1. Pull more out of your grinder
Ask your grinder experts about an upgrade kit to address a different plate configuration to increase throughput.
If you do not have a level sensor, contact your controls partner to add controls to turn off the grinder before it runs dry. A continuous flow of meat product will keep the plates and blades lubricated - required for best performance.
Keep the pins, bushings, heads, and knives in well maintained condition.
2. Tune your system
Schedule an audit to tighten up your process. Look to remove 15 - 20 seconds from all inefficient processes.
Consider VFD motors at different speeds to improve production flow.
3. Address small issues before they become a big downtime issue
With production at or near max or a lack of production staff, preventative maintenance may not be consistent. Operators need to allow time to address small maintenance issues. Rushing to close a safety grate that slams on the equipment causing welds to break, or not reporting wear of critical parts can lead to significant downtime.
If there is a repair needed on a piece of equipment, the best advice to ramp-up production is to have long-lead item parts on hand. Agitators that are custom fabricated can take up to eight weeks for delivery. Cylinders, motors, gearmotors and gearboxes are all long-lead items that can take up to 2 - 5 weeks for delivery.
Call Mepaco Parts and Field Services if you need support with these upgrades at 920-356-7334.
For graduates near and far, we express accolades for this achievement, especially in these uncertain times! Highschool, technical college and college graduates have done an incredible job navigating through all these challenges.
We share this video about what we do here at Apache and we look forward to meeting new graduates in the community or even working at our company one day.
Good luck and congratulations to all 2020 graduates!
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Our service techs, engineers and application experts have pinpointed five most-often congested production areas and processes observed in food manufacturing plants:
1. Underperforming grinders
Grinders underperform due to dull plates and knives and other worn parts. Adjustment of the HP/RPM/Pitch can be made to increase capacity. If not properly maintained, the pin and bushing will wear on the head of the grinder and over time, will become a throughput issue.
The root cause of dull plates and blades is often because the grinder is running dry. The grinder must always be lubricated with meat product: If the operator looks away for only a few seconds, the blades and plates will be ruined. Some processors use level sensors that shut-off the grinder before it runs dry and is automatically controlled to turn on when the product is running.
Over-blending product is a waste of production time and efficiencies. Sometimes the blender is overfilled to increase production. The consequences are extended load/discharge and blend cycle times. A slight increase in the batch size leads to losses in the overall production rate with a sacrifice in quality and accuracy.
While the equipment may be the wrong style for the application, a different agitator may produce a quick, effective blend. It may also be a process issue where the recipes and timing require tuning to control the blender more efficiently.
3. Manual unloading
When the blender or mixer needs to be manually unloaded, several minutes of production are lost. The equipment must be shut off, the operator must manually remove product around the doors, then close the doors before taking the tote by fork truck to the dumper.
Screw conveyors, metering screws or pump feeders may be able to be planned into the system to automate the process, even as a retrofit, if the floor layout allows.
4. Overtaxed mixers
Mixers are the workhorse of the grind/blend line. It is vital to keep them feeding downstream operations. Automation of the unloading operations through metering screw conveyors and pump feeders can help to keep the mixer running continuously.
Another issue is the horsepower specifications. If CO2 is used in the process, it causes the product to harden and it can tax the agitator and motor and may even cause damage to the mixer if not specified correctly for the application.
5. Ineffective loaders
Some processors struggle with effective loading using off-the-rack equipment. Screw conveyor systems can be designed for the application to provide the best flighting and spacing with tighter tolerance for positive conveyance and the fastest feeding possible. Self-clean-out solutions can further increase loading performance.
If you have any questions or have an application to discuss to remove your production bottlenecks, call Mepaco at 920-356-9900 and we will put you in touch with a specialist.