Empowering your packaging line with real-time information
Line managers are often told to use real-time information to better manage their packaging lines, without being told what real-time information entails. At Videojet, we think of real-time information as a signal, such as a data point, that lets you see what is currently happening on the line. There are two kinds of real-time information:
Think of status signals as your packaging line’s “check engine” light. A status signal tells you that you need quick corrective action to fix your machines before your line has serious downtime.
Flow signals include real-time information such as speed, throughput, and reject rates. Flow signals allow you to predict what may occur by seeing what’s currently happening on your line.
How Line Managers Can Use Status and Flow Signals
When you see a change in your status signal, you need to give it immediate attention. This kind of real-time information makes it easy to find and respond to challenges to help avoid being hampered by hours of costly unplanned downtime.
Oftentimes, line managers struggle to determine whether a machine is broken or where the line is underperforming. By attaching sensors to their printer and utilizing data management solutions, line managers can determine the status of the line immediately to see where it is struggling.
With flow signals, line managers can reduce and help eliminate waste. Most packaging lines are behind schedule in which case flow signals let you see what areas are held up. Other times, lines can be running ahead of schedule which means there is overcompensation for something and it has altered the timing on your line.
Another way line managers can use flow signals is to address the problem of high reject rates. You’re balancing how fast your line is running with your reject rate, meaning that if you have to crank up the speed of the line to meet schedule—the reject rate might increase. Knowing your reject rate and throughput will help you create an efficient line, but without real-time information, you often won’t find out about changes to your reject rate until hours later.
Three Advantages of Real-Time Information
- Your line operators will be empowered to know when things are going well and when they aren’t.
- You’ll have information to let you know how well you’re doing and whether you need to work on scheduling changes upstream or downstream.
- You’ll have real-time, data-driven input for problem solving at the point of impact.