4 Common Sources of Unplanned Packaging Line Stoppages

4 Common Sources of Unplanned Packaging Line Stoppages

In a packaging and distribution facility, every moment of unplanned machinery downtime equals cash flying out the door. An unexpected packaging line stoppage causes productivity to grind to a halt, and these stoppages can last for a painfully long time while needed adjustments are made to bring everything back online.

At Raab, one of our primary jobs as equipment distributors and service contract providers is to ensure that our clients’ machines stay on as long as possible. We help reduce unplanned downtimes by advising clients on the four most common reasons for industrial packaging machinery shutdowns below.

Anyone looking to improve their uptime – and their throughput – can use these four main sources of packaging line stoppages to anticipate and hopefully prevent unscheduled downtime.

Operator Error

Without a doubt, operator error is the most common culprit behind any unexpected factory machinery shutdown. Triggering safety features, for instance, can set off a chain reaction where product in-transit must be adjusted and multiple processing stations reset before the line can resume at its normal speed.

Operators may also make mistakes in programming machine instructions, leading to a situation where production results do not match the proof example and rework must be performed.

Adequate packaging machinery training can reduce a large deal of operator error instances, but not all of them. The rest may be attributable to machinery that is difficult to use because of excess complexity or a lack of user-friendly features.

In response to these concerns, many packaging, printing, and coding equipment manufacturers have begun to modernize their machinery with user-friendly features. Such features include What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) print job selectors, instant job previews, and user error fail-safes that confirm whether a requested action was the result of a common error or a deliberate operator choice.

The FoxJet Marksman Matrix series, for example, employs a color touch screen, 3D job previewing, and a familiar window-based interface to reduce instances of operator frustration or error.

Equipment Breakdowns

Things break. It’s a fact of any business. But many of these breakdowns can be prevented through a combination of scheduled maintenance and diagnostic readouts that alert users to impending machinery issues before they knock anything out of commission.

Some machinery even alerts you to approaching service intervals, such as the Linx 5900 CIJ, so that you can adjust your scheduling to match the needs of your unique machinery environment.

Quality Issues

Product manufacturers and packagers hope they can catch quality issues before they go out the door. Even then, the line must be shut down to discover the source of error, correct it, and re-introduce product so that it can be reworked for an acceptable result.

Quality issues can be prevented through a number of factors. Equipment integration, which ensures all aspects of your packaging line work together as intended, can reduce the risks of machinery working at odds with one another to create ugly packaging mishaps. User-friendly interfaces, as mentioned above, can also prevent operator mistakes that create quality issues, like selecting the wrong print job for the given product.

On top of these measures, proactive equipment testing and maintenance can keep machinery functioning as intended, reducing the risks that packaging flaws could be introduced into your line by mistake.

Running out of Ink and Industrial Packaging Machinery Consumables

Perhaps the most embarrassing and avoidable cause of unplanned shutdowns, running out of needed items can lead to an epidemic of “palm-to-face syndrome.”

Estimating the needed inventory volume can be as much of an art as it is a science. Some facilities can benefit from an inventory management service to use equipment knowledge along with field-based data to anticipate needs and accurately plan ahead for the proper inventory level.

Unfortunately, many managing personnel can put off placing a needed order because of cumbersome ordering requirements. Mandating something like a full truckload order or the use of an arcane ordering procedure can understandably lead to someone procrastinating on ordering – or not realizing that they need to order now, not during the scheduled order date.

Fortunately, online platforms have been able to revolutionize the process of ordering ink, parts, or consumables to make it as easy as buying off any other e-tailer.

Simply visit the Raab QuickShop to instantly price the consumables you need, add everything you want to your online cart, and pay for your order conveniently with your preferred credit card so that your items can arrive well before you run out.

Modern conveniences, thereby, don’t just make life easier for your packaging facility – it makes it more efficient!

We hope that being aware of these four common sources of unplanned packaging line downtime can help you improve efficiency and productivity on your own line while taking a bit of stress out of your life. 



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