Equipment Optimization to Drive Profitability
1. Materials and information arriving at the equipment: Often ignored, this needs to be both accurate and timely; problems in either case will lead to lost production and reduced efficiency. To ensure maximum efficiency, significant time savings and a reduction in errors, jobs entered into a management information system (MIS), need to be passed, along with the prepress data, through to the press. Delivery and scheduling press materials is another area to optimize, so operators are not waiting or transporting materials when they should be carrying out the makeready.
In one facility, a reduction from 40 minutes to 10 minutes was achieved on a wide-format printer by primarily considering transportation issues.
2. Equipment set-up and makeready: This applies to all manufacturing processes including offset, digital, and flexographic printing, as well as postpress activities. First, you need to understand your starting point through benchmarking. Second, you need to determine how the process can improve. This analysis, along with your production schedule, helps to determine the level of importance for reducing set-up and makeready times. Moreover, improvements need to be understood within the context of the overall production facility and not the individual job.
For example: a 10 minute savings seem better than a 1 minute savings; however, when there are twenty set-ups a week in the first case and five hundred a week in the second, there is actually two-and-a-half times the weekly savings to be achieved in the second case.
This occurs equally throughout the whole optimization process — making it critical to understand the full lifecycle of the product.
3. Production efficiency and error reduction: When optimizing the production of a piece of equipment, Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) provides a valuable independent measure of how well the equipment performs over time and is a useful metric to gauge the impact of changes to workflow and production methods. OEE can be defined as: