutiny, and those expenditures financial experts cannot justify for true ROI are in danger. After seeing improvements in the filler-line performance, PBV used the software data to conduct an ROI analysis:
PBV ROI analysis
* Includes additional savings in raw materials and packaging resulting from more efficient changeovers.
Other results included the ability to identify cause of downtime in the changeover process, which led to 50% reduction in changeover time and additional savings in raw materials and packaging. The plant achieved an overall 10% increase in line efficiency. Total payback for investment took less than one year; annualized savings calculated at over $78,500.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jay David is a product marketing specialist for Invensys Operations Management. His e-mail is email@example.com.
Packaging study leaves mark
In a 2007 study from telephone interviews, the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) reached out to 71 purchasing authorities at pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, and OEM companies to assess the current state of packaging machinery in the industry.
Marking equipment was one of the top priorities of equipment in use at these plants. Labeling equipment, case packing and sealing, and conveying and feeding machines followed in importance.
Most pharmaceutical companies said they preferred working directly with an OEM over a systems integrator. In fact, 60% of equipment is purchased directly from an OEM. Prices, aftermarket support, and technical expertise are among the reasons for going with an OEM. However, survey respondents said they were more likely to seek services from a systems integrator when installing a full line, as opposed to single pieces of machinery. They can also employ an integrator to achieve validation on the line. And if they need specialty control systems, they will more likely call a systems integrator.
Counterfeit medications are more than just a drain on corporate profits; they pose a serious, even deadly, threat to the American population. Because of U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) validation requirements, compliance regulations and the ongoing fear of counterfeiting, most pharmaceutical companies will keep the lion’s share of drug production on U.S. soil. Half of the survey respondents said the U.S. will remain the dominant country of origin for FDA-approved production facilities.
However, one-third of respondents said they would continue to move at least some production offshore because of cheaper labor and operating costs, tax incentives, and fewer emission regulations. Production of generic drugs, which are no longer patented, is more likely to move offshore respondents said. The FDA will continue to inspect any drugs imported into the U.S. In the long run, it seems by maintaining operating facilities in more than one country, pharmaceutical companies encounter additional hurdles, such as complying with the regulations of each country. Several participants speculate the U.S. may soon impose a user fee for inspecting imports, similar to the inspection fees in Europe, set on a per-diem basis.
A couple of interviewees said radio frequency identification (RFID) would be a future method of improving patient compliance. Yet a more promising application of RFID could be as a deterrent to counterfeiting. RFID is already seeing use by large pharmaceutical companies for logistics, product identification, and date coding, so it seems logical RFID would be the technology of choice for fighting the war on counterfeit drugs, respondents said.
While RFID is important, it is not the only practice in use to protect products today. Bar coding is more prevalent, and holograms, color-shift inks, covert markings, and non-contact inspection methods, such as x-ray and weight-checking, are also seeing use in the industry.
As seen on the chart, many companies already have anti-counterfeiting practices in place—trending toward RFID and a slight increase in the use of holograms, color shifting, and covert marking.
SOURCE: Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) Packaging Intelligence Brief, “Pharmaceuticals & Nutraceuticals: Making Packaging Meet the Challenges,” May 21, 2008. (www.pmmi.org)