Getting the Most out of Existing Assets
The application of the latest automation technology, automated shop floor data capture and planned maintenance procedures can contribute to greater efficiency and product quality. Another important consideration is whether the existing plant and equipment incorporates althe latest available mechanical, electricaand process-enhancing updates.
Equipment suppliers are always seeking to improve their products and the rapid advances in engineering today means that new solutions are constantly being applied to basic equipment. Much of the existing equipment currently in operation can be cost-effectively updated by retro-fitting new design components to increase efficiency and ease of operation. Baker Perkins can advise on this, arguably the first step in seeking productivity and product quality gains.
There are many examples which illustrate the opportunities available to increase the mechanical and process efficiency of installed equipment:
Improvements in bearing technology mean longer life and facilitate easier maintenance and inspection, particularly in high duty applications such as dough mixers. The cost is likely to be offset many times by the savings in maintenance and down-time.
Retro-fit packages also exist to expand the range of products capable of being produced on existing lines.
Some examples illustrate the opportunity:
- Addition of a pillow crimper and different dies to a snack extruder to extend the available product range.
- Upgrade/retro-fit extruder barreliners to the latest wear resistant material.
- Fit adjustable co-extrusion dies. The latest extruder die technology allows multiple streams of extrudate to be individually controlled, thus overcoming problems associated with balancing the process line.
- Extend the product range of cereaplants by the addition of coating and dusting systems.
- A new set of biscuit cutting, moulding and ink printing rolls provides an easy way of extending the range of products that can be made on a single line of plant. Your originaequipment supplier wilbe able to demonstrate the vast range of designs available.
- Biscuit ovens would benefit from upgrading from conventional burners to Flexiflame burners to improve the baking balance across the band and enhance product appearance.
- Fit a graphite station, and/or replace some cast iron skids or rollers with graphite skids, to ovens to reduce band wear problems, improve band tracking and reduce maintenance costs. (See Graphite and Banking Belts).
- Add/replace blowers and licking rolls on chocolate enrobers to improve chocolate coating efficiency.
- Fit interchangeable tanks to chocolate enrobers to improve down times during product changeovers.
- Fit the latest air-flow monitoring equipment to cooling tunnels to improve/maintain cooling efficiency.
- Retrofit humidity controls to baking ovens and cooling tunnels.
This list is by no means exhaustive. An expert inspection of an existing production unit will identify exactly where cost-effective product updating opportunities exist. Although it is suggested that most of these retro-fit packages can prove to be, effectively, self-financing, the total benefit can be diminished by a programme of updating which does not take into account exactly how the whole plant is being operated. It is important, therefore that each potential investment is reviewd fully with Baker Perkins